Friday, September 24, 2010

Columbia University case appealed to U.S. Supreme Court

Tuck-it-Away's Supreme Court appeal

From Neighborhood Retail Alliance:

Put simply, Sprayregen believes that the NY court erred in its application of the SC guidelines in the Kelo case-and he emphasizes in particular the bad faith and favoritism that we have discussed on this blog-with the collusion of the consultants being case one of a fix being in for the benefit of Columbia University. In the second instance, Sprayregen is directly challenging the total lack of due process in the eminent domain procedure laws of NYS-laws that afford the property owners zero due process to argue against the state's use of the eminent domain right.

In essence Sprayregen is arguing that the Columbia expansion-and the ESDC collusion in it-exhibit exactly the kind of private transfer that Judge Stevens said Kelo was designed to prevent.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Who will stand up for Queens?

From the Neighborhood Retail Alliance:

In a survey of the best lawyers from around the world, Willets Point United's legal advocate Mike Gerrard was listed as the best environmental lawyer in New York-and in our view, it's not even close. But the recognition should put the state and the federal regulatory authorities-NYSDOT and FHWA-on notice that their lack of due diligence (and potential collusion) over the Willets Point/Van Wyck ramps will not go unchallenged if they fail to subject the proposed Access Modification Report to a full independent review under the National Environmental Policy act.

Given that the state's roads are in a state of current disrepair-owing in large part to DOT's incapacities-the allowance of ramps that will flood the highwayss and lead to the wasting of the billion dollar being spent to upgrade of the Kew Gardens Interchange, is simply unconscionable. Queens electeds need to wake up-much as those on Staten Island have because of the poor state of that borough's roads.

In Queens...pols still seem reluctant to challenge a Willets Point project that was falsely sold to them on the basis of environmental sustainability. But the proverbial stuff is already hitting the fan and the three blind mice routine is gonna come back and bite Queens residents on their collective butts. WPU may be in the eye of the storm, but that organization's fate is akin to the canary in the mine-a warning to all those borough residents, and the folks who are supposed to represent them, that a Category 5 traffic storm is on the way.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The great city-state coverup

From the Neighborhood Retail Alliance:

It has been seven months since Willets Point United, and its traffic consultant Brian Ketcham, demonstrated the blatant deficiency of a Van Wyck ramp report submitted by NYC EDC to the NYSDOT. The state agency is responsible for initially approving these ramps-or not-with the Federal Highway Administration having the last word on their feasibility. So the question that we ask, is there a cover up at NYSDOT?

In this interim seven month period, EDC and its consultants, in apparent secrecy and collusion with the oversight agency, have been working feverishly-to address the gross defects of their original submission (a revised ramp report was first slated to be ready in March). But, the WPU and Ketcham, after having been the key actors in insuring that the original report was sent back for revision, (in spite of promises from NYSDOT that they would be included in the revision process) have been left out; leaving EDC's original axe to grind consultant as the sole interlocutor with the state on the ramps feasibility.

As a result of the agency's reneging on an open, professional review process, WPU has been forced to file numerous Freedom of Information requests just to obtain information that, if transparency was valued, would be shared collegially in the interest of insuring that the impact of the ramps on the entire Queens highway grid system would be honestly evaluated. Instead the EDC consultant, AKRF, whose work was not only deficient but, arguably deceptive, has been allowed to act as the sole provider of technical knowledge to the agency.

The compelling question is, why has NYSDOT circled the wagons and resisted the free and open exchange of information? This is the question that WPU's Ketcham has asked DOT Commissioner Stanley Gee in a letter to the agency head. In particular, Ketcham raises the issue of NYSDOT's accountability to the public: "Given your distinguished career at the Federal Highway Administration and more recently at New York State Department of Transportation, I am bringing to your attention current Departmental practices that undermine your objective of improving its performance, accountability and communication within and outside the agency."