Thursday, May 19, 2011

EDC's Technical Proficiency Claims

Nothing speaks to the arrogance of EDC more than its defense of the newly conjured up Phase 1 of the Willets Point project. What really gets us about this defense can be found in the agency's response to WPU's challenge on EDC's claim that it doesn't need ramps for the initial development of the area.

The defense of this about face from the original pledge not to condemn Willets Point property before the ramps were approved rests on a hallowed Technical Memo 4. Here's EDC's response to WPU's attorney Michael Gerrard:

"Technical Memorandum 4, in accordance with the requirements of SEQR and CEQR, assessed whether the modified would have any significant environmental impacts that were not addressed or were inadequately addressed in the FGEIS. The assessment concluded that no new significant adverse environmental impacts would result from the phased development, and that therefor a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) is not required under SEQR..."

This Technical Memo 4 is no as far as we can tell a Papal Encyclical, and its conclusions must rest on the work of consultants that ultimately provided this judicious reasoning that EDC is relying on. Now who could these consultants be? EDC is silent on this, and by keeping quiet unfairly deprives these gurus the kind of glory they deserve.

Our suspicion is that the consultants are the same Gang that Couldn't Shoot Straight on the original AMR-you know, that work of fiction that was summarily returned to EDC because of its utter lack of either professionalism or believability. So what Technical Memo 4 amounts to is just another example of the city marking its own exam papers-a habit that we, along with the NY Post's Michael Goodwin, have already commented on. It is just like the loyalty oaths that Justice Black described as, "proof of loyalty to nothing but self interest."

This kind of arrogant self service is usually accompanied by a chorus of toadies in the city's land use review process. Not so with TM 4: "The necessary environmental review to support Phase 1 of the publicly approved plan has occurred...and Phase 1 may proceed without first obtaining ramp approvals." Wow! And it went by so fast we missed it entirely!

So all we have to go on in this instance is EDC's assertion that a real environmental review has been conducted. Given the agency's track record on Willets Point this isn't much to instill confidence in any but the most suborned of the cast of lackeys that EDC and Claire Shillman have assembled.

In our view it will not pass the smell test and we anticipate that Judge Madden will view these claims as fatuous. It is precisely why all of this chicanery needs to be set aside and an independent review established. After all, Willets Point is not just another bike lane.