Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wither the Point

The lawsuit filed against the city by Willets Point property owners highlights another problem that the city faces-and this one is political. As Eliot Brown points out in the Observer's real estate blog: " The city was days away from starting that process in February when local council members, led by Hiram Monserrate, became vocal in opposition to the project as planned. The city then backed away from its late February start date and now it’s been almost two months since the council members spoke out, with no new date set to start the rezoning. Yesterday, even more council members climbed into the criticism camp. David Weprin, Diana Reyna, Eric Gioia, Leroy Comrie Jr. and James Sanders Jr. joined Mr. Monserrate and Tony Avella at a press conference yesterday to criticize the plan for its effects on the business and landowners, with many expressing outright opposition to any plan that included the use of eminent domain (Mayor Bloomberg has strongly supported the potential use of eminent domain in the project.)"

What this looks like to us is the fact that, due to recent political circumstances surrounding the mayor and the speaker, more council members are being emboldened to stake out a position on eminent domain issues. We've gone beyond the usual suspects (or perhaps the enlightened few) to what is beginning to look like a groundswell. Let the lame duckery begin!