Monday, September 8, 2008

Endorsements for Paul Newell for 64th Assembly District Seat

Noticing New York is pleased to note that, as of September 7th, all three New York City major papers have endorsed Paul Newell to replace Sheldon Silver: the New York Daily News, the NY Times and the New York Post. (Today’s New York Sun bridled at what it referred to as the three biggest newspapers in the state getting together and all endorse Silver’s opponent, concerned about the relative `liberalism’ of the candidates. Three Editors in a Room: Editorial of The New York Sun)

Here are links to the endorsements:

The New York Times endorsement: Endorsements for a Better Albany, August 22, 2008

The New York Daily News endorsement: Dump Sheldon Silver, Sunday, September 7th 2008

The New York Post News endorsement: Newell for Assembly, August 24, 2008

I was pleased to provide a Noticing New York introduction for Mr. Newell at his July 3, 2008. press conference about Forest City Ratner’s blackmail of Manhattan’s Community Board 1 to get increased subsidies for the luxury Beekman Tower which has been specially financed with tax-exempt Liberty Bonds. The Forest City Ratner threat was that it would not build a school the community needed if it didn't get an increase of subsides for the luxury project. This threat was possible because FCR’s provision of the school had been tangled into the special arrangements for the Beekman’s financing. In retrospect the jeopardy associated with permitting such tangles is clear.

Forest City Ratner’s blackmail was excellently covered by Julie Shapiro’s article in the Downtown Express (C.B. 1 approves Ratner’s tax break just by saying no)
and Atlantic Yards Report (Wednesday, July 02, 2008, Does Beekman “blackmail” presage AY subsidy push?)

I have made the point before that Forest City Ratner is less a developer than a subsidy collector. The takeaway from the Beekman blackmail story, a takeaway also amply evident in the Forest City Ratner machinations respecting Atlantic Yards, should be that awarding a project to a developer on a monopoly basis and then deciding afterward what the project is and what the subsidy is is bass-ackwards. Only politicians who are completely careless or worse would do so. Don't put a developer in the driver's seat expecting him to be on your side. (Ratner is never going to be on the public's side.)

This is the point Mr. Newell made about Sheldon Silver at his press conference concerning the Beekman. Mr. Newell’s press conference reminded the public that Forest City Ratner is a developer that Shelly Silver has specially favored while taking money from Ratner. The special favoring has gotten way ahead of any controls that might ensure public benefit from the developer in exchange.

In connection with introducing Mr. Newell, I noted that I am technically NOT a resident of the 64th Assembly District, but, in essence, I am from a practical standpoint. In Brooklyn our lives have been sorely affected because Shelly Silver has been willing to give Bruce Ratner a monopoly on 22 acres of Brooklyn- For 60% of that project eminent domain is an operative feature being used to abusively take private property for the purpose of creating developer windfall. Silver has been unwilling to account to the public on this and he is unwilling to back off from his mistakes. Conversely, the Atlantic Yards megadevelopment is a burden to all of the city. Atlantic Yards, as a developer-initiated and developer-driven project, has been designed to sponge up the maximum public subsidy possible. That makes it a two to three billion dollar politician’s mistake. Do you know how far that money would go if it were spread and used across the city on worthwhile projects? Only a fraction of it would be needed for Moynihan Station!

Overall, Paul Newell is paying attention to critical issues. A few days before the Beekman press conference we ran into Mr. Newell at Assemblyman Richard Brodksy's hearings at about how we are senselessly pouring in billions of taxpayer dollars of subsidies into sports complexes, not for the public benefit, but for wealthy franchise owners for Yankee Stadium and the Bruce Ratner Nets arena. Neither of us was able to get into the hearing because four busloads of construction workers had been brought in to preempt public attendance. Mr. Newell and I got to spend some time talking. Obviously, with the enorsements of the three major papers, a lot of people are really hope he will be elected, ourselves included.

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