Sunday, September 13, 2009

The nearly silent Hunley-Adossa receives $75K in public campaign funds; is it all an effort at 2013 and beyond?

We learn a couple of curious things in the profile in The Local about Delia Hunley-Adossa, the main challenger to City Council Member Letitia James in the 35th Council District.

For one thing, Hunley-Adossa's run appears to be a training wheels effort for 2013 or later. “Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to beat an incumbent, but there is life after that incumbent,” her campaign manager, Musa Moore, told the Local. “I am running a race to win, but I know politics. I know no matter what, you could win now, you could win long term.”

Money over policy

Hunley-Adossa's ideas about policy are rather undeveloped; her second priority, to quote her response to a Citizens Union questionnaire: "Education: encourage the need for building knowledge." Her ability to articulate them is limited. And she wouldn't even answer written questions from The Local.

(She does take direction from Forest City Ratner staffers, as the photo indicates. Update: Btw, I've gotten emails from both AY supporters and opponents because I originally ran this photo twice. No one else covering the campaign has pointed out the role Hunley-Adossa has played in leading Forest City Ratner rallies, so that was a reminder, but I'll agree that one photo is enough. Photo by Adrian Kinloch.)

But she has raised $74,981 in matching funds from New York City Campaign Finance Board, which matches each dollar a New York City resident gives, up to $175 per contributor, with six dollars in public funds, for a maximum of $1,050 in public funds per contributor. (James has raised the full $88,550.) That buys a lot of name recognition--and negative campaigning.

(Shouldn't candidates receiving public funds be obligated to answer questions?)

Then again, James is only running for her second full term, given that she took office in 2003 after the untimely death of Jame E. Davis, so she could run again in 2013. Should Atlantic Yards go forward, it likely will remain a big issue for the district in 2017.

Questions for Hunley-Adossa

Hunley-Adossa now says a significant chunk of the $400,000 her dubious nonprofit, Brooklyn Endeavor Experience (BEE), has raised has gone to rat and rodent abatement and air conditioner installation at her building, First Atlantic Terminal.

Why was BEE, a signatory to the Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) needed as a pass-through for that spending? And why hasn’t Hunley-Adossa previously explained that so much of FCR’s money went to her building? It’s not on BEE’s web site.

Brooklyn Endeavor Experience previously was called the First Atlantic Terminal Housing Committee (FATCH). Apparently that was a more accurate name. After all, the board of her organization consists of family members and neighbors.

Looking at the CBA

According to the CBA, here are the duties of Hunley-Adossa's group. Note that no such Working Group has been formed.

FATHC-As further described in Section VII, coordination, management, implementation and continuous oversight of the Environmental Assurances component of this Agreement. FAHTC will form and facilitate a working group to establish an ongoing mechanism for community input to achieve its objective.

WORKING GROUP.
(1) Upon execution of this Agreement, the Developers will work with FATHC to establish a Committee on Environmental Assurances to address short and long term environmental issues that may affect the Surrounding Community as a result of development of the Arena and the Project.

(2) If requested by the Environmental Assurances Committee, the Developers shall work with FATHC to seek and secure public and/or private funding to pay the reasonable expenses of the working group of this committee, in order to provide: an appropriate meeting space within walking distance of the Project, postage and phone communications, webhosting services for a community webpage and message board dedicated to the Project, and the services of an administrative staff to update the community webpage on a regular basis.

(3) The Developers shall be notified of all meetings of the working group. A representative of the Project Developer shall be made available for all meetings of the working group, although the Working Group may meet without the Developers if it so chooses.

C. MITIGATION MEASURES. As will be further described in the Project Implementation Plan, the Developers shall consult with FATHC to determine appropriate mitigation measures that will address the concerns of the Community regarding environmental impacts caused by the development of the Arena and the Project, including, but not limited to: an on-site and off-site rodent abatement program; a staging plan for construction that minimizes the effects of idling trucks; a pedestrian and vehicular traffic plan; and encouragement of all contractors to use low sulfur diesel in trucks operating at the Project. In addition, the Developers shall adopt prudent environmentally sound building practices that will take into consideration the goal of promoting sustainable development in an energy efficient manner. The Developers shall notify the Coalition of their ongoing plans and mitigation measures. It is understood that the Project’s environmental impact statement and review process is administered by the State.

All potential environmental mitigation measures, the cost to implement such measures, and the party deemed responsible for their compliance is ultimately determined by the State. Therefore, the Developer shall be in compliance with this Agreement by following the state mandated process.


(Emphases added)

Though FATHC/BEE may have a consultative role, it's never made that advice public. And the government is in charge of all mitigation measures. In other words, BEE has a Potemkin function.

Hunley-Adossa has been more useful to Forest City Ratner leading rallies and taking direction from the developer's staff.

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