In its mishandling of Willets Point, the city Economic Development Corp. has qualified for the Chutzpah Award of the Year.
Notwithstanding the lack of sewers in Willets Point, the city not only ignored repeated requests from property owners for many years to install sewers, but collected sewer rent for the non-existent sewers.
It made a mockery of the understanding that eminent domain was to be used for public purposes and not to subsidize fat-cat real estate developers.
It willfully allowed the area to fall into structural disrepair and then mislabeled it as substandard. Now comes the pinnacle of absurdity in that the EDC has awarded the sewer contract to a New Jersey-based company (“Avella, biz group slam EDC,” Flushing Times, Dec. 1-7).
EDC’s claim it could not lawfully discriminate based upon geography is feeble since it could have waited for legislation permitting the jobs to remain in New York. So much for creating jobs for New Yorkers, whose taxes will subsidize the mayor’s well-connected real estate friends, who will surely be awarded the development contract.
By no stretch of the imagination can the proposed Willets Point development in its concept, planning and implementation qualify as democracy in action. Machine politics would fit the bill.
The time has come to remove the EDC’s jurisdiction from the mayor and make it accountable to the City Council.
Benjamin M. Haber
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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