Mayor: No West Side Stadium Means No 2012 Summer Olympics I on politics
If Mayor Michael Bloomberg was doing as well with his Manhattan football stadium proposal as he was with his record on running city schools, at this point he would have a better chance of getting approval for the 2012 Olympics to be held here.
But opposition to the stadium on the West Side has been strong and persistent, and the mayor warned on Sunday that New York City won’t be getting the Olympic games if there’s not some positive movement toward approval of the stadium in the next few months.
On Sunday, he said there must be a firm plan in place for the stadium by December because International Olympic Committee officials will be visiting here shortly after the start of the year to check firsthand on early stage Olympic plans. In July, the IOC will decide whether to award the games to New York City or else to Paris, London, Madrid or Moscow.
Bloomberg warned at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, where he was helping to kick off the New York Jets football season, “I don’t think anybody should make any mistake about it. If we were not to get the stadium going very soon, we would have to drop out of the competition for the Olympics. We are not going to get the Olympics unless you have the stadium going.”
Outside of the political considerations involved in holding the Olympics here, there’s a lot more in economic benefits and prestige for the city riding on building a new Jets stadium, for which the Jets are putting up $800 million. Usually, professional sports teams that can afford to spend some cash on a stadium opt instead to have a city pick up the full tab. New York City will have to put up $300 million, which would be money well spent. The benefits would extend far into the future.
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING: The story which appeared over the weekend about City Councilmember David Weprin, a supporter of the Manhattan stadium proposal, receiving two $1,000 campaign contributions from the Jets, made it appear as to be a quid pro quo sort of arrangement.
Weprin (D–Hollis), council Finance Committee chairman, called the story nonsense. We agree with his assertion, “If I didn’t take contributions from people I supported, then I wouldn’t be taking any contributions.” As it is, he said, it wasn’t as though the Jets are bankrolling his future campaign. The club’s contribution was “less than 1 percent of the contributions I’ve received,” he explained.
VALLONE URGES ‘GREEN’ POWER: Green power is provided by wind, solar energy and small hydropower renewable generation sources. Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. (D–Astoria) notes that buying Green power helps the economy and benefits the environment. If just 10 percent of New York’s households choose Green power, it would prevent nearly 3 billion pounds of carbon dioxide, 10 million pounds of sulfur dioxide and nearly 4 million pounds of nitrogen oxide from entering the air each year,” he said.
He urged residents to give Green power a chance by buying it for their electrical power source. For more information, call 866-GRN-POWR.
GENNARO GOES AFTER PESTS: Commenting on New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s lawsuit against the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regarding the use of pesticides in public housing, city council Environmental Protection Committee Chairman James Gennaro stated that Spitzer’s action is historic and will make an extraordinary contribution to the safety and health of New York City's public housing population.
Gennaro (D–Fresh Meadows) said he has two pesticide reduction bills pending because every year New York City is ranked among the highest in the nation for pesticide use.
Gennaro warned, “Pesticides can cause serious and long-term health problems such as asthma and cancer.”
AWARD TO CROWLEY: Last Thursday, Congressmember Joseph Crowley (D–Queens/Bronx) was presented with the National Family Planning and Reproductive Healthcare Association (NFPRHA) Distinguished Public Servant of the Year award.
Crowley received the award “for his consistent leadership in support of family planning, including legislation to fund international family planning programs without restrictions.
In choosing Crowley for the award, NFPRHA members recognized his taking the lead in garnering support in the House for additional funding of their programs and his opposition to abstinence-only funding. Many of the NFPRHA members run family planning clinics across the country that provide services for low-income women.
MARSHALL SPEAKS OUT ON H.S. OVERCROWDING: Citing a report last week from the Independent Budget Office (IBO) reaffirming Borough President Helen Marshall’s position that while overcrowding in Queens high schools has eased, they are still the most over-crowded in the entire city. “This is a dubious longstanding distinction which we do not covet,” Marshall said. “With several of our high schools posting utilization rates of 191 percent, 183 percent and 171 percent, we obviously have much more to do to provide the infrastructure improvements and new building projects that will ensure that every high school student has the seat that he or she deserves.”
BAYSIDE REZONING MOVING, AVELLA SAYS: Councilmember Tony Avella (D–Bayside) reports that the City Planning Department (CPD) has completed the Bayside rezoning study, which Avella prompted, and will shortly begin the public review process.
Avella said that CPD, at his request, will present its proposals first to Bayside community leaders in Avella’s Bayside office.
Avella has been leading the fight citywide against overdevelopment. Bloomberg has also been pursuing this goal. Last year, Avella had an independent study done on the problem which led to the CPD Study. Presently, similar studies regarding Whitestone and College Point are being done.
REITERATE NEED FOR FLUSHING YOUTH CENTER: In discussing ongoing plans to develop the city-owned municipal parking lot in Downtown Flushing last week, Assemblymember Barry Grodenchik, Councilmember John Liu and state Senator Toby Stavisky reiterated their position that the plans must include a youth center.
Grodenchik said a full size youth center is sorely needed and Stavisky said, “We want to see that the people of Flushing receive a substantial dividend from the plan.”
Plans call for the city to sell the huge parking lot to a private developer, but Liu said the community must retain local control over parking spaces and construction of the youth center. The plan also calls for diversified retail businesses and a large public plaza.
VOTER REG DRIVE: Stavisky also announced that this Saturday, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Democratic Association will hold a voter registration drive between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Bay Terrace Shopping Center near Waldbaum’s and the Whitestone Shopping Center near Key Food. Stavisky noted that people who register to vote by September 18 can vote in the general election on November 2.