Monday, November 04, 2013

With Lewis, de la Uz in the mix to advise de Blasio on housing (as per Crain's), does that set up tension regarding Atlantic Yards?

In Push for jobs starts at City Hall, Crain's New York Business suggests that former ACORN head Bertha Lewis, Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards housing partner, will play a key role in helping shape the administration:
"Will they have a seat at the table?" said Bertha Lewis, head of the Black Institute and a longtime de Blasio ally, of all the competing interests. "I don't know how big the table is. Is there an inner table and an inner-inner table?"
Will de la Uz get a place?

The article states:
Michelle de la Uz, executive director of the Fifth Avenue Committee and a de Blasio appointee to the City Planning Commission, and Shola Olatoye, vice president at Enterprise Community Partners, are both seen as possible choices to lead the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. The candidate has said he wants to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing over 10 years.
Note that de la Uz, though obviously capable, was reportedly on the outs with de Blasio, at least regarding one position that requires more interface with the real estate community.

Last June Crain's reported that she had lost a place on his short list to head the Department of City Planning because she voted against zoning changes on Roosevelt Island for Mayor Mike Bloomberg's technology campus. (She explained her vote thoroughly.)

Also, de la Uz has over the years differed significantly with Lewis regarding Atlantic Yards, challenging her at a 2006 forum, criticizing the plan at a 2009 hearing, and arguing last December that Forest City's modular plan sucked up too many subsidies.

Thus, should de la Uz get such a position, she'd likely face pressure from her boss to get with the program regarding Atlantic Yards, however much she might voice questions internally.

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