Skip to main content

de Blasio's defense of donations from developers = "the ends justify the means" (which sounds like Markowitz)

Let's take a deeper look at a very telling exchange during Mayor Bill de Blasio's 12/21/15 roundtable with reporters. The summary from Newsday:
He was also asked about the ethics of limit-less contributions by real estate groups and other special interests to a nonprofit group that backs his administration’s priorities.
“The bottom line is that the resources go to promote a progressive agenda,” de Blasio said. “That’s what matters.”
The summary from the New York Times:
In the interview, Mr. de Blasio said he had no qualms about accepting contributions for his political fund from real estate developers and groups with business before the city, saying that he needed resources to advance liberal causes in an era of big-money politics.
“We’re in an environment where a lot of very wealthy, powerful people will use their money to reinforce the status quo,” Mr. de Blasio said. “We’ve seen it directed against me and directed against other progressive leaders around the country.”
In other words, the end justifies the means.

Notably, de Blasio is using the status quo in one dimension of his mayoralty--accepting contributions from developers to his Campaign for One New York--to change the status quo in another dimension--causes like universal pre-K education.

And that's why Political NY in September noted that The transactional mayor returns.

But he has not necessarily followed a "progressive agenda" regarding real estate development, though, with projects like Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, he has tried to make it look progressive, touting "affordable housing" without acknowledging how much of it serves the middle class.

Looking more closely

If you look at the video and transcript, it becomes more clear.



At 24:46, a reporter asked:
Do you find that you [inaudible] – obviously the buck stops with you, but for political questions and assessing this political [inaudible] – are you – do you find that you mostly rely on yourself for advice in that area or are there other [inaudible]?
de Blasio responded:
The folks that I listen to are the same folks I came in the door with – a mixture of folks who, you know, are in the administration, starting with Chirlane McCray, and through, you know, deputy mayors and other senior members of the administration, and then there’s a group of outside advisors I’ve been working with for many years that I value greatly. But the buck stops with me – I think you’re right. The mistakes are mine. I mean, I want to be very clear – I have to composite all the information and make decisions. And some of the times, it’s also me reflecting on whether I want to, you know, change the status quo or accept it the way it is. And, you know, I think it was clear in 2013 that my mission was to change the status quo in this city. Sometimes, you know, if you create a strategy and communicate it right, you can make those changes more easily, but other times, it’s harder. It – you know, I’m going to change my level of belief that a lot of things have to change in this city, that a lot of things should not continue this way, but I also understand the status quo doesn’t always yield so easily.
(Emphases added)

At 57:17, a reporter asked about accepting donations from developers and others doing business with the city:
[inaudible] you talk about revisiting that, do you have any thoughts on [inaudible]?
de Blasio responded:
I’m comfortable with that approach because it’s – it’s entirely legal and it’s disclosed – in fact, disclosed more than the law requires. And in this day and age, until we get a constitutional amendment reversing Citizens United, which is an imperative, and I commend Secretary Clinton for calling for that – and it’s something I’ll certainly work to support – we’re in an environment where a lot of very wealthy, powerful people will use their money to reenforce the status quo. We’ve seen it in my case and we’ve seen it in plenty of other people’s cases – we’ve seen it directed against me and directed against other progressive leaders around the country. That’s the reality of the times we’re living in – we’re talking about a huge amount of money. If progressive organizations want to fight back and defend the progressive agenda and do it in a legal manner that is fully disclosed, that makes sense to me given, unfortunately, the legal environment we’re working in. When those laws change, entirely different discussion.
A reporter followed up:
Do you think those [inaudible]?
de Blasio responded emphatically:
The bottom line is that the resources go to promote a progressive agenda. That’s what matters.
In other words, no more discussion of tactics. It reminded me of Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz's defense of fundraising for his nonprofits from developers like Bruce Ratner, as quoted in 2008.
  • "My job is to bring money and services and programs to Brooklynites, and services and resources require money and it's [as] simple as that."
  • "I'm an activist and like to get things done, and that's what I'm about, period."


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

No, security guards can't ban photos. Questions remain about visibility of ID/sticker system.

The bi-monthly Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Community Update meeting June 14, held at 55 Hanson Place, addressed multiple issues, including delays in the project, a new detente with project neighbors,concerns about traffic congestion, upcoming sewer work and demolitions, and an explanation of how high winds caused debris to fly off the under-construction 38 Sixth Avenue building. I'll have more coverage.
Security issues came up several times at the meeting.
Wayne Bailey, a resident who regularly takes photos and videos (that I often use) of construction/operations issues that impact residents, asked representatives of Tishman Construction if the security guard at the sites they're building works for them.
After Tishman Senior VP Eric Reid said yes, Bailey asked why a guard told him not to shoot video of the site, even though he was on a public street.

"I will address it with principals for that security firm," Reid said.
Forest City Ratner executive Ashley Cotton, the …

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what might be coming + FAQ (post-dated pinned post)

This graphic, posted in January 2018, is post-dated to stay at the top of the blog. It will be updated as announced configurations change and buildings launch. Note the unbuilt B1 and the proposed shift in bulk to the unbuilt Site 5.

The August 2014 tentative configurations proposed by developer Greenland Forest City Partners will change. The project is already well behind that tentative timetable.

How many people are expected?

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park has a projected 6,430 apartments housing 2.1 persons per unit (as per Chapter 4 of the 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement), which would mean 13,503 new residents, with 1,890 among them in low-income affordable rentals, and 2,835 in moderate- and middle-income affordable rentals.

That leaves 8,778 people in market-rate rentals and condos, though let's call it 8,358 after subtracting 420 who may live in 200 promised below-market condos. So that's 5,145 in below-market units, though many of them won't be so cheap.

As …

The passing of David Sheets, Dean Street renter, former Freddy's bartender, eminent domain plaintiff, and singular personality

David Sheets, longtime Dean Street renter, Freddy's bartender, eminent domain plaintiff, and singular personality, died 1/17/18 in HCA Greenview Hospital in Bowling Green, KY. He was 56.

There are obituary notices in the Bowling Green Daily News and the Wichita Eagle, which state:
He was born in Wichita, KS where he attended public Schools and Wichita State University. He lived for many years in Brooklyn, NY, and was employed as a legal assistant. David's hobby was cartography and had an avid interest in Mass Transit Systems of the world. David was predeceased by his father, Kenneth E. Sheets. He is survived by his mother, Wilma Smith, step-brother, Billy Ray Smith and his wife, Jane all of Bowling Green; step-sister, Ellen Smith Alexander and her husband, Jerry of Bella Vista, AR; several cousins and step-nieces and step-nephews also survive. Memorial Services will be on Monday, January 22, 2018 at 1:00 pm with visitation from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm Monday at Johnson-Vaughn-Phe…

Some skepticism on Belmont hockey deal: lease value seems far below Aqueduct racino; unclear (but large?) cost for LIRR service

As I wrote for The Bridge 12/20/1, The Islanders Say Bye to Brooklyn, But Where Next?, the press conference announcing a new arena at Belmont Park for the New York Islanders was "long on pomp... but short on specifics."

Notably, a lease valued at $40 million "upfront to lease up to 43 acres over 49 years... seems like a good deal on rent for the state-controlled property." Also, the Long Island Rail Road will expand service to Belmont.

That indicates public support for an arena widely described as "privately financed," but how much? We don't know yet, but some more details--or at least questions--have emerged.

An Aqueduct comparable?

Well, we don't know what the other bid was, and there aren't exactly parcels that large offering direct comparables.

But consider: Genting New York LLC in September 2010 was granted a franchise to operate a video lottery terminal under a 30 year lease on 67 acres at Aqueduct Park (as noted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo).

As…

Barclays Center event June 11 to protest plans to expand Israeli draft; questions about logistics

At right is a photo of a poster spotted in Hasidic Williamsburg right. Clearly there's an event scheduled at the Barclays Center aimed at the Haredi Jewish community (strict Orthodox Jews who reject secular culture), but the lack of English text makes it cryptic.

The website Matzav.com explains, Protest Against Israeli Draft of Bnei Yeshiva Rescheduled for Barclays Center:
A large asifa to protest the drafting of bnei yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel into the Israeli army that had been set to take place this month will instead be held on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 11, at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. So attendees at a big gathering will protest an apparent change of policy that will make it much more difficult for traditional Orthodox Jewish students--both Hasidic (who follow a rebbe) and non-Hasidic (who don't)--to get deferments from the draft. Comments on the Yeshiva World website explain some of the debate.

The logistical questions

What's unclear is how large the ev…