Friday, February 26, 2021

Richard Carranza is done ruining city schools 


The leader of New York City's school system will step down amid the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing struggles to achieve equity in classrooms.

Chancellor Richard Carranza announced his resignation Friday after three years. He sat alongside Mayor Bill de Blasio and ticked off accomplishments in dismantling structures and policies of entrenched racism in the school system.

"I'm proud of what we've accomplished over the last three years," Carranza said.

Carranza cited the need to grieve many close to him who died during the coronavirus pandemic as his reason to leave.

"Make no mistake - I am a New Yorker, not by birth but by choice," he said, becoming visibly emotional. "A New Yorker who has lost 11 family members and close childhood friends to this pandemic. A New Yorker who needs to take time to grieve."

Meisha Ross Porter, a Bronx native who now leads its schools, will succeed Carranza. She will be the first Black woman to lead the city's school system — the largest in the country.

"An African American woman will take the helm of the nation's greatest public school system," de Blasio said.

Porter has a long career within the city's schools. She said she'll never forget her own experience in classrooms and as a principal.

"I'm ready to hit the ground running and leave New York City schools to full recovery," she said.

The New York Times first reported Carranza's resignation and highlighted growing tensions between him and de Blasio over integrating schools.

Carranza and de Blasio during their appearance together lavished warm praise on each other. But when asked point blank about reported differences over selective admissions programs and gifted and talented, Carranza largely sidestepped the question.

Instead, Carranza highlighted de Blasio's broad commitment to achieving equity in schools starting with the mayor's push for universal 3-K and pre-K.

Citifield vac site infrastructure is a joke


Queens Eagle

Azaz Ahsan and his dad got to Citi Field at 10 p.m. Wednesday for their scheduled COVID vaccine appointment an hour later. By the time they left, it was nearly 3 a.m. Thursday.

After a three-hour wait in the cold, Ahsan, 28, said he and his 65-year-old father entered the warm stadium just before 1 a.m. About 150 people were waiting on line in front of them, while hundreds more queued up in the cold outside the stadium gates, he said.

“Not opening up more of the stadium so the line can be inside is a disgrace,” Azaz said around midnight. 

Joanne Kostopoulos, a 48-year-old teacher from Oakland Gardens, said she decided to leave after waiting close to two hours past her scheduled 9:45 p.m. appointment. She had to be up in the morning to teach class and was told the wait would take at least two more hours, she said.

“[I] decided to leave because I wasn’t prepared to stand in the cold,” Kostopoulos said. “When I found out that I had to wait for one or two more hours before I made it inside I knew I had to leave because between work in the morning and the cold it just wouldn’t be feasible.”

Hundreds of Queens residents spent hours Wednesday night and well into Thursday morning waiting for their scheduled appointments at the 24-hour Citi Field vaccine site. Similar lines formed at another vaccine hub in the Bathgate section of the Bronx.

Once inside, the Citi Field vaccine recipients encountered an understaffed clinic with too few medical workers administering shots, six people told the Eagle. Several others posted photos and accounts on Twitter and Facebook. 

Ahsan said that of the 50 vaccine desks inside, “maybe 15 had nurses at them.” Vaccine recipients also had to fill out the same form twice even if they pre-registered online, he said.

Kambri Crews, who owns Q.E.D. in Astoria, said she waited from about 7:20 p.m. until receiving her shot at midnight. She had an appointment for 8 p.m.

“The nurse who gave me my shot said they didn’t have enough nurses,” she said. “The doctor across from her said he had been there since 7:30 a.m.”

Steven Baker, a 32-year-old human resources professional, shared photos from inside the Citi Field clinic.

“Empty registration and vaccine administration pods,” Baker said. “They're not fully staffed up.”

 Ahsan, Baker, Crews and others interviewed by the Eagle said staff were professional and as helpful as possible, but under strain from the volume of patients. 

They said workers from the city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation told them the delays were due to a surge in rescheduled appointments without the necessary staff increase. Baker said his appointment was postponed due to a supply shortage last week and rescheduled for Wednesday. 


Caption Cojo




I'll start...


It's Friday and Cojo has seen the light. Go ahead and caption this photo.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Governor Cuomo got screwed by a sex toy company he contracted to make ventilators


NY Post

 Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration got swindled trying to buy millions of dollars of Chinese medical gear amid the coronavirus crisis — and has been forced to hire a law firm in Hong Kong in a bid to recoup the taxpayer money it lost, The Post has learned.

The state Department of Health signed a $125,000 contract with the overseas lawyers, Gall Solicitors late last year, according to records posted online by the state Comptroller’s Office.

The one-year pact was exempted from a “pre-audit” by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli under pandemic-related emergency powers Cuomo granted himself on March 7 — and which some lawmakers now want to revoke due to the spiraling controversy over New York’s nursing home deaths.

Earlier this month, The Post exclusively revealed that a top aide privately admitted Cuomo’s administration hid the number of resident deaths in hospitals from lawmakers and the public due to fear that federal prosecutors would use it “against us.” That has sparked calls for Cuomo to be impeached and also a reported federal Justice Department probe.

Officials declined to provide The Post with a copy of the legal retainer contract or details of the underlying dispute.

But a Cuomo spokesman acknowledged that the DOH hired Gall on Dec. 24 “to help us pursue recovery of state funds there, related to procurement.”

“The contract was just approved and papers will be filed soon, and we’ll reserve further comment until then,” spokesman Rich Azzopardi said.

The DOH previously hired the white-shoe law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom to vet its purchases of coronavirus-related medical equipment and supplies.

That agreement was struck on March 1 and could cost taxpayers as much as $1.25 million, according to the comptroller’s website.

“Skadden was retained to provide much-needed expertise to ensure that the lifesaving equipment the State procured met ‎FDA requirements before the equipment was distributed to hospitals,” DOH spokesman Gary Holmes said.

The state rushed into more than $1 billion worth of deals for medical supplies and equipment last year — only to later seek partial refunds amounting to about one-third of the total, the New York Times reported in mid-December, shortly before the DOH hired Gall.

The money at issue included a $12.5 million deposit for 1,000 ventilators from Please Me LLC, a company that had never before sold the high-tech devices but whose product line included sex toys, children’s books and other items, The Times said.

Governing with their dicks



"Let's play strip poker"

I should have been shocked by the Governor’s crude comment, but I wasn’t.

We were flying home from an October 2017 event in Western New York on his taxpayer-funded jet. He was seated facing me, so close our knees almost touched. His press aide was to my right and a state trooper behind us.

“That’s exactly what I was thinking,” I responded sarcastically and awkwardly. I tried to play it cool. But in that moment, I realized just how acquiescent I had become.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has created a culture within his administration where sexual harassment and bullying is so pervasive that it is not only condoned but expected. His inappropriate behavior toward women was an affirmation that he liked you, that you must be doing something right. He used intimidation to silence his critics. And if you dared to speak up, you would face consequences.

That’s why I panicked on the morning of December 13.

While enjoying a weekend with my husband and six-year-old daughter, I spontaneously decided to share a small part of the truth I had hidden for so long in shame and never planned to disclose. The night before, a former Cuomo staffer confided to me that she, too, had been the subject of the Governor’s workplace harassment. Her story mirrored my own. Seeing his name floated as a potential candidate for U.S. Attorney General — the highest law enforcement official in the land — set me off.

In a few tweets, I told the world what a few close friends, family members and my therapist had known for years: Andrew Cuomo abused his power as Governor to sexually harass me, just as he had done with so many other women.

As messages from journalists buzzed on my phone, I laid in bed unable to move. I finally had decided to speak up, but at what cost?

Parts of a supposed confidential personnel file (which I’ve never seen) were leaked to the media in an effort to smear me. The Governor’s loyalists called around town, asking about me.

Last week, Assemblymember Ron Kim spoke out publicly about the intimidation and abuse he has faced from Governor Cuomo and his aides. As Mayor de Blasio remarked, “the bullying is nothing new.” There are many more of us, but most are too afraid to speak up.

I’m compelled to tell my story because no woman should feel forced to hide their experiences of workplace intimidation, harassment and humiliation — not by the Governor or anyone else.

I expect the Governor and his top aides will attempt to further disparage me, just as they’ve done with Assemblymember Kim. They’d lose their jobs if they didn’t protect him. That’s how his administration works. I know because I was a part of it.

I joined state government in 2015 as a Vice President at Empire State Development. I was quickly promoted to Chief of Staff at the state economic development agency. The news of my appointment prompted a warning from a friend who served as an executive with an influential civic engagement organization: “Be careful around the Governor.”

My first encounter with the Governor came at a January 6, 2016, event at Madison Square Garden to promote the new Pennsylvania Station-Farley Complex project. After his speech, he stopped to talk to me. I was new on the job and surprised by how much attention he paid me.

My boss soon informed me that the Governor had a “crush” on me. It was an uncomfortable but all-too-familiar feeling: the struggle to be taken seriously by a powerful man who tied my worth to my body and my appearance.

Stephanie Benton, Director of the Governor’s Offices, told me in an email on December 14, 2016 that the Governor suggested I look up images of Lisa Shields — his rumored former girlfriend — because “we could be sisters” and I was “the better looking sister.” The Governor began calling me “Lisa” in front of colleagues. It was degrading.

The Governor’s staff was directed to tell me I looked like his rumored former girlfriend.

I had complained to friends that the Governor would go out of his way to touch me on my lower back, arms and legs. His senior staff began keeping tabs on my whereabouts. “He is a sexist pig and you should avoid being alone with him!” my mother texted me on November 4, 2016.

The Governor’s senior staff member emailed my supervisor about my whereabouts.

I shared my concern with my mother at the time.

The Governor’s behavior made me nervous, but I didn’t truly fear him until December 2016. Senior State employees gathered at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany to celebrate the holidays and our year’s work. After his remarks, the Governor spotted me in a room filled with hundreds of people waiting to shake his hand. As he began to approach me, I excused myself from coworkers and moved upstairs to a more distant area of the party.

Minutes later, I received a call from an unlisted number. It was the Governor’s body person. He told me to come to the Capitol because the Governor wanted to see me.

I made my way through the underground connection that linked the Plaza to the Capitol. As the black wrought-iron elevator took me to the second floor, I called my husband. I told him I was afraid of what might happen. That was unlike me. I was never afraid.

I exited the elevator to see the body person waiting for me. He walked me down the Hall of Governors. “Are there cameras here?” I asked him. I remembered my mother’s text warning the month before. I worried that I would be left alone with the Governor. I didn’t know why I was there. Or how it would end.

I was escorted into the Governor’s office, past the desks of administrative assistants and into a room with a large table and historical artifacts. The door closed behind me. It was my first time in his Albany office. The Governor entered the room from another door. We were alone.

As he showed me around, I tried to maintain my distance. He paused at one point and smirked as he showed off a cigar box. He told me that President Clinton had given it to him while he served as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The two-decade old reference to President Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky was not lost on me.

The Governor must have sensed my fear because he finally let me out of the office. I tried to rationalize this incident in my head. At least he didn’t touch me. That made me feel safer.

His inappropriate gestures became more frequent. He gave roses to female staffers on Valentine’s Day and arranged to have one delivered to me, the only one on my floor. A signed photograph of the Governor appeared in my closed-door office while I was out. These were not-so-subtle reminders of the Governor exploiting the power dynamic with the women around him.

In 2018, I was promoted to Deputy Secretary for Economic Development and Special Advisor to the Governor. I initially turned the job down — not because I didn’t want the responsibility or work but because I didn’t want to be near him. I finally accepted the position at the Governor’s insistence with one requirement — I would keep my old agency office and remain on a separate floor from him and his inner circle.

The Governor’s pervasive harassment extended beyond just me. He made unflattering comments about the weight of female colleagues. He ridiculed them about their romantic relationships and significant others. He said the reasons that men get women were “money and power.”

I tried to excuse his behavior. I told myself “it’s only words.” But that changed after a one-on-one briefing with the Governor to update him on economic and infrastructure projects. We were in his New York City office on Third Avenue. As I got up to leave and walk toward an open door, he stepped in front of me and kissed me on the lips. I was in shock, but I kept walking.

I left past the desk of Stephanie Benton. I was scared she had seen the kiss. The idea that someone might think I held my high-ranking position because of the Governor’s “crush” on me was more demeaning than the kiss itself.

After that, my fears worsened. I came to work nauseous every day. My relationship with his senior team — mostly women — grew hostile after I started speaking up for myself. I was reprimanded and told to get in line by his top aides, but I could no longer ignore it.

On September 26, 2018, I sent a mass email informing staff members of my resignation.

NY Daily News 

 Mayor de Blasio, for whom I also worked and knew for 25 years, both at HUD and as New York City mayor, practices a different brand of penis politics. His charming, easygoing personality he had when we worked together in the federal government gave way to a hectoring, inflexible approach that bordered on sanctimony when I was his press secretary at City Hall.

His signature move as mayor was to dig in on an untenable position against the advice of staff, raising the cost of an inevitable defeat. Discussions with staff were marked by condescension, leaving the female staffers feeling especially marginalized. It made for an uncomfortable work environment.

Although the mayor preached a philosophy of egalitarianism, the workplace was pretty much like any other male-dominated environment I’ve been in: Women were interrupted more often and listened to less, whether they were a commissioner or a scheduler. By the end of his first term, the mayor had lost twice as many senior officials who were women than men.

While they had different styles, both Cuomo and de Blasio had one thing in common. Like many powerful men in politics, they create a public image as champions of women’s rights and equality. Behind closed doors, they use gender domination as one means to assert their power over women.

My experience with penis politics wasn’t only in the political arena. I saw it on the basketball court in my Mississippi high school, when I got benched for running better plays than the ones my coach, a man, wanted. I’d seen it as a young journalist, when my male editor refused to run a controversial story that I had well-sourced after the Jackson, Miss., mayor called to complain. I’d seen it in working in Congress, where men tended to get the chief of staff title and women often played receptionist, taking the incoming phone calls placed by angry constituents.

Silence and penis politics often go hand in hand. In 1998 at HUD, I spoke up about a clumsy pick-up attempt Bill Clinton made on me when I was a 26-year-old campaign operative and he was governor of Arkansas. It cost me a Senate-confirmed appointment when Cuomo quietly had the White House pull my nomination. It was penis politics again in 2015, when Cuomo and his “sources” threw bombs at me (and for a while, I threw them back) and then again when de Blasio made it impossible for me to do my job by invalidating what I said to the press on his behalf.

The men who often rule the roost in politics routinely go out of their way to assert their dominance over other men. Over women, doing so is second nature.

Impunity City 

When The Blaz was queried about this article that detailed his duplicitous manner towards and passive aggressive undermining of most of his top female staffers, he reverted to his proclivity for identity politricks by validating his recognition and support of women in his administration and their impact on the city’s policies by citing his tax-boondoggle wife:

“I have not seen the piece, I’ll only talk about the history of this administration, um, from the beginning, literally from the very beginning, the leadership of this administration has been majority, woman and continues to be. My number one advisor, confidante, partner in everything everyone knows is Chirlane. My longest serving aide and person I have depended on and worked so closely with now for over a decade or more, Emma Wolfe. And four out of six deputy mayors are women and throughout this history of this administration, it’s been a female led administration in so many ways and I have tremendous respect for the folks who have been a part of this team”

For the Blaz, the women he appointed to work with and under him in the high echelons in his cabinet are just woke window dressing,  while women working for Cuomo have to develop a tolerance for misogynistic put-downs, creepy flirtations and sneaky kisses. Both of which prove that these two ghouls are truly equals not only in incompetent and unaccountable leadership but also continuing the historic and cultural establishment undermining and objectifying of women in the workplace and should be abolished from running any executive position in government or the private sector.


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Alpha-male Brad Lander loses his shit during Planning Together hearing

Brad Lander's toxic masculinity was on full display at the Planning Together City Council hearing yesterday as he ranted and raved and laced into City Planning Director Marisa Lago for tesifying against the bill and giving answers to questions that he didn't like.

You will notice that he uses imagery of "the frog in the boiling pot" 8 times and mentions the "toxic land use process" 5 times. This is very well rehearsed phony outrage.

"All that charter revision did was a 30-day email in advance of a planning process..."
As compared to the City Council not notifying anyone prior to the hearing you are participating in?

"There's no way that communities are going to show up with their hands raised and say 'We'd like to do our fair share, let's engage in planning.'"
That's exactly what was done during the Bloomberg years using the current rezoning process - until Bill de Blasio imposed his will and cut the community out of the picture.

"If you're just going to sit here and criticize this proposal..."
Well yeah, it's YOUR legislation that the hearing is about, so everyone is going to testify about its merits.

"I don't get to ask anymore questions, but you can still go ahead and continue."
Then as she is answering, he interrupts and asks more questions.

So we have an overbearing white guy who wants to be Comptroller berating a very polite and professional and distinguished senior Hispanic female. Bad optics, Brad. And here we thought people from the Midwest were respectful. How about instead of running for Comptroller, you go back to St. Louis and mess with their land use?

Lander is so heated and stupid he doesn't even (or refuses to) see the irony while he repeatedly talks about toxic land use process when the zoning he's so desperate to get for his real estate overlords is the superfund site in Gowanus.-JQ LLC

Governor Cuomo debuts vac center at York College, deflects blame for his policy decisions that caused 15,000 deaths

 This opening was done at 7:30 a.m. and was closed to the press. Pretty slick Andy.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Just a thought following City Council's "Planning Together" shitshow...

Watch Planning Together hearing right here

Popcorn, please!

Eric Adams, candidate for mayor, is pushing to qualify immigrants for the right to vote in city elections


NY Daily News


Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and several lawmakers are pushing the City Council to revisit a bill that would give noncitizen immigrants who legally reside in the Big Apple the right to vote in city elections — possibly in time for this year’s mayoral contest.

The current iteration of the Council legislation seeks to revise the City Charter to permit voting by those it describes as “municipal voters,” a designation that would include immigrants with lawful permanent residency or work authorization who’ve been living in the city for 30 days or longer.

 We cannot be a beacon to the world and continue to attract the global talent, energy and entrepreneurship that has allowed our city to thrive for centuries if we do not give immigrants a vote in how this city is run and what our priorities are for the future,” Adams said. “Especially now during COVID, as immigrant communities face inequities that have led to unequal death and devastation in their communities, it is our moral and democratic responsibility to enfranchise taxpaying, hardworking legal immigrants and give them the voice they deserve.”

Adams, who is running for mayor, and City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, the bill’s sponsor, are planning to make their renewed push for the bill’s passage public Tuesday. Adams is calling on his opponents in the mayoral race to join him in supporting the proposal.

De Blasio opposed to ridiculously expensive Planning Together

From the Daily News: The de Blasio administration is opposing a City Council proposal to simplify the process for future development, saying legislation from Council Speaker Corey Johnson would be way too expensive. The bill...would cost the city about half a billion dollars per decade, the administration estimates — and that at a time of shrinking tax revenues due to the coronavirus outbreak. In the administration’s reading of the bill, every community district in the city would have to undergo assessments of three different development scenarios every 10 years. With an average “environmental impact assessment” costing $2.5 million to carry out, and the city having 59 community districts, that comes to about $450 million per decade, according to the administration. It also estimates the cost of staffing the undertaking would add another $50 million, not counting costs to the Office of Management and Budget. De Blasio officials including Planning Commissioner Marissa Lago are expected to testify against Johnson’s bill on Wednesday.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Mayor de Blasio defers his responsibilty for the city's recovery to a made up czar




Astoria native Lorraine Grillo has been appointed as the city’s “Recovery Czar,” tasked with leading the COVID-19 rebuilding efforts across the five boroughs. In the newly created post, Grillo will lead the recovery war room at City Hall, where she will coordinate government agencies, nonprofits and the private sector.

“New York City was hit with an unprecedented health care and economic crisis,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “Together, we’re taking unprecedented steps to drive a recovery for all of us. As New York City’s first-ever Recovery Czar, Lorraine will cut through bureaucracy, coordinate across all agencies, and reach out to nonprofit and private partners to make sure our recovery is felt in every borough, every neighborhood and every block.”

Grillo will transition from her roles as Commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction and CEO of the city’s School Construction Authority where she has served since 1994.

“I build things. That’s what I do. And together, we are going to build a recovery that lifts up every New Yorker,” Grillo said. “Every job I’ve had serving the people of New York City, from responding to Hurricane Sandy to expanding universal pre-K, has required an intense coordination across different agencies, companies and nonprofits. That’s the same aggressive approach I’m going to take to lead a recovery for us all.”


Queens machine anointing candidates for judge seats, including Paul Vallone


Queens Eagle

Term-limited Councilmember Paul Vallone will be among four candidates nominated for judgeships by the Queens County Democratic Party Tuesday morning, according to five people familiar with party decision-making.

Democratic district leaders and other members of the organization will meet virtually to make the endorsements at 10 a.m. The party’s choreographed endorsement events typically serve to rubber-stamp candidates chosen by party chiefs.

If elected in November, Vallone, a councilmember in Northeast Queens, would follow his brother Peter Vallone Jr. from City Hall to the Queens bench. Peter Vallone Jr. became a justice in Queens Criminal Supreme Court, where he handles child abuse cases, in 2016 after representing Astoria for 11 years in the council.

The Vallones have been prominent members of the Queens Democratic organization for decades. Their father Peter Vallone Sr. served as city council speaker and now runs a lobbying firm. Their grandfather Charles Vallone was a long-time judge in Queens.

Paul Vallone did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

He was previously rated as qualified for a judgeship by an independent agency in 2012 but decided to run for the council rather than seek a judicial nomination at the time. 

24 hours till City Council committee hearing on Planning Together and 9 reasons why to kill it


The Village Sun

 In 1961, Jane Jacobs, author of “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” called city planning “a pseudo-science” that had “arisen on a foundation of nonsense.”

Jacobs argued for an end to gigantic plans that relied on “catastrophic money” and “centralized processes” and “standardized solutions.” All that, she argued, just created “dead places” —  like today’s Hudson Yards.

More recently, Sam Stein, in his book “Capital City: Gentrification and the Real Estate State,” chastised planners for serving the interest of Big Real Estate rather than the public good.

It is true that for all their talk of serving the public good, planners do appear to dislike citizens. For one, they are trained to think of citizens as generic NIMBYs standing in the way of their ideas. Moreover, as a profession, they tend to overly admire Robert Moses, the man who imposed his will on New York City in a way that was top-down, cruel and racist — not to mention plain destructive.

Moses’ defenders always respond, “At least he got something done,” and argue for more central planning power, skirting the issue of whether better plans might have been made in another way.

These issues have returned anew with the announcement of a proposed planning law that City Council Speaker Corey Johnson is promoting. The law is a very bad one. Citizens should definitely object to it, and stop this law before the city puts a new Robert Moses into power.

The purpose of the law is, to quote from it: “to prioritize population growth, where applicable, in areas that have high access to opportunity and low risk for displacement.”

“High opportunity,” “amenity rich” and “well-resourced” are code words among planners for overdeveloped neighborhoods in the historic core of the city —  Manhattan south of 125th St., Downtown Brooklyn, Brownstone Brooklyn around Prospect Park and the East River. (See Vicki Been’s report “Where We Live.”)

These are high-density, overdeveloped, often historic places with lots of subways, good schools, good parks, good grocery stores and short commutes to Midtown and the Financial District.

Oddly, these areas are also places where Big Real Estate profits are highest and where most of the new development since 2010 has already been built. Why then is the planning law so laser-focussed on driving growth to the already denser parts of the city, before the planning is even conducted? Why does a new all-powerful Director get to assign housing targets based on this high-opportunity theory? The law has planning exactly backwards.

We are supposed to use planning to figure out and debate where to put people (a.k.a. “density”) and infrastructure, not to do end runs around communities and drive new density to predetermined areas of the city!

Here are nine things wrong with the proposed “comprehensive planning” law:

1.) It fails to address the elephant in the room: the revolving door between Big Real Estate and government, thus undermining the legitimacy of the process. Big Real Estate has already captured many of the land-use regulatory agencies of the city; it thus imposes its vision upon us through its people who run the Department of City Planning, the Economic Development Corporation and the Board of Standards and Appeals. See, for example, my op-ed “Fox Guarding the Henhouse at City Planning.”

2.) The proposed law presupposes that the only way to deal with high housing prices is to obsessively build hyper-dense (and tall) near transit, which is what we have already been doing, based on a discredited trickle-down housing-supply theory. It’s a planning approach arising from a bad theory.

3.) It presupposes that the only way to deal with displacement risk is to build like crazy when, in fact, displacement risk needs to be managed in the first instance through legislation. Universal rent stabilization and the Good Cause Eviction Act would largely solve most of the displacement problem. Incremental building of more public-social housing units at the low end of the market would deal with the rest.

4.) It imposes Soviet-style housing targets on “low risk for displacement” neighborhoods, without having had binding public policy discussion about the upper limits or lower bounds of density. What kind of city do we want and how should we spread the benefits and burdens of density? The law presupposes that density can be infinite.

5.) The legislation presumes the scientific legitimacy of a dubious “index of displacement risk” that gets coded into law. This is just not credible. Such indices are built on a host of assumptions and not valid. Displacement risk is a political phenomenon as much as a market one.

6.) Also, the planning law ignores key questions for public debate. For example, when are we too dense to have a livable city? When are we not dense enough? How should density be distributed? Should it be distributed more evenly, like peanut butter on a slice of bread, or all piled up in the historic core? And who should decide these questions, the Director or the citizens of the city? All this is simply ignored, even though these questions are the very heart of planning!

7.) At no point can neighborhoods, residents, taxpayers and citizens vote on any plans at any time. There is no voting, no referenda, no democracy. In other words, the proposed law is profoundly anti-democratic.

8.) Under the proposed law, the housing targets for each neighborhood rely on a bad theory that Big Real Estate loves: New population growth should be targeted to existing “high-opportunity” areas. That’s an invitation for selective overdevelopment, leaving the historic parts of our city vulnerable to more demolition while ignoring the investment needs of currently “low opportunity” neighborhoods.

There is also this troubling fact: Residents of low-amenity neighborhoods have clearly said they don’t want to move. (See the city report “Where We Live.”) They want their existing neighborhoods to have amenities every bit as good as the neighborhoods in the core. They just don’t want to be gentrified out — or, rather, displaced.

9.) The law strengthens an already king-like mayor and recreates a too-powerful Robert Moses figure in the form of “The Director.” Citizens would not be able to reject this person.

 Procedurally, here’s how the planning system would work: The mayor would appoint a Robert Moses-like figure called “The Director.” The Director would produce research reports on a lot of topics, all required by the new law — which is O.K. Trouble arises when the Director is told by law to create housing targets (Soviet-style) for how much new housing each neighborhood (in high-opportunity/low-displacement areas) must produce.

The Director would create three scenarios for each neighborhood to accommodate their assigned housing targets. The City Council would pick one of the scenarios. If they said, “None of the above,” the Director would then pick a scenario for them. The scenarios would get bundled into a “comprehensive” 10-year plan for the entire city, approved by the City Council to become law.

Developers would have to convince the Director that a new development was consistent with the plan. If it was, they could avoid public review, citizen outcry or deference to the local councilmember for the particular project. A few public hearings are built into the process, but they are just advisory white noise, like they are today. Citizens and taxpayers never get to vote on the plan.

While this procedure sounds plausible for things like roads, schools, transit, parks, trash disposal, libraries, sewage treatment and tunnels, this plan is not really about those things. It’s really about requiring each neighborhood to fill those assigned housing targets.

The law creates new committees to work with the Director, with trivial, advisory roles. For example, the mayor, borough presidents and the City Council would appoint a 13-member “long-term planning steering committee” made up of demographically diverse “experts.” Their role would be to give advice to the Director — who could ignore it. The steering committee would also appoint five borough committees, which would provide borough-specific feedback at various points in the planning process. Their advice would also just be white noise. Community boards would do nothing different than what they do now.

  You can sign up to testify in person or submit written testimony here.