Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Doing the Mayor's Bidding

The Bloomberg administration had a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Gateway Mall on the gravesite of the BTM. We have said all we're going to say on this debacle of a land use process, and for all those who believe that the AY process would be better if it went through ULURP all you need to do is examine the Gateway application to get sobered up real quick.

That being said there is one issue that still needs to be resolved, and the presence of Speaker Quinn at yesterday's ceremony only makes the situation more compelling. That issue is the City Council's acquiescence in the argument, ratified by the ludicrous Judge Cahn, that normal land use powers given to the Council by the City Charter don't apply to the public markets.

As we have argued before the administration's position, if allowed to stand unchallenged, would mean that the mayor would have unbridled power to change even the actual use of any of the remaining public markets (as has been done with the now defunct BTM). This is the old Vietnam analogy of destroying the village in order to save it.

It's an untenable legal position but an even shakier political one. We're going to bring the case to the Council with all of the impacted workers and businesses from the public markets. Hopefully, we'll get posthumous vindication of the BTM merchant's original position.