Willets Point United:
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Councilmember Francisco Moya are the co-chairs of the “Willets Point Task Force,” a cherry-picked group that is supposed to recommend potential uses for Willets Point land. The Task Force will hold its third closed-door meeting this Wednesday, August 22.
Katz and Moya are denying Willets Point United and all current Willets Point property or business owners the opportunity to attend any meeting of the Task Force – despite Queens Community Board 7’s recommendation that Katz and Moya consider allowing a Willets Point representative to attend. Even worse, Councilmember Moya’s office directly lied to us by telephone last Thursday, stating that no August meeting of the Task Force has been scheduled – when Queens Community Board 7 knew that the meeting is set for August 22.
Katz and Moya are shutting out not only Willets Point United, but also the press. We are aware that Borough Hall has rejected several reporters’ requests to observe Task Force meetings, and has been unwilling to provide even basic information regarding what land use options the Task Force is considering, or how it operates.
Per information furnished to Queens Community Board 7, the scheduled topic of the August 22 Task Force meeting is to “develop preliminary recommendations,” prior to the final September meeting which will “review final recommendations” to be sent to Mayor de Blasio.
In our view, Katz, Moya and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) are leading the Task Force to an outcome predetermined by them – and they are using public-sector Task Force members solely to create an illusion of community buy-in, not to solicit or seriously consider any creative Willets Point development ideas they may have. Given that Willets Point United has a wealth of knowledge about all that has happened with the proposed Willets Point development during the past ten years (and beyond), had we been allowed to participate on the Task Force we would have encouraged thorough consideration of all relevant issues and potential recommendations – not just the ones prioritized by Katz, Moya and NYCEDC. We believe it is for that reason, that Katz and Moya are deliberately excluding us (and in the case of Moya’s office, even lying to us).
While Katz and Moya are shutting us out of their meetings, they cannot stop us from informing Task Force members, via this writing, of issues we consider important, and recommendations we believe the Task Force should make to Mayor de Blasio regarding Willets Point. We hope that the more open-minded members of the Task Force (if any) will raise these issues during the Wednesday meeting as “preliminary recommendations” are formulated.
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