Dear Editor (Queens Chronicle):
The displacement of 225 viable businesses employing about 1,300 persons in Willets Point, that will undoubtedly involve hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars and tax perks for wealthy real estate developers, is a matter of grave concern deserving of the utmost scrutiny and full and open disclosures. Back room political shenanigans and ambiguities have no place in the proposal and do not serve the public interest.
One need not speculate that Mayor Bloomberg and members of the city’s Economic Development Corp. the proponents of the proposal, would not buy a suit of clothes without first trying it on; purchase an automobile without being apprised of all of its features; invest in a business without the knowledge of its every single aspect.
Yet, when it comes to Willets Point, they have the arrogance to push for a ULURP and zoning change with the public kept in the dark about anything but the barest details. The notion that 300 skilled people at Willets Point, a pittance of the total, will be retrained for other jobs without specifying what kind of jobs and where they are, is an example of the snake oil being pedaled by the proponents. Equally offensive is the claim the 225 businesses will be relocated. Where? There is little empty space left in this city and what is left is reserved for the fat cat developers.
City Council members John Liu, Hiram Monserrate and Tony Avella have every right to drop support for the proposal and should be congratulated for breathing fresh air in what may well be a public rip-off on a grand scale.
Photo from Outer B