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May 23, 2006

Metro NY, Letters to the Editor:
CONDEMNATION HASN'T HAPPENED

ERIC MCCLURE • Park Slope

Regarding “Letting a thousand projects bloom” (May 17): When Empire State Development Corporation Chairman Charles Gargano replied to your question about the Atlantic Yards proposal by saying, “We didn’t really have to use eminent domain because there were friendly condemnations done,” he’s either betraying a woeful degree of disengagement, living in a fantasy world or lying.

Condemnation hasn’t happened yet with this project, but if it does, it certainly won’t be “friendly” — it will most likely be in violation of the U.S. Constitution. It’s just this type of “leadership” from Mr. Gargano and the ESDC that leaves New Yorkers with a hole in the ground in lower Manhattan nearly five years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Costs to taxpayers outweigh benefits

LARRY PENNER • Great Neck

Regarding “Letting a thousand projects bloom” (May 17): New York City prospered for centuries prior to the creation of various city and state development corporations over the past two decades. In too many cases, projects have been heavily subsidized by taxpayers, commonly known as corporate welfare. Between direct government funding, low interest loans and long term tax exemptions, the bill to taxpayers may be greater than the benefits. There also is a relationship between Pay for Play campaign contributions from developers to elected officials looking for favorable legislation, permits and subsidies.

Don’t forget the conflict of interest for senior staff from city or state regulatory and permitting agencies. Too many leave at the end of any mayoral or governor administration to become employees or consultants to the same developers they previously oversaw. Too many mega developers try to purchase the support of local community groups by making so-called voluntary donations. They also make promises for capital improvements, which after the major project is completed don’t always appear.

If these projects are worthwhile, why can’t major developers use their own funds or obtain loans from banks, like medium and small businesses?

Real business people who believe in capitalism build their companies on their own. How sad that some don’t want to do it the old fashioned way, by sweat and hard work. They are looking for shortcuts in the form of huge subsidies at taxpayers expense and favors from elected officials.

E-mail your letters to: letters@metro.us. Keep them as brief as possible.

Posted by lumi at May 23, 2006 9:48 AM