Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pro Bono

We have never really worked pro bono before, but now that we have Jake Bono has one of the leading figures in the Willets Point United group, we can get the chance to now say that we have finally gotten the chance-and Bono is now featured in a lengthy interview on Fox News' "This is Your Land."

We mention the Bono interview by way of introduction to the fact that it is now over five months since NYSDOT figured out that the EDC Van Wyck ramp report was seriously deficient-and we now have two contradictory documents that, aside from their effects on the fate of the ramps, have additional implications for other local developments that are relying on the Willets Point EIS for data on traffic coming from the proposed project. Case in point: Flushing Commons, where the developer has used the original traffic evaluation that claimed that 46% of the local car and truck trips would be diverted onto the Van Wyck.

Ah, but the subsequent ramp report-and shouldn't that document have a more timely cachet to it?-claimed that only 16% of the WP traffic would be diverted out from local roads. This friends is some serious skullduggery-reminiscent of the Columbia University collusion of consultants that is awaiting the Court of Appeals judgment. What we are beginning to understand is that the entire land use review process-as it is currently configured with the developer or EDC choosing the so-called experts-is hopelessly corrupt.

Which is why we will make the case at state senate hearings in a couple of weeks that there is a crying need-under the National Environmental Policy Act-for an independent study of the viability of the Van Wyck ramps. Willets Point, Flushing, College Point, and Corona are being inundated by unsustainable development that is putting unbearable pressure on the local road and highway infrastructure-while NYC DOT continues its quixotic quest to bicycle lane the entire city in the municipal equivalent of a psychotic break.

It's time to bell the Bloomberg cat or, to mix metaphors, point out how without clothes our local ruler really is when it comes to carbon emissions and sustainability. We await the awakening of the Rip Van Winkles in the environmental community to this obvious manifestation of hypocrisy. They shouldn't need an oil spill to come to their senses.

So Jake Bono fights on-in a fight that is not only about him. We need a greater accountability down at city hall-and a legislature that doesn't act as a wholly owned subsidiary of Bloomberg LLP. But for that to happen, the people of Queens need to come out of their somnabulence and speak truth to power. It's time to make Saul Alinsky proud.