Tuesday, November 22, 2011

EDC Cruzin' for a Bruisin'

The NY Daily News is reporting on the awarding of a Willets Point sewer construction project to a New Jersey firm. This is in keeping with EDC policy of doing as much harm to NYC business as is reasonably possible:

"A New Jersey company has snared lucrative contracts to build a sewer system for Willets Point, angering critics who say the job near Citi Field should go to a city firm. Cruz Contractors signed deals in May and July for $36 million of work for sewers at the mix of auto body shops and junkyards by the Mets’ stadium."

This didn't sit well with State Senator Tony Avella: "State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) called Cruz’s hiring a “disgrace.”

“City residents are out of work, especially construction workers,” Avella said. “Why can’t we give our people these jobs?”

The action was defended by EDC as a necessary requirement of the bidding process: "But the EDC defended picking Cruz, based in Holmdel, since it was the lowest bidder. The law bars discriminating against bidders based on their geographic base, said EDC spokeswoman Jennifer Friedberg."

From our standpoint we are amazed that EDC decided to bid the contract out at all since it is notorious for sole sourcing so much of its consultant work. And since the agency's word is worth a bucket of warm spit it would be interesting to see if what EDC is saying is actually the truth. But we did get a kick out of the lame comments of Queens BP Helen Marshall-she of the "Keep it in Queens" program.

WPU's Lennie Scarola underscores the fecklessness of Marshall and attacks EDC's failure to find a local firm:

"Len Scarola, who leases land at Willets Point for an auto body shop, bashed the contracts as “outrageous.”...But Scarola argued that Cruz’s hiring contradicts the message of a “Keep It In Queens” initiative by the city, the Queens Chamber of Commerce and Borough President Helen Marshall. The program trumpets the rejuvenation of Willets Point as a way to bring jobs to the borough. Marshall said in a statement that she supports the redevelopment because it will bring more than 18,000 construction and 5,000 permanent jobs. “Our hope and expectancy is that many of them will be filled by local labor and businesses,” she said."

Marshall can't even summon up an ounce of outrage for the award-a sign of just how deep she is in with the administration. As Tom Lehrer once sang: "Second fiddle is a hard part we know, when they don't even give you a bow."

This story, however, is just the beginning. Willets Point is in an environmental justice zone and EDC has violated all of the rules for complying with permitting in these zones-and that is a story to be continued.