As we have been commenting, EDC has argued that it needs to restructure so it can garner more political power than it already has-and therefore be in a position to cause even more harm. The controversy surrounding Flushing Meadows Park dramatizes the insanity of this proposal.
It isn't enough that EDC is a destructive force for neighborhoods and small businesses-all in the interests of their real estate patrons-now they want to add the destruction of parks to their ghoulish resume. Parks advocate Geoffrey Croft lays this all out in the NY Daily News:
"Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is under siege. The Bloomberg administration is attempting to push through three major projects that would permanently seize nearly 75 acres of public parkland for commercial projects that will also have enormous additional impacts on the surrounding communities. We now live in era where not only are our public parklands readily available for commercial development but it is activity being encouraged under this administration."
Under siege is an apt term for the kind of assaulting that the EDC real estate lackeys do when fronting for their real masters-certainly not the people of New York. As Croft points out the Willets Point side of this land grab is being justified by a 1961 ordinance that should be seen as having no validity more than 50 years later:
"The majority of the land for the $3 billion Willets Point project would be taken from parkland adjacent to Citi Field currently used for parking. The administration is attempting to get away with not alienating the land as is required under state law in order to use parkland for non-park purposes.The city is desperately trying to rely on a 1961 bill that never replaced parkland used for Shea Stadium.
If the 40-plus acres being proposed for mall use are no longer needed for parking then it should revert back to its original recreational use. Our elected officials should be pushing for that instead of giving away our public spaces to the highest bidder."
This is the EDC that wants to expand its powers because it feels that its current reach is not adequate in spite of the fact that it is in reality an well-armed weapon of the mayor's office. We agree that EDC needs to be restructured-not to give it more power, but to rein it in so that it is no longer a voice for the crony capitalists but a real expression of the popular will.