Friday, April 6, 2012

Baseless Baseline

We have been trying to figure out how and why the FHWA went so thoroughly in ther tank for NYC EDC in its unprofessional approval of ramps off of the Van Wyck-and the only thing we can figure out to explain it is political interference-something we have been witnessing ever since AG Cuomo tanked the Claire Shulman investigation after Mike Bloomberg's gracious endorsement of his candidacy for governor.

Previous to that endorsement the two had been engaged in an often bitter battle over material that Cuomo's office had subpoenaed pursuant to the Shulman probe:

"Instead of complying with the records request, the city’s chief lawyer, Michael A. Cardozo, demanded a meeting with the attorney general’s office. Mr. Cuomo said that his investigators wanted to review the records before meeting with city officials. Mr. Cardozo balked. Mr. Cuomo said that if necessary, he would issue a subpoena. In one of the many exchanges between the city Law Department and the Attorney General’s office, a Bloomberg administration official said that a subpoena from the state would be seen as a hostile act, and would be remembered next year, when Mr. Cuomo is expected to run for governor."

Ah, but what a difference an endorsement makes! Not only did the Cuomo relegate the Shulman investigation to the ash heap, he went one better by appointing an old EDC hand to head the State DOT-triggering a political sea change in the agency that ran roughshod over all of the technical objections to the ramps that we had uncovered in our FOIA requests.

So we are fully aware of the mayor's boarding house reach-and how the mayor's billions impact all of this. Just last month he had a private little chat with the president:

"They traded thoughts about education, ruminated on the state of immigration and discussed the federal deficit. But most intriguingly, they talked about the future. Over a long private lunch at the White House, President Obama posed a question to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg: what are you interested in doing next? Mr. Bloomberg’s precise response is unknown. But their meeting a few weeks ago, confirmed by aides to both leaders and previously undisclosed, was potentially significant for both men, as Mr. Obama seeks support for his presidential campaign and Mr. Bloomberg ponders his post-mayoral career." (

"Oh, and Mr. President, there is that small matter of some ramps off of a highway in Queens. Do you think you could expedite that for me?" That couldn't have happened. Of course not. And the overturning of term limits came about because of the outpouring of popular support-right?

Which gets us to the issue of that baseline analysis. In EDC's Environmental Assessment (EA) the agency analyzes the Willets Point project with and without the ramps-even though the project cannot be built if the ramps are not approved. They never analyze the comparative impacts of the development with ramps-and no project with no ramps at all!

This is what's known in popular jargon as, "The fix is in." Is there nothing that Mike's millions can't corrupt?