Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Public Advocate Steps Up-But is it Far Enough?

The Politicker has an interesting story about how Bill de Blasio is criticizing the mayor's small business policies:

"I don’t want to say that Mike Bloomberg is anti-business,” Mr. de Blasio clarified later. “I want to say that the businessman mayor is not what he is cracked up to be. He is focused on helping the business community, but it does not extend to all types of business, it does not extend to all five boroughs. His polices have had the effect of hindering development and hindering the small business community, so how’s about we break out of the mythology and actually have a debate about what is working and what is not working.”

An excellent point by de Blasio-but one that doesn't go far enough in our view. He is trying to position himself as both pro-development and pro-small business but this puts him in a bit of a bind since so much of the mayor's development policies have been anti-small business.

The Public Advocate needs to recognize this and craft a development policy that is designed to recognize the collateral damage that Bloomberg's malling of NYC has done-and he should begin by taking a look at what has transpired since he voted for the Willets Point development in 2008. This project is a classic test case on how not to do development-with the city breaking every single promise it made on the road to the city council approvals.

At the same time, de Blasio can become a forthright defender of property rights after he fully examines how all of the city's grandiose promises for affordable housing and, "the next green neighborhood," were trashed on the way to the eventual awarding of development rights to one of the co-conspirators in the illegal lobbying scheme-all for another retail mall that will siphon off business from nearby commercial shopping strips.

What a great political position awaits the Public Advocate. He can stand up for small business, property rights, and transparency while taking a strong stand against the city's use of illegal methods to accomplish its development goals. If he takes this step-and calls for the annulment of the 2008 agreements-he will stand in sharp contrast to the speaker who will never risk angering the mayor she has served so slavishly for the past seven years.