Thursday, November 01, 2007

Astringent Stringer

Demonstrating that there's nothing as as intemperate as a politician with a wounded ego, Manhattan BP Scott Stringer, exhibiting once again the lack of temperance and wisdom that would qualify him for higher office, turned thumbs down on the re-zoning plan put forward by West Harlem property owner Nick Sprayregen. As the Spectator reports this morning, Stringer not only said no to Sprayregen, but he did so with classless insults as well.

Stringer found fault with the re-zoning plan because, and you really have to read this to believe it, he claimed it was "illegal." Now this is the same official who swore that he'd lie down in front of the bus if Columbia was going to use eminent domain to remove property owners from the expansion zone-that is until he cut his own side deal, a deal that cut out the community. And, adding insult to injury, he's calling Sprayregen's proposal selfish and illegal!

The BP backlash is cited this morning in the Crain's Insider, and the newsletter notes the payback side of the decision: "Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer will announce today that he opposes Nick Sprayregen’s rezoning application in West Harlem. Sprayregen, who owns property where Columbia University wants to build, has proposed zoning his land for residential use and swapping parcels with the school. Stringer’s decision is not surprising. He green-lighted Columbia’s rezoning in September, and Sprayregen has been accusing him of going back on his word."

As one CB 9 board member said, acutely characterizing the Stringer ignominy: “If there’s anyone who should be calling anyone’s activity illegal it should be Mr. Sprayregen and his family,” CB9 member Vicky Gholson said. “They have been victimized.” A sentiment that is echoed by Board 9 chair, Jordi Reyes-Montblanc: "Reyes-Montblanc added that Stringer’s feelings about Sprayregen’s proposal “exquisitely expressed” his own views—but about Columbia’s expansion plan."

You know the more we think about it, the acumen exhibited by Stringer may in fact qualify him for a post in the Spitzer administration, where being in a hole always seems to necessitate further digging. What remains, however, is the observation that the office of BP in general (and particularly Stringer's performance in it) is much like a prehensile tale, a vestigial organ with no possibly good use