Monday, April 2, 2012

The Quintessential Hypocrite

We did a commentary last week on the hypocrisy of Speaker Christine Quinn, the newly minted crony capitalist of NYC-and her outrageous exemption of living wage from the Hudson Yards project: "A large portion of the Hudson Yards project, a 26-acre mixed-use development along the city’s Far West Side, is specifically excluded from the proposed so-called living wage legislation in a draft that was written by Ms. Quinn’s office and is now circulating among supporters of the bill."

We also pointed out that the exclusion of retail tenants from the bill was another bennie to Related and its trade association best bud, the NYC Partnership. Well, it's nice to see that the NY Post has noticed this as well-first in yesterday's column by Michael Goodwin:

"Quinn ducked the bill for nearly two years, but now endorses a compromise measure that would not cover the workers of tenants in the developments, including retail workers. That was the first straddle.The second is the plan to exempt part of Hudson Yards being developed by Related Companies. The New York Times reports that Related employees contributed $34,200 to Quinn’s campaign. Probably just a coincidence, right?"

Now the Post editorial board jumps in and points a finger at the mayoral wannabee's hypocrisy:

"To the surprise — and consternation — of some, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has moved to exempt part of a major Manhattan development project from her economically corrosive “living wage” bill.The Related Cos. won a carve-out from the bill for a significant chunk of Hudson Yards, the 26-acre mixed-use development along the West Side.The bill would require developers like Related and other companies that receive city subsidies to pay their workers at least $10 — and as much as $11.50 — an hour, far above the state’s minimum wage.Why the special treatment for Related in this instance?"

It's pretty simple: "Well, it certainly doesn’t hurt that the firm has taken quite a liking to mayoral wannabe Quinn, with its employees thus far donating $34,200 to her campaign." And the crony capitalism stinks to high hell:

"Her proposal plays both sides of the issue — scoring points with the unions, who desperately want the bill, while covering the back of a key developer and campaign supporter.But, not to coin a phrase, her approach protects the 1 percent of developers — big players like Related — while forcing the 99 percent to carry the burden of the bill’s business-stifling effect."

But this is exactly what the mayor and the speaker did when they colluded on eliminating the living wage provision from the Willets Point development-after all the council negotiated this benefit as part of its approval for the massive project. But when EDC took it out of phony Phase I Speaker Quinn was in her room recovering from lockjaw. (

All of this explains why it is so important for the US Senate to pass H.R. 1433, the Private Property Protection Act-a bill that would prevent the use of eminent domain for economic development projects like Willets Point. If the city did use condemnation for this it would face the loss of all federal economic development funds-and so would NY State, if the bill becomes law.

With crony capitalists like Bloomberg and Quinn, small property owners and all homeowners are unsafe-and their possessions are fair game for the condemners. We will soon see who will stand up for property rights. Senator Gillibrand has yet to answer our letter but a reckoning will soon be coming.