Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Videos of the Willets Point press conference
"Mike Bloomberg is a traitor to the American Dream. He is a traitor to democracy in this City. The people behind me who own businesses here, who work here - this is their American Dream and how dare Mike Bloomberg and the City and my colleagues in the City Council... take these people's property."
"This whole thing has been a joke and a disaster from the beginning. If the City really wanted to do development here, all they had to do for the past 40 years was put in the infrastructure - put in the roads, put in the sewers, and development would take care of itself over time and these people could have their jobs and their businesses....that would be done at 1/20th of the cost for the taxpayers of this City." - Councilman Tony Avella
Irene Presti-Giacomo speaks about her property at Willets Point, how the City neglected to take care of the streets, sidewalks and sewers all these years and how she should have the right to develop her own property. The income from the property is the widow's sole source of income for her and her daughters.
Jake Bono talks about the absurdity of business and property owners having to defend what's already theirs. He states that the EDC is saying, "Sell us your land or we're taking it." Small businesses are not being protected as the Bloomberg administration claims. The vast majority of property owners have not made deals and yet the City is calling them "holdouts."
Julia Sandoval asks Mayor Bloomberg to show compassion toward the Willets Point workers who need to provide for their families.
Jerry Antonacci points out the hypocrisy of Bloomberg campaign literature where it talks about how Bloomberg will save small businesses yet plans to destroy the businesses at Willets Point.
Andy Charidemou of Shea Truck and Auto Repair endorses Tony Avella for Mayor.
Attendee Bob Doocey asks the question what will happen when another mayor wants to take the property from this yet-to-be-named developer for another project (it's an unending cycle).
Len Scarola questions the City's closing of hospitals and firehouses while spending hundreds of millions of dollars to buy property at Willets Point.
Tony Avella says Bloomberg just trying to give land to his favorite developers. He makes the point that 30-40 years ago, College Point was condemned and is still not redeveloped. When Bloomberg says he is helping small businesses, he is lying.
Tony Avella promises if he becomes mayor that Willets Point project is dead and the business owners will keep their property and their jobs.
Ralph St. John talks about having his land condemned twice - first in College Point and now in Willets Point.
Janice Serrone focuses on the Cornerstone Group trying to talk to her tenants and get them to leave Willets Point. Jake Bono then explains that Cornerstone is vague in what they say and don't necessarily talk to owners but to anyone they find at the properties - workers, tenants, etc. and then leaves a business card.