Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Party Line

It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them.
-- Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)

The January 31st deadline for a decision on the Pier 40 RFP has come and gone and a new deadline is set for March 31st.
Presumably, the parties will be softened up a bit more and will become more “reasonable.” The implication by the Trust Board in sotto voce by its new “Dear Leader” was that the parties would work together at some common table and play nice.
A letter by Speaker Quinn broke her silence on the issue at last, a day before the Trust meeting and apparently the daydream of thousands of angry lower Manhattan parents and their kids storming the pier to protect the ball fields was too much for Related to overcome -- even with its deep pockets and political juice. Even Bloomberg knows when to hang back, at least for the moment.

But, the fact that there was no decision, rather than a bad decision (Related), being supported by the Trust – is not all positive. While there is the money issue still undecided in this market where liquidity is drying up faster than you can say, “credit default swap” -- the one glaring problem that has not been resolved is the length of the lease. From the beginning, Related has been unable to conform to the 30-year requirement. Deborah Glick, fast becoming Downtown’s Hero, has stated that she would not permit any change in the HRP Act in order to accommodate the 50 years needed by that developer.

So, why is another two months necessary when the Trust could simply have made a decision to work with the Pier 40 Partnership. -- since that is what the community wants?
Why, instead of trying to act like a judge settling a case does Taylor want all of the parties to sit down and make a deal?
Is it to keep Related in the mix?
Are those instructions from the Mayor?

This brings up the issue of Bloomberg’s minions. There is a sense of robots, or, like the Stepford Wives in drag closing ranks and acting as one monolithic entity – the Bloomberg Administration – which is starting to aggravate even those who admire the Mayor. Clearly, not every Trust Board member signs on to the same deal. But, the pressure is on.
As one downtown observer commented, “I asked a Commissioner about an issue that required a decision and he would only talk to me as if I were a reporter and it was off the record. He acted as if he were afraid to have it known that he had an opinion before it was cleared first with City Hall. What the Hell is that all about?”

The speculation is that it’s not so much that they are afraid of Bloomberg but that they fear that the promise of a fat paycheck after this government job is over – would evaporate if the party line were not observed. Not to mention the possibility of a job in D.C. if Bloomberg buys his way into the new administration.
Sounds less like a variation on the old “golden shackles” -- and more like the “golden coffin.” Talk out of synch and you may wind up working at McDonald’s – in Detroit.
Doctoroff is already signed up if you’re paying attention. His new deal is now at Bloomberg Media.

Its not good when you have City employees acting like they belong to a secret society instead of people that are supposedly responsive to the community they are paid to serve.

No comments: