Saturday, September 19, 2009

Willets Point Shout Out to Ben Haber

In Thursday's Times Ledger, Ben Haber raises some of the questions we have already brought up about the curious actions of Claire Shulman and EDC: "As I understand it, Shulman’s local development corporation certificate of incorporation stated the LDC shall not attempt to influence legislation which is a reiteration of the applicable law. The certificate was signed by Shulman. The lobbying of Council members and, to make matters worse, use of city funds to do so was no oversight. Given the fact we are talking about the destruction of the majority of the 225 economically viable businesses in Willets Point and their thousands of employees and families, the purported violation is not a trivial matter. It warrants a full investigation by the office of state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and, if a violation is found to have occurred, the Council vote must be nullified."

Indeed so-and we should also point out that the actions of this cabal are similar to those of ACORN, where questionable legalities have been inappropriately swept under the rug because of the protected class status of those involved. And Haber is right to question the mayor's cavalier attitudes-and his motives as well: "Bloomberg’s attempts to slough off the actions of Shulman and claims that he doubts the law was broken and a “cheap shot” was being taken at Shulman is nonsense. He is making the cheap shots. As head of the LDC, Shulman was not acting as a purported dedicated public servant but as the well-paid head of that group. It may come as a surprise to Bloomberg and Shulman, but the last I heard the rule of law applies not just to ordinary citizens but to seasoned politicians as well."

This isn't the first time that citizen Haber has righteously pointed out Bloomberg's disingenuousness. In a July letter to the Queens Chronicle he observed: "Recently Mayor Michael Bloomberg met with the Queens Chronicle editorial staff and allowed 30 minutes for questions, hardly enough time to delve deeply into various issues affecting this city...Bloomberg was asked about the status of The Willets Point redevelopment project and did he expect to use eminent domain. the mayor’s answer was “No. The people will move.” Bloomberg did not follow up by indicating what he would do if the people will not move. The fact of the matter is that dozens of occupants will not voluntarily move. Bloomberg is well aware of this, and his answer was Madison Avenue nonsense calculated to make the public think there is no serious eminent domain issue."

We can't avoid hearing the Bloomberg campaign prattling incessantly about how the mayor is the champion of the middle class. The reality, however, is that Mike Bloomberg champions his real estate billionaire brethren-and the construction trades that feed off of this predatory activity. The middle class is bolstered by a vibrant small business sector-and the Willets Point firms, along with thousands of neighborhood store owners who are also sucking wind because of the Bloomberg regime, are its best exemplars.