Friday, October 19, 2012

Can You Hear Us Now?

WPU has been challenging the proposed restructuring of EDC because we see it as an end run of state law-and can conceive of no public benefit from granting this quasi-public agency any more clout. As we said in July: "There was a good reason why the legislature separated these LDCs from lobbying: "They are not allowed to lobby as a result of a decades-old law designed to make sure their unique power to receive land while bypassing traditional bidding rules does not lead to corruption."
As for the idea that the two separate entities will actually be, well, separated, that's nothing but a sham: "All of this three card monte is simply a sham-and the idea that the new entity designed for lobbying will be independent of the parent is simply unbelievable: "Whenever the EDC is involved in land disposition, the land will first be transferred to the LDC, which will in turn hand it to over to EDC to do with it as it sees fit."
EDC is an arm of the mayor-the single most powerful elected official in the city, If the mayor wants to lobby for a project he has many weapons in his arsenal-that is why we laughed when EDC claimed it got its ass whupped at the Kingsbrdige Armory because these mopes were barred from lobbying. As Crain's reported:

"The EDC agreed to suspend its lobbying while the investigation played out, which hamstrung its ability to fight for key projects, including the redevelopment of the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx. While the EDC could provide information to elected officials about its plan to turn the landmarked armory into a shopping mall and the potential impact of the project, it could not lobby for it. The City Council rejected the plan in December 2009 over concerns that the jobs would not pay high-enough wages."

All of this is why WPU is thrilled that the city council will be holding a hearing on the EDC restructuring. As the notice says:

"Oversight: The Restructuring of the New York City Economic Development Corporation - What is the impact going forward?
                    Please be advised that the Committee on Economic Development will hold a hearing on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. in the 14th Floor Committee Room, 250 Broadway, New York, NY regarding the above-referred topic."

Now we are sure that the hearing wasn't directly prompted by our concerns-or the fact that we had vociferously raised an alarm in a Supreme Court hearing last month about the restructuring. But make no mistake about it, this hearing is designed to try to garner support for this unwarranted move in order to weaken WPU's opposition-and the entire reason for the need to alter the way EDC operates devolves from our complaint to the NYS AG that ended when the AG cited the agency for illegal lobbying.

So we will be out in force next month to expose the chicanery of these officials-and the history of an agency whose entire reason for being seems to be to find ways to hurt small business, Given its history, it is a reckless act to grant EDC any more power.