Sunday, July 22, 2012

Rethinking the Times Ledger's Thought Process

The Times Ledger editorializes against the use of Willets Point as a site for a NYC convention center-and we agree. The plan makes no sense-but the paper's concern here misses so much more of significance that deserves editorial focus:

"There has been much talk about building convention centers at Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct Racetrack and Willets Point. But where is the proof that the city needs another convention center, and where is the proof that Queens will be an attractive destination for organizers?Queens cannot compete with Manhattan, one of the best known tourist destinations in the world. And why should it? We are happy to hear and not at all surprised that the Aqueduct casino is doing well, but that doesn’t mean a convention center will also do well."

The paper closes its editorial with the following bromide: "Before money is poured down the drain, borough leaders and city economic development officials should discuss what is in the best interest of Queens and the city."

This is quite astonishing from our perspective. The Times Ledger opines on Willets Point a couple of weeks after the NYS AG has chastised the NYC EDC for an illegal lobbying scheme-and roughly a month after the city has turned over $200 million worth of property to the real estate arm of the Mets-for not even 24 dollars that the Indians were paid for Manhattan-and all the TL can do is opine about the absurdity of another convention center?

Earth to the editors. The city has reneged on all of its promised goodies for Willets Point-jettisoning affordable housing and living wage so the Wilpons can build a mall next to CitiField on land zoned parkland. In May the city's application for the right to condemn the properties owned by the members of WPU was withdrawn because of fears that it would expose the current administration to the scorn of the courts as a result of all the underhanded tactics the city has employed-including breaking the law to lobby on behalf of the project.

So much to comment on-and all the editors of the TL can think to editorialize on is a convention center? Talk about irrelevancy. In the context of all that has gone on in the past two months the idea of a Willets Point convention center is as close to a non sequitor as you can get.