Friday, October 26, 2012

Parks for the People

Ben Haber is up to his usual tricks-debunking hypocrisy and holding elected officials up to a good government standard. His latest is a letter on the absurd idea to put a soccer stadium inside Flushing Meadows Park:

"The issue is not whether the proposed soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park will not result in the loss of fields as claimed by Mark Abbot, the president of Major League Soccer (“No loss of fields,” Letters, Oct. 18). The issue is not, as claimed by Mr. Abbot, that the MLS will maintain current soccer fields in the park.

The issue is not Mr. Abbot’s purported philanthropy. The issue is yet another prostitution of FMCP by giving — not to a nonprofit organization or one engaged in charitable public works but to a private, for-profit business — up to 13 acres of urban parkland. Professional soccer, like all other professional sports clubs, is owned by immensely wealthy people, and, like all private for-profit businesses, exists solely to make money, as much money as possible."

Haber's not against making money-just not at the expense of the city's second most utilized park. He ridicules the idea that this portion of the park is 'underutilized': "I do object to the claim the stadium will be in an unused part of the park. If it is unused, grass it over and place benches and picnic tables in the area. Urban parkland should not be kept in an unused condition so as to then be argued by myopic politicians to not even sell it, but give it away."

Next Haber sets his laser-like attention on the myopic elected officials who should be jumping up and down in protest of the idea that this park should be despoiled in this manner: "Suffice it to say in the case of FMCP, the second most used park in the city — mostly by the underprivileged — the fault lies with far too many city officials, particularly those in Queens who should know better, who consider their constituents to be real estate and private interest groups. They have intentionally shortchanged and ignored FMCP, and the little people be damned."

Haber makes short work of the claims of MLS that the stadium will restore civic pride, or some other such nonsense: "MLS Commissioner Don Garber has said this a godsend that will raise a sense of pride in the community and benefit Queens. Hogwash. It will benefit the rich owner of a private for-profit business. Mr. Garber’s further claim that a soccer stadium will make FMCP better is Madison Avenue nonsense and absurd on its face. The only thing that will make FMCP better is to prevent politicians and private special interest groups from having any say in its management."

Where are the elected officials on this? Either hiding under their desks or supporting the stadium because of a jock-sniffing tendency. Haber gets the last word on this substandard group of self servers: "The lack of a hue and cry in opposition by elected officials is testament to their intellectual bankruptcy and low caliber."