Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bill de Blasio is Tall

We got this three-foot long campaign piece from Bill de Blasio in the mail the other day, and a similar piece of lit today. This is one inner panel of the piece:

Yup, Bill de Blasio is claiming to be a "BIG GUY." Each panel on this piece and the other one we got states that he is a "BIG GUY," and that as a "BIG GUY" he will stand up for New Yorkers.

It is absolutely true that Bill de Blasio is a TALL GUY. But we don't know how BIG he is. We do know that he has been a small guy when it comes to standing up for "all New Yorkers" in the Atlantic Yards development fight and many other development fights in and around his district. 

Tall Guy? Yes. "BIG GUY?" We don't think so.

(Note: This running on one's size thing might be a first; we can't be sure. But can you picture campaign lit from Abraham Lincoln: "Vote for me, I'm a BIG GUY.")

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Atlantic Yards Questions for Tonight's Avella, Thompson Debate

Understanding that only one question is likely on this subject, here are a few suggested questions about the biggest proposed development still breathing (besides WTC) in NYC for tonight's NY1, Daily News, WNYC Democratic Mayoral Primary debate:

Do you support the Atlantic Yards project? Why or why not?

As Mayor would you allow mega-projects such as Atlantic Yards to bypass ULURP?

What is your position on eminent domain for the Atlantic Yards project and for "economic development" in general?

Can you critique Mayor Bloomberg's involvement with the Atlantic Yards project?

Comptroller Thompson, as comptroller have you undertaken any type of audit or cost-benefit analysis of the project?

Councilman Avella, as Zoning and Franchises Committee chair and a member of the Land Use Committee, why have you not held a hearing on Atlantic Yards even if it wasn't required? Have you tried to?  

What is your view of the role of community boards in making land use decisions? What should the role be? 

Saturday, August 22, 2009

De Blasio, Why Start Now?

Here is the front of one of Public Advocate candidate Bill de Blasio's (why is he running for this office?) recent literature:

And here is an inside page; note the highlighted passage we're concerned about:

The highlighted passage reads:
Fighting Overdevelopment in Brooklyn
All too often, development in our city is pro-big business and anti-neighborhood. As Public Adovcate, Bill will fight overdevelopment, making sure Brooklyn's development projects reflect community values. And he will always push for more truly affordable housing for hardworking New Yorkers.
It's a good use of buzzwords by the Councilman. But why would he start doing all of this now? 

Let's look at...Atlantic Yards, the consensus poster child for overdevelopment, the consensus poster child for "pro-big business" development, and the consensus poster child for "anti-neighborhood" development. Atlantic Yards is the consensus poster child for ignoring "community values" entirely. And Atlantic Yards would have barely any "truly affordable housing" even under the best case outcome.

Atlantic Yards has been controversial since 2003 and would be built right in de Blasio's backyard. Yet h has never gone past the most tepid criticism of small aspects of the project and when he has, he has done nothing beyond press statements or not-so-strongly-worded letters. 

He supports Atlantic Yards, which demonstrates everything his literature says he "will fight." Or to be more accurate let's look at what de Blasio said about the Ratner project most recently at Public Advocate debate according to
...De Blasio said in the past he has supported the project for the jobs and affordable housing it would create, and that while he still supports it, he is against the way the process is moving forward.

De Blasio added he is against the project receiving more subsidies, and said there should be a new EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) and a full disclosure of the current project plan.

Upon being pressed on the issue, de Blasio said the neighborhood around Atlantic Yards is rapidly gentrifying and without affordable housing it would be further gentrified.
So there you have it, more buzz words, more non sequitur and new improved gobbleydeegook. 

He supports it and is against it.

So why, Mr. Councilman, would you start doing now (or, god forbid, in the Public Advocate office) what your campaign lit imagines you to have done in the past?

Or perhaps we misread. Perhaps the literature, all in the future tense, is an admission that he has done none of this fighting of "big-business" and "overdevelopment" in the past. 

But we doubt that.