Monday, April 26, 2010
Giant Flushing land grab in the works
From Willets Point United:
The Flushing Willets Point Corona Local Development Corporation recently solicited questions from the public via its web site, concerning the LDC's pending Request for Proposals in connection with a state grant which the LDC claims to have received via the Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program. The work to be performed using the grant funds is a step toward "area-wide" and "large scale" development of 60 acres of privately-owned downtown Flushing property which the LDC is anxious to achieve, regardless of its injurious effects on surrounding neighborhoods and roadways.
Given the far-reaching implications of such a project, the LDC's dubious track record (which includes a record financial penalty of $59,090.00 levied by the Office of the City Clerk due to the LDC's unlawful lobbying activities), and the involvement of taxpayers funds, Willets Point United Inc. thought it appropriate to submit 5 questions to the LDC.
The LDC has since posted 8 questions and the LDC's answers, at the LDC's web site (http://www.queensalive.org/csnm/templates/?a=62&z=11). However, the LDC has omitted all of the questions posed by Willets Point United Inc., the answers to which would be of great interest to New York City residents, as well as New York State taxpayers whose funds are reportedly being given away to the LDC as a grant award.
When you read the questions, you'll understand why Grandma doesn't want to answer them.
Here they are, summarized (See Willets Point United for full-length questions):
1) To accomplish your long-term objectives for the proposed BOA area, is there any possibility that property within the proposed BOA area may eventually be acquired via eminent domain?
2) Has any scientific testing been conducted, to determine whether or not each of those 25 sites meets the definition of brownfield?
3) As your group is located in Flushing and pertains to Flushing, Willets Point and Corona, does it have twenty-five percent or more of its board of directors residing in those areas (as required under this program)?
4) How exactly has your group demonstrated "financial need," which is a prerequisite to receive a BOA grant award of scarce taxpayer funds?
5) Given that the consequences of your past lobbying may include the revocation of the group's status as a not-for-profit tax exempt corporation, the outright dissolution of the group, and other sanctions, what assurance do RFP respondents have that your group will be able to carry out the proposed BOA program?
And then there's this from Claire's website:
Administered by New York’s Department of State, the BOA program enables municipalities and community based organizations to plan for the redevelopment of blighted and dormant land. The program emphasizes planning that is area-wide and that incorporates both environmental and economic considerations.
Last time I checked, the Flushing waterfront was full of industrial activity and not dormant.
Call me a conspiracy theorist, but it looks like the City is about to undertake wholesale condemnation of the Flushing waterfront, in order to enrich Claire and her developer friends. This smells worse than the Flushing Creek at low tide. Let's not forget that TDC just happens to own a parcel of land along the creek where a pedestrian bridge to the new and improved Willets Point has been proposed. I had wondered why the hell Claire would push for a bridge that landed pedestrians in the midst of a gritty industrial area. With this revelation it seems that won't be a concern.
To recap, here are the megadeveloper-driven eminent domain projects under Mayor Bloomberg's reign:
Atlantic Yards...Willets Point...Manhattanville...
ATTORNEY GENERAL ANDREW CUOMO, WHERE ARE YOU?
WHERE IS THE NEW YORK MEDIA WHILE THIS IS GOING ON RIGHT UNDER THEIR NOSES????