Willets Point (From the Queens Chronicle, 7/16/09)
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. Given the limited time the mayor insisted upon, the editorial staff did the best it could. A report concerning the interview was posted in the Queens Chronicle in its July 9 issue.
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. It is a serious issue and in fact the New York State Court of Appeals recently decided to look into the question in the Brooklyn Atlantic Yards case.
Given Bloomberg’s affinity for fat cat real estate moguls and his indifference for the poor, the middle class and small businesses, there is no doubt that if the only way Willets Point property can be secured is through eminent domain, Bloomberg will take that route. It will be vigorously contested as indeed it should.