As we have been reporting the Mets have chosen to ignore the requests made by some members of the Queens Council delegation for a comprehensive CBA. As the NY Daily News tells its readers this morning the Mets have agreed to provide only $200,000 a year to fund Queens youth sports. This is a far cry from the request made by the delegation to the team in a meeting late Sunday night.
The reason for the lowballing, and the hearing going forward yesterday, was that Speaker Quinn had intervened and prevailed upon a majority of the delegation to let the hearing proceed. She also pledged to conduct negotiations with the Mets. It is, however, hard to see how much leverage she will have-assuming that she cares to negotiate the best deal possible-once the process moves forward and the approvals of the PILOTS are garnered.
All of this has got Councilmen Avella and Monseratte, the two lawmakers who represent all of the areas around the new stadium, extremely upset. As Monseratte says, "Shame on them if they think that's okay! Shame on them! Our kids are worth more..." The $200,000 pledge represents 43 cents a year for every kid in Queens.
As he has done since the rumblings began over the Mets stadium, Mayor Bloomberg once again blasted the attempt to "extort" money from the team. This, of course, is quite incongruous since the mayor has responded to criticisms of the other CBAs with the defense that they were "private deals" (see previous post). Which is both silly as well as incorrect.
The fact is the "Mets will save $50 million to $60 million on the stadium if the council supports the tax exempt bonds." If the team will save this much than the kids of Queens deserve to be treated better.