In an editorial (“Wasteland”) that would have been an accurate description of the intellectual vacuity of its own editorial page, Crain’s unsurprisingly signs on in support of the Willets Point boondoggle:
“As a crucial City Council vote on the massive Willets Point, Queens, redevelopment draws nigh, the opposition has become increasingly desperate, holding rallies and amping up its rhetoric. To hear them tell it, the project is a blatant bait-and-switch that enriches wealthy developers with city subsidies and turns treasured parkland into a parking lot and a mall. If that sounds too bad to be true, it is.”
We say unsurprising because Crain’s would support building a brothel in your backyard as long as it was being built by a connected real estate firm that the so-called paper is in business to shill for. And don’t expect honesty from these toadies:
“Fortunately, save for a few misguided activists, Queens residents and community leaders see through the propaganda, and there is every reason to believe the council will approve the first phase of the plan as early as this week.”
A few misguided activists? Well, as we said, don’t expect intellectual honesty from an organ of Big Real Estate. We suppose that using eminent domain to take away people’s property and build a mall is what passes for good government in this house organ-and the idea that CB#’s 30-1 vote against the boondoggle is the work of a few misguided cranks when you’re in the business of promoting the 1%.
Here’s how the property owners are characterized:
“Willets Point, an industrial area near Flushing, is a stain on the city that many a politician has attempted to clean up. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is the first to get a plan going to accomplish that, yet he has had to overcome resistance from a few defiant industrial shops that prefer the status quo.”
Isn’t it amazing that there are property owners who prefer the status quo of keeping their property rather than having it turned over to the Mets and Related-for a $1 fee that Crain’s neglects to discuss?
But nothing underscores the ass-kissing inanity of Crain’s than its praise for the brain dead councilmember from Corona:
“Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras is still negotiating for the best package of community goodies she can get from the developers, the Related Cos. and Sterling Equities, but to her credit, she seems driven to get a deal done rather than sabotage a much-needed project that has eluded the city for decades.”
Crain’s goes on to damn the Willets Point business owners with faint praise:
“It is a testament to the pluckiness of these folks that they have carved out profitable operations there, but they must accept that a first-class city cannot tolerate the conditions that characterize the area's infamous Iron Triangle: dirt streets with cavernous potholes, no sewer system and unfathomable contamination.”
There an old saying that there was a German who, while passing a Jewish ghetto set up by the Nazis, turned to his companion and said, “Boy, don’t these Jews smell.” To which his companion replied, “That’s not the Jews that smell, its Nazism.”
The neglect of the Iron Triangle and the deprivation of basic city services is what has characterized city policy for 60 years. That does not mean that you add injury to insult to injury by taking the property away from the victims of this neglect-and then turn it over to friends of the mayor without any real charge.
And what about the promise to relocate the businesses? Thousands of workers and minority entrepreneurs sent packing to the four winds. Can you say anti-immigrant income inequality better than this?
Crain’s goes on the bloviate about the great new neighborhood that it supposes will be created:
“The proposed mixed-use, $3 billion project, which requires at least two phases and will be carried out over several administrations, promises not only to clean up and modernize the polluted site, but also to deliver a new neighborhood in northeast Queens. It's as ambitious as it is complicated, given the high cost of the remediation and of ultimately making 35% of the housing units affordable to satisfy the community.”
The fact is that the remediation-contrary to original assertions from the Deputy Mayor at the time-will be paid for by the tax payers, But Crain’s needs to throw off its wet suit and dive completely into the deception tank with the following howler:
“Various changes to the plan, portrayed by opponents as evidence of a devious plot, were in fact necessary adjustments to make the project economically viable. For example, the mall and parking lot—slated not for green parkland but for what is already a parking lot—will generate revenue to fund decontamination of the land. The residential component was pushed back because housing wouldn't sell in a wasteland.”
No mention of the fact that the developers can buy their way out of the deal, or the fact that there was no mention of any mall in the original approval. We can say without equivocation that there will never be housing at Willets Point if this current development is allowed to stand in the next administration. It is, and will always remain, a mall and a parking lot to aggrandize the bottom line of the billionaires that Crain’s ass kisses for every single day.