Thursday, August 22, 2013

Planning Commission Rubber Stamps Willets West: Morphs into the Board of Health

In what is really not a news story - when was the last time the City Planning Commission turned down a mayoral initiative? (Answer: Never) - the CPC approved the bastardized Willets West development with a lone dissenting vote. As the NY Daily News reports:“The City Planning Commission approved a plan to build a mega mall near Citi Field as part of a larger redevelopment of the gritty stretch of auto body shops.”

We got a big kick out of New York’s Burden - the chair of CPC - who remarked: “Willets Point is on its way to becoming remediated and ultimately becoming an active and inviting destination.”

From a woman famous for her own extreme makeovers, we weren’t surprised by the comment. Amanda Burden has had this sinecure for twelve years and the only thing that would bring more fresh air to the city than the mayor’s departure would be the removal of this toady from her sinecure. Burden gives a certain class comfort to the rubber stamp nature of the CPC - perhaps there will be a spot for her on the Board of Health in a new mayoral administration. After all, she has shown great skill in simply following orders.

There was, however, one dissenting opinion in this charade: “Board member Michelle de la Uz was the lone dissenting voice during the meeting. She argued that there are a glut of malls already in Queens and said “questionable and weak” efforts have been made to relocate the immigrant shop owners working in the auto body shops.”

De la Uz was appointed by Public Advocate de Blasio and it raises questions about what a mayor de Blaio would do if he were asked to review this horrible crony capitalist bait and switch adventure. After all, the litany of the false promises and illegalities pave the road along the way to this mega mall project-and a new mayor is under no obligation to pony up $200 million worth of property and close to $100 million for “remediation” just to aggrandize Steve Ross and Jeff Wilpon’s fortunes.

The measure now goes to the city council where Speaker Quinn will have the opportunity to demonstrate her total obeisance to the agenda of Big Real Estate. There can be no other explanation-the absence of a public good here is blindingly glaring.