Sunday, June 21, 2009

Why I Don't Like Mike

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:40 AM Permalink

Mike Bloomberg that is, NYC's wealthiest mayor. He never met a development project he didn't like.

I've been saying for years that NYC just isn't what it used to be. Giuliani started it by making everything illegal, including the time-honored tradition of NYC jaywalking. Then Bloomberg moved in and starting turning the place into the magic kingdom.

Right now, development is running so rampant you can't walk a block without seeing something in the process of development; either it's being razed or raised. Seriously, there a parts of Manhattan that has so much scaffolding, you don't need an umbrella on a rainy day. Here in Brooklyn, it's worse. I hardly recognize the borough and its inhabitants anymore. Even the accent is disappearing.

Besides the Ratner arena project that abused eminent domain so bad that I think it will someday be used as an example in the history books as one of the worst consequences of capitalism, there is a huge project being developed near a poisoned waterfront called the Gowanus.

Now, the Gowanus is... um, a special waterway. During the war years, it was one of the primary ways munitions made their way from the factories to the ships. Tons of industry set up along the waterway and as a consequence, tons of pollutants were dumped into it. Then, in the late 60s, some numbnut literally dropped a wrench in the pump that moved the water out of the canal and the machine remained broken for thirty years. During that time, all the poisons settled onto the bottom, along with several lost munitions that had fallen off the boats and probably more than a few bodies dropped into it from various mafia hits and other murders. It's a stagnant, pungent waterway. So pungent that walking anywhere near it on a humid summer day is near impossible. (They finally fixed the pump a few years ago. It still smells though, but not as bad.)

Now, some developers, the Toll brothers, want to build a monstrosity of a development on the Gowanus waterfront and of course, Bloomberg thinks it's just a great idea and his building departments rezoned the development area to the Toll brothers specifications.

Then along came a monkey wrench: the EPA wants to declare the Gowanus a superfund site and clean it up. The Toll brothers freaked out, called on their buddy Bloomberg to denounce the superfund plan and Bloomberg, in turn, brought out all his cronies to say they same. Now, there's a propaganda campaign being run by the Toll brothers to subvert the superfund plan, even though everyone who lives and works around the canal, for the most part, believes it should be a superfund site. It's quite the display.

OK, so now you have the background. Here's a way better story on it written by a way better writer:
Bloomberg, suddenly hearing that one of his peeps (i.e., wealthy developers) was in peril, immediately came out against the clean-up. Again, the main concern was that the Toll Brothers would be negatively impacted. Lots of other pols came out against it, too, including the super-slimy Bill DeBlasio, who takes a bath in extra virgin olive oil every morning so as to render himself as slippery as possible. No surprise there, after the Tolls spent near half a mil on lobbying City Hall for the zoning change that gave them the ability to build on the canal. Nobody, meanwhile, seemed to be thinking about the communities of Gowanus, Boerum Hill and Carroll Gardens, and how the rejection of a free clean-up of a poisoned canal might effect them.
It goes on and gives a pretty good picture of what living here is like these days, especially if you're involved with the community.



At 10:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

THere must be much shame in the city's position on the Gowanus--the city did after all grant the Toll their zoning request. Until EPA made their offer to do a Gowanus cleanup the city and the developers were content to leave things "as is'.
Toll claimed to be doing a "cleanup" but when you look at what was to be accomplished under their redevelopment plan, you find very nothing that could be called a canal cleanup. There is something about filtering the storm runoff water but that would not make any dent into the existing problems--only limiting future input of future contamination. So why isn't Toll welcoming this Superfund effort? IS the cty concerned that their actions up till now will be called into question by a real scientific analysis of what they have proposed? Night that reveal that the city and the developer were actual playing down real problems that would put the new dense residential population living in these new developments at risk?
The city may have much to answer for under about their Gowanus zoning actions.


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