Friday, August 29, 2008

Pointless Summit?

It now appears that everyone's trying to get into the act on Willets Point. According to the NY Daily News State Senator Malcom Smith has been pushing for more negotiations with the businesses that have been opposing the redevelopment project: "A new round of talks is shaping up between the city and some of the largest businesses at Willets Point after State Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans) helped kick-start stalled negotiations, the Daily News has learned. Smith arranged a closed-doors summit at his Manhattan office this month that brought together top city officials and a dozen representatives of the Willets Point Industry and Realty Association, a league of 16 of the largest businesses at the so-called Iron Triangle."

Now it's hard for us to see how Smith will be more successful than the city here; just what does he bring to the table that trumps the abilities (or lack thereof) of EDC? As the News tells us: "A spokeswoman for Smith, who is in Denver for the Democratic National Convention, confirmed the meeting about Willets Point took place but would say only that the senator "is a big proponent of economic development across the state."

Well, that describes a lot of folks, but the issues here are a bit more nettlesome-and the use of eminent domain under the gun of a ULURP time clock is certainly not helping things; not to mention the subversive role of Councilman Monseratte: "The City Council is expected to take a critical vote in November. "That puts pressure on both sides," said a source in the business group. "We are all watching that clock carefully."

Indeed it does, and while anything's possible here, our bet is that the whole thing falls apart under its own weight-and it will be left to the next administration to decide the fate of the Iron Triangle. Given the way this project has proceeded, this is only just.