Sunday, September 25, 2011

NY Post's Dead Horse

The NY Post is lashing out at Comptroller Liu for fingering the profligate ways of the unaccountable EDC:

"City Comptroller John Liu dumped a bowlful of ugly on New York last week, accusing a city agency of sitting on $9.3 million meant for job creation, mostly in The Bronx, where unemployment is 12% and rising.

The bulk of the cash -- 95% -- was earmarked for The Bronx’s Harlem River Rail Yard project but hasn’t been spent by the city’s Economic Development Corp. “It makes little sense that millions intended for economic development remain unused for so long,” said Liu, “especially in The Bronx, where jobs are greatly needed.”

This observation of Liu's gets the Post into high dudgeon: "Full stop. The job-slaughtering Liu has absolutely no standing to lecture anyone about jobs in that battered borough. And if he’s looking for reasons The Bronx is so desperately starved for jobs, he should start by looking in the mirror."

What sin did Liu commit? Well it seems as if he's responsible for the fall of the Kingsbridge Armory: "Liu’s leadership as a member of the City Council helped implode a $310 million plan to build a mall in The Bronx’s Kingsbridge Armory, which would have created 2,200 jobs in retail and construction.Back in 2009 he listened to union bosses -- rather than ailing Bronxites -- and voted to kill the Armory deal because developers wouldn’t buckle to labor and guarantee salaries there that were 50% above the state’s minimum wage."

This is all quite comical to us. First to label Liu as the mover and shaker for what the entire legislature decided-it's not as if Liu was the tie breaking vote on an overwhelming rejection of this form of crony capitalism-is plain dumb. But beyond dumb is the Post's view that the project would have created those couple of thousand jobs-without raping and pillaging from the existing businesses in and around the Armory. Maybe the Post didn't see the Juan Gonzales postmortem on the Gateway Mall-the one that found that those thousands of projected jobs came in at lower than 1,000-after EDC gave the property away to a friend of Dan Doctoroff!

Secondly, the Post does not discuss the role of EDC in this debacle and the decision to use millions in tax payer subsidies to make this project go forward. It was always going to be an example of the misuse of public funds which should rarely be used to subsidize retail malls that compete with local business.

So kudos to Liu for holding EDC's feet to the fire. Now the comptroller should set his sights on the Willets Point boondoggle-something that makes the misguided armory project look like little more than a candy store heist.