Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Yankee Stadium to be Voted on Tomorrow

According to Frank Lombardi of the Daily News, an approval for the proposed Yankee Stadium is likely at tomorrow’s subcommittee and committee votes. Though one the South Bronx’s councilwomen has publicly stated her opposition the rest of the Bronx Delegation seems to favoring approval. One unnamed source sums it up the best:

"It stinks," said a resigned Bronx insider familiar with the Council's eleventh-hour negotiations with the Yankees. "But who's going to block the Yankees?"
Like with the Bronx Terminal Market redevelopment, these last minute talks will probably result in a couple more dollars being thrown on the table though not the resolution of the major issues. This extra money will most likely be added to the community benefits agreement Lombardi mentions, a document that was negotiated between the Yankees and supportive elected officials.

As the Daily News’s Juan Gonzalez writes, adding insult to injury is the fact that local opponents of the stadium deal are being shut out of a local school where they planned to have a rally:

Three weeks ago, Chauncy Young, a member of the United Parents of Highbridge in the South Bronx, got permission from the principal of PS 218 Rafael Hernandez Dual Language Magnet School, a public school near Yankee Stadium, to use the school's auditorium for a big community meeting scheduled for tonight.


But about 2:30 p.m. on Friday, top officials at the Education Department suddenly declared the school off-limits and threw the community out on the street.

"It's a political event," Education Department spokesman Keith Kalb told me. "Chancellor [Joel] Klein's regulation No. D-130 bars political activity in schools."
Of course the Department’s justification is ludicrous. Continues Gonzalez:

The January 2004 regulation he cited, a copy of which I have carefully reviewed, specifically states that it "governs the use of school buildings by candidates, elected officials, and political organizations and the conduct of school employees ... with respect to political campaigns and elections."

It affects political candidates but says nothing about barring local parent and community groups from school buildings.

"We've used local schools often and never had any event canceled until this one," Young told me. "This says a lot about the stakes involved."
One can’t help feel sorry for the community that is not only losing its parks but also the chance to speak out against this action.