Thursday, July 12, 2012

Vallone Clueless on Willets Point Illegalities

In this week's Times Ledger CM Peter Vallone demonstrates legendary cluelessness with his perspective of the illegal lobbying campaign conducted by EDC and Claire Shulman's LDC. In doing so, he makes his former council collegue, Joe Addabbo look like Diogenes:

"State Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) was on the City Council when it voted in favor of the project. In light of Schneiderman’s ruling and other revelations surrounding the Willets Point project, he believes the Council should at least hold a public hearing to determine if the project needs to go back to the drawing board.

“There are a lot of pieces here,” he said. “Maybe that’s an issue for the City Council to at least have a hearing.”

Indeed, but Vallone misses the entire legal point: "City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) was also in the Council at the time and voted in favor of the project. He supported Schneiderman’s investigation, but said the group did not have any influence over his decision at the time and that the project should not be derailed for that reason."

Of course at the time Vallone was being lobbied by his father who represented the property owners and helped cut the sweetheart deals on the behalf of the group's heavy hitters-and as soon as that happened young Vallone was convinced. But what he is saying here is that it dosn't matter that in promoting the project EDC and the LDC broke the law - and this is from someone who wants to be the chief law enforcement officer of Queens?

And Vallone overlooks the fact that the Mets real estate arm Sterling Equities was a key stakeholder in the LDC - and came out of this holding $200 million worth of city property. We guess that in Peter Vallone's law enforcement world it's okay for someone to break the law and benefit handsomely - such is the state of good government in Queens if Vallone's view is representative.

Ben Haber has a more persuasive view of all of this - and lays it out in his letter to the Queens Chronicle. He deserves the last word, while Vallone has earned our ridicule:

"Term limits are now the law, but if Bloomberg wants to redeem himself on illegal lobbying, he should insist the City Council enact legislation withdrawing its approval of his Willets Point plan, and the process should start anew without illegal lobbying. Should he fail to do so, the City Council and Speaker Christine Quinn, who aspires to be mayor, should do so on their own.

The public is entitled to the fresh air of good and honest government and nothing less."