Committee Forwards Consultants’ Housing Alternatives Report to Full Park Board

The Committee on Alternatives to Housing of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation’s board met this afternoon and, by a vote of 4-2, forwarded the final report of Bay Area Economics, the consultants hired by the board to study alternatives to housing as sources of revenue to fund park operation and maintenance, to the full board. At its next meeting, the board will consider the report’s recommendations concerning alternate sources, and vote on which of them to act on. Since the alternate sources identified in the report are not projected to produce sufficient revenue to meet projected expenses, at best they can be expected to reduce the scale of the housing needed. Following the board’s action, the Committee on Alternatives will be dissolved.

Voting against forwarding the report were John Raskin, appointed to the board by State Senator Daniel Squadron, and Anne Strahle, appointed by Assemblywoman Joan Millman. Raskin strongly criticized the report’s exclusion of possible revenues from the Watchtower properties, as had City Council Member Steve Levin and a representative from the office of Council Member Brad Lander at the full board meeting earlier. Raskin characterized the report as “a document produced for City Hall.” Committee member and President of the City’s Economic Development Corporation Seth Pinsky replied that consideration of the Watchtower properties was properly excluded because the proposal to use payments in lieu of taxes on these properties as a revenue source would violate the requirement that no revenues to which the City is entitled be diverted for park use, and because of timing and risk factors associated with revenues from the Watchtower properties.

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  • Corrections

    The vote was 4-2, not 3-2. There are 6 members of the committee. Voting yes were 1) Deputy Mayor Steele, 2)Seth PInsky, 3) matthew Wambua and 4) Peter Davidson.

    Also Seth Pinksy is the President of EDC, not the DM for economic development. Steele is the DM for Economic Development.

  • TMS

    What happened to democracy, the voice of the PEOPLE? It seems the voice of one person is the only one being heard here.

  • Claude Scales

    Corrections: thanks; I’ve made the corrections. I thought that Steele, as chair of the committee, only voted in case of a tie. Since it was done by voice vote, it was hard to tell if he voted.

  • bklyn20

    So the 3 people on the committee who work for the Mayor voted to approve the report. The 1 person who works for the Empire State Development Corp. voted in favor of the report. The 2 people who work for neither the Mayor nor the ESDC voted against the report. How very refreshing!

  • Lazy

    Or, to rephrase your comment bklyn20:
    The four people on the committee who will ultimately be held responsible to come up with any funding shortfalls, who will be blamed if the park falls into a state of poor maintenance, who need to be responsive not just to the needs of a couple of loud people in cobble hill, but to the residents of the entire City, and who ultimately have the most incentive to make sure that any funding plan put forth for this park is both fiscally responsible and reasonably achievable, voted in favor of this report.

    The 2 people whose political fortunes are determined by a small group of people who live in the surrounding neighborhoods who are easily influenced by an even smaller but vocal and misinformed group of extremists, who have the most incentive to pander to people like bklyn20 because at the end of the day figuring out how to balance the needs to fund a wide variety of municipal services to all City residents is not their responsibility, voted against this report.

    Refreshing indeed!

  • Owen

    Without agreeing with all of your premises, Lazy, an elegant rephrasing indeed.

  • bklyn20

    Gee, Lazy, I guess you were waiting for me all this time. I have changed my mind and now think you work for BBPC or the like. Hence your reflexive defense of all things BBP. The 2 people you besmirch, Squadron and Millman, are actually trying to do the right thing rather than protecting their paycheck. They are the responsible and moral people here.

  • Lazy

    Whatever – you can assume whatever you want. In the past I’ve noticed 2 things about your assumptions:
    1) You assume that anyone who disagrees with you must have some sort of financial stake in doing so. You refuse to acknowledge the possibility that reasonable people will find your arguments full of misinformation and unpersuasive. I have never accused you of having some sort of financial interest in your arguments. I accept that however wrong you are, that you are arguing for something you believe in. Why can’t you extend me the same courtesy.
    2) You assume that just because the consultants came up with a result that you didn’t agree with, that the deck was stacked and the fix was in the whole time. You have admitted in the past that you are not an expert on Park financing. Yes you refuse to acknowledge the possibility that experts in the field have examined the situation and have objectively determined that your beliefs, which are based on your desires, not on any hard evidence, are wrong.

    Also, I don’t “besmirch” anyone. I’m just pointing out that it’s not surprising that the votes broke down along the lines of “people who need to be responsive to complex and competing needs of the whole city” on one side and “people who only need to be responsive to a very small portion of the City” on the other since those two groups have very different goals and different incentives. No need to for you to imply any conspiracy theories..