Tuesday, April 11, 2006

CBA's For Sale?

As the ongoing controversy over the substance of various CBAs continues with the dispute over the construction of the new Mets stadium Alair Townsend of Crain's New York Business weighs in this week with her opinion that the entire process needs to be reined in. Her take on the CBA revolution does mirror some of the comments we've made on the subject but Townsend goes further by labeling the use of CBAs as "zoning up for sale."

Townsend's observations are contained in the form of a memo to Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn. She chides the two lawmakers saying, "You have both chosen to sit back and watch the action unfold...This way the most serious opposition will have been bought off by the time projects come before you for approval."

Where we agree with the former deputy mayor is in her concern that there is no standardization or oversight in the process, especially when cash grants are being forwarded to certain groups. "Should there be any oversight to ensure that the processes for selecting who gets the housing, contracts and jobs are fair and not just sleazy patronage? You need to decide how far you're willing to let this go."

At the same time there are legitimate reasons for CBAs and the city has for too long ignored this rationale in the rush to do developers' bidding. Standards are, however, welcome.