« Duffield St. Underground Linkage | Main | Media/Public Advisory: New Yorkers Against Eminent Domain Abuse »

June 26, 2007

Dear Governor Spitzer

Spitzer-Signing.jpgJo Anne Simon, 52nd Assembly District leader, penned a letter to Governor Eliot Spitzer, explaining why a reform-minded leader would hesitate to support Atlantic Yards, especially in light of the amendment to the 421-a reform bill.

From her letter (full text after the jump):

The last minute amendment to this bill (A. 9293) providing yet more sweetener for Atlantic Yards is totally beyond reason. You may recall meeting with me and my co-leader Alan Fleishman following a campaign appearance with former Governor Carey last summer. You were very gracious and listened closely to our concerns about the Atlantic Yards, many of which were rooted in what we viewed as bad public policy and the desperate need for public authority reform. Even ACORN, one of the biggest supporters of the Atlantic Yards project, has called this recent amendment bad public policy.

What’s wrong with the above amendment? It:

  • reduces the affordable housing by raising the percentage of the poverty line amount to be used in considering low income beyond that provided for in any other development in New York City;

  • all but ensures, as the developer has indicated, that as much as 10% of the affordable housing would be built off-site, further reducing the promised affordable housing benefits;

  • provides hundreds of millions of tax dollars for luxury housing beyond the $205 million that New York City Council recently approved ($100 million of which the developer testified would go to unspecified land acquisition costs, in addition to its anticipated costs if it successfully utilizes eminent domain to acquire other properties), and the hundreds of millions of dollars from state coffers;

  • will use $1.4 billion of low interest tax free bonds–sapping the market and foreclosing other, arguably more worthy, projects to create a density twice that of Battery Park City; and

  • it is the only project to which ESDC did not require changes when your administration took office.

Enough is enough. The legacy of Atlantic Yards will be one of fiscal and social irresponsibility.

Governor Spitzer can be reached by:
PHONE: 518-474-8390
EMAIL: http://161.11.121.121/govemail
SNAIL MAIL: Governor Eliot Spitzer, State Capitol, Albany, NY 12224

June 25, 2007

Governor Eliot Spitzer
State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Spitzer:

I support the expansion of the 421- a exclusionary zone beyond that agreed to by the New York City Council earlier this legislative year. Indeed, I testified to that effect at a hearing held by Assemblyman Vito Lopez in March of this year. I enclose a copy of my written statement for your review.

Nevertheless, the last minute amendment to this bill (A. 9293) providing yet more sweetener for Atlantic Yards is totally beyond reason. You may recall meeting with me and my co-leader Alan Fleishman following a campaign appearance with former Governor Carey last summer. You were very gracious and listened closely to our concerns about the Atlantic Yards, many of which were rooted in what we viewed as bad public policy and the desperate need for public authority reform. Even ACORN, one of the biggest supporters of the Atlantic Yards project, has called this recent amendment bad public policy.

What’s wrong with the above amendment? It:

  • reduces the affordable housing by raising the percentage of the poverty line amount to be used in considering low income beyond that provided for in any other development in New York City;

  • all but ensures, as the developer has indicated, that as much as 10% of the affordable housing would be built off-site, further reducing the promised affordable housing benefits;

  • provides hundreds of millions of tax dollars for luxury housing beyond the $205 million that New York City Council recently approved ($100 million of which the developer testified would go to unspecified land acquisition costs, in addition to its anticipated costs if it successfully utilizes eminent domain to acquire other properties), and the hundreds of millions of dollars from state coffers;

  • will use $1.4 billion of low interest tax free bonds–sapping the market and foreclosing other, arguably more worthy, projects to create a density twice that of Battery Park City; and

  • it is the only project to which ESDC did not require changes when your administration took office.

Enough is enough. The legacy of Atlantic Yards will be one of fiscal and social irresponsibility. The current public financing picture is so extreme that the State and City could pay for an arena, give it to the developer, and still save untold millions of dollars.

I strongly urge you to veto this bill. When the legislature returns, it can and should pass it the expansion of the 421-a program’s exclusionary zone without this boondoggle. The time for change in Albany is now. We need transparency and accountability, not back door deals at the public’s expense.

Very truly yours,

Jo Anne Simon

Posted by lumi at June 26, 2007 9:28 AM