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February 28, 2010

AY Report: de Blasio's Attempt at Transparency, AY Corrections From The NY Times

Atlantic Yards Report

Public Advocate de Blasio pushes (voluntary) transparency for Council earmarks, discretionary funds from mayor and borough presidents

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio announced on February 24 a new government web site that will detail how elected officials--City Council members, the mayor, and borough presidents--spend discretionary funds.

It's a good idea, but, as the Daily News noted in an editorial today, a web site based on voluntary compliance isn't enough.

Moreover, as the Daily News pointed out, City Council President Christine Quinn "should have instituted this type of disclosure long ago" regarding "the Council's $50-million-a-year slush fund... a font for thievery." (Indeed, former Council Member Miguel Martinez is n prison and Council Member Larry Seabrook has been indicted.)

Public Advocate or Comptroller

I'll add that it's not necessarily something the Public Advocate must do, since Comptroller candidate David Yassky had the same idea during his campaign, and even set up a web site, It's Your Money NYC, featuring 2009 budget data (but not 2010 budget data), albeit limited to Council Members.

The value of transparency

Such transparency should be part and parcel of city government. I had to request capital budget data last year to learn, as I wrote last May, some $24.6 million, more than a third of Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz's 2009 capital budget, was directed to the $64 million amphitheater planned for Asser Levy Park in Coney Island, home of one of the two summer concert series Markowitz has long sponsored.

A week later, the Times corrects two Atlantic Yards errors

A correction in today's New York Times:

An article last Sunday about Sharon Zukin, a Brooklyn College sociology professor and critic of gentrification who argues for stronger government regulation of rents and zoning, referred incorrectly to the Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, which Ms. Zukin cited as an example of inexorable gentrification. It is a project, not a place, and city officials did not in fact rezone the property to allow the development.

While the Times has acted responsibly in correcting the record, I don't see why it should have taken a week. I posted a critique on Saturday, February 20, and sent in a request for a correction that morning.

In other words, even if the Metropolitan section went to press early Saturday, a correction could have appeared in the main section Sunday.

Posted by steve at February 28, 2010 9:49 AM