Monday, March 27, 2006

The Yanks Are Coming!

As we approach the City Council hearing on the proposed Yankee Stadium more and more people are weighing in on the less than transparent political process that seems to be characteristic of the Bronx. We are particularly amused by Andrew Wolfe's take on the Yankees and how it underscores the questionable nature of the entire process.

In Wolf'e view, the use of a community benefits agreement masks the extent to which a new Tammany-like "honest graft" is being created in the Bronx. Now Wolfe sees absolutely no merit in the desire of the community to preserve its parks ("environmentalists who view parkland as sacred in perpetuity..."). But he blanches at the shakedown of the Yankees.

As he points out, "To ensure the continued support of Bronx elected officials, a scheme has been concocted to have the Yankees set up a $28 million trust fund to be run by 'an individual of prominence' selected by a group appointed by Bronx political leaders." Wolfe rightly sees this for what it is-public policy for sale.

He also sites the support that Maria Baez gave to the BJ's project in the BTM development, a project that Wolfe approves, as the same kind of "honest graft." The entire CBA charade needs to be redesigned so that the use of this vehicle doesn't get transformed into its opposite: a boondoggle that benefits the political machine much more than any putative community interest.