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April 10, 2008

Errol Louis and the "Atlantic Yards pork pool"

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder examines two recent Errol Louis columns and finds some inconsistencies.

Daily News columnist Errol Louis cares about politicians giving away the public's money, but not when it comes to Atlantic Yards.

In a 4/6/08 column headlined Speaker Quinn and her pork pool, Louis wrote:
It seems there is no limit to how much of the public's money politicians will steal, waste and abuse if we don't keep a close and skeptical eye on them. The piggies have been busy lately, and it's going to cost us plenty.

What we know so far about the budget scandal engulfing the City Council is that the Council has, since 2001, allocated $17 million by giving grants to nonexistent organizations.

"Local selfishness"

Remember Louis's exchange about subsidies with Assemblyman Richard Brodsky in September 2006. The “local selfishness” regarding subsidies, Louis said, is something “I accept as the lay of the land… If they’re going to get a billion-dollar TIF [tax-increment financing] deal in Rensselaer County, I think where I live, in Kings County, if somebody wants to bring a billion-dollar deal there, with way too much paid per job, in my neighborhood, where there’s a lot of unemployment, personally, I would say, ‘You know what? I’ll take that.’”

Brodsky was unimpressed. “That is a prescription for a bigger disaster. ‘My pork is good. Your pork is bad.’ is not a principled response to the pissing away of billions of dollars.”

AY subsidies

A day after Louis's column about Quinn, I reported that, despite $305 million in pledged direct public subsidies for Atlantic Yards, a top executive told investment analysts that "we still need more” subsidies.

Will Louis address that? Nah. A column last month about Atlantic Yards suggested that "those who want prosperity and progress in Brooklyn" project should, among other things, "negotiate improvements to the plan with Ratner."

And today, rather than criticize the "Atlantic Yards pork pool," Louis, in a column headlined Building a better economic outlook, writes a valentine to Avi Schick, acting CEO of the Empire State Development Corporation, an "unsung hero" who keeps "the machinery of growth humming in good times and bad."

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NoLandGrab: Be sure to check the comments appended to Oder's story, in which Errol Louis tries to overkill the "Mad Overkiller," who then overkills the overkilling. Or something like that.

Posted by eric at April 10, 2008 11:38 AM