Friday, May 18, 2012

Give Us Streets!

The Times Ledger is reporting on the effort by WPU to get the city to finally provide Willets Point with the infrastructure it needs-and deserves now that the original grandiose plan has fallen flat on its face: "In the wake of a city decision to drop its eminent domain proceedings, property owners from Willets Point called on the city Department of Transportation to repair the streets of their neighborhood at Monday’s Community Board 7 meeting and had a unique guest speaker to help make their case.Ralph Paterno, who owns property where the city wanted to build the first phase of a $3 billion redevelopment project for the area, took to the podium flanked by large posters of the pothole-strewn streets."

As Paterno says: “The city will not be in the position to actually develop Willets Point anytime soon or perhaps ever,” he said. “So I and other Willets Point property owners are here tonight to publicly ask Community Board 7 to please help us put pressure on DOT to repair and maintain the Willets Point streets.”

Much of this appeal seemed to fall on deaf ears-although it was board chair Gene Kelty who had told the owners in 2008 it were him he would withhold his taxes if the city wasn't providing proper services: "Would you tolerate conditions in front of your house that looked like this?” Paterno asked before turning to CB 7 Chairman Gene Kelty. “Mr. Kelty, back in 2008 you actually chastised the people of Willets Point for not being vocal enough in demanding city services.”

A young man who came to the meeting then activated a CD player and Kelty’s voice from 2008 was immediately audible.“I can tell you this — if someone was taking taxes from me and I wasn’t getting my services, I certainly wouldn’t be paying my taxes,” Kelty said on tape."

The city's response?More of the same prevarication: "DOT said in a statement it already repairs potholes in the Willets Point area on an ongoing basis. DOT replaced 100 potholes within the last year, according the department, but due to ongoing sewer work and potential infrastructure work in the future, cannot begin a widespread paving campaign."

As Groucho Marx might have said, "Who are you going to believe, me-or your own lying eyes?"