Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Council Oversight: Quinn's Oxymoron

In today's NY Post Michael Goodwin weighs in on the role Speaker Quinn has played as a lackey for the mayor:

"Quinn has been able to get by up to now because she is hiding under the wings of Mayor Bloomberg. His power and money shelter her, and she has repaid him by acting more as a deputy mayor than the head of the legislative branch. He owes her for that, and for organizing the votes that allowed them both a third term."

This super subordinate role has been particularly problematic when it comes to the council's oversight role:

"It is worth noting that, of the big scandals involving Bloomberg’s contracts on technology and other private vendors, none was uncovered by the City Council. Agency oversight has rarely been strong in the council, but under Quinn, it is an oxymoron."

That is especially true for EDC-and the AG chastisement of the group for illegal lobbying should have had red flags waiving down at the city council. EDC not only illegally lobbied for the project-and lied to the council in the process-but the two issues that "sold" the deal were affordable housing and living wage-both jettisons by EDC in favor of a huge mall for the Mets.

In addition, the council had asked the deputy mayor whether the members of the illegally lobbying Shulman LDC would be eligible to bid on the project. Leiber stammered but couldn't answer the question. Now we know the answer with Sterling Equities getting the development rights and the tax payer bought property for nothing!

This is such a skeevy outrage that it should be incumbent on the city council to schedule an oversight hearing to examine, not only how EDC and Shulman colluded to break the law and illegally lobby for the project at Willets Point, but also why it is necessary and proper for EDC to restructure itself so it can lobby in the future.

If the council fails to do this then its oxymoronic oversight role will be seen for what it is-simply moronic.