Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pointing Over and Out

As Liz reported yesterday, and the NY Daily News reports this morning, it doesn't look good for the Bloomberg Nine in the Willets Point fray-and at the end of the ULURP process it appears to us that Mighty Michael will have (once again) struck out: "Twenty-nine Council members signed a letter sent today to Deputy Mayor Lieber and pledged to kill the Willets Point redevelopment plan unless it undergoes significant changes."

Here's the money quote from the Council letter: "Your decision to push the project forward into ULURP without public discussion indicates to us that you are not serious about ensuring that the project meets the basic standards of public benefit and fairness required for a redevelopment of this magnitude and this level of public investment."

And there's more on this development from the Observer's Eliot Brown, who first broke the ULURP certification story last week: "The letter seems to spell trouble for the Bloomberg administration on this project, which imagines a complete redevelopment of the manufacturing and car repair-intensive district. "As the plan currently stands, it has no chance of surviving the public review process. We urge you to come to the table and work with us," the letter reads."

It certainly appears to us that the Bloomberg administration is playing a high stakes game of chicken, but without a strong ally across city hall it's hard to see how this will go forward; there are still too many unresolved issues, and the fate of 250 businesses and over 2,000 mostly minority workers that Tom Angotti so eloquently has documented, cannot be left to the same folks who've, up until this point, only exhibited a contempt for small businesses. As Councilman Monseratte says: "As currently structured this plan cannot go forward..."

Not to be outdone yesterday, Azi also chimed in on the Willets Point matter, underscoring our concerns about displacement: "The redevelopment plans would take out all the auto shops and replace them with housing, office space, hotel rooms and possibly a convention center.
“The plan provides no guarantees that the displaced workers and small businesses will be treated fairly or compensated with meaningful benefits to the surrounding communities such as housing affordable to the average family,” says the letter."

Given the strength of the letter-and the fact that the Land Use Committee Chair Melinda Katz has already voiced her concerns-it does appear that the Blooombergistas are preparing for another land use crash and burn. And the mayor's legacy....?