Saturday, May 26, 2007

Revolving Door Underscored

In a previous post, when commenting on the Manhattan Institute's critique of ULURP, we pointed out that the environmental review process is a sham because the developer-driven consulting is never any real accurate portrayal of the potential impacts of any given project. Exacerbating the situation, is the fact that the review agencies, are loath to do any in-depth review of the consultants' work-not only because it's time-consuming, but also because "no one wants to go on record blowing the whistle..."

Why not? Well, as the MI report highlights, a major reason is that the permanent government is a major potential source of after-government employment. In one very real sense, everyone in the regulatory and oversight agencies are auditioning for that opportunity to make some serious money once they leave the public sector.

As if on cue, Crain's In$ider reports yesterday on this very phenomenon saying, "The New York real estate market is so hot that developers are hiring City Hall insiders at a furious pace. Developers need their guidance through government catacombs and are wiling to pay them higher salaries." And where are the insiders going? To Vronado, Related, Brookfield Properties and The Durst Organization, just to name a few.

Which brings us back to our original observation that no change in ULURP is more imperative than to remove the review process from the hands of tainted consultants hired by developers. If the mayor is really interested in sustainability and the environment, then this is one reform that must be included in the PlaNYC package.