Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Fix is In

The New York papers are reporting that the 17 member MTA board will accept the New York Jets bid over Cablevision's bid for the railyards over the Far West Side of Manhattan and the Jets will get their stadium.

The Jets bid will cost taxpayers lots of money. The Jets offered $280 million for the site, but want taxpayers to spend $600 million for a platform to be built over the West Side railyards and $150 million more for pedestrian walkways. That would be a net loss of $470 million for taxpayers.

The Cablevision bid would not cost taxpayers money. The MTA would receive $400 million as soon as the deal was signed and Cablevision would spend $360 million to build the platform. That would be a net gain of $400 million for taxpayers.

JETS: - $470 million
CABLEVISION: + $400 million.

The MTA says the Jets offer is better. A lot better, according to a few anonymous MTA board members who talked to the NY tabloids yesterday, because potential tax revenues will be so much higher if the stadium is built.

Who are they kidding? How stupid do they think people are? It is not difficult to see that Mayor Bloomberg (who owns 4 MTA board members) and Governor Pataki (who owns 6) rigged the bidding process for the Far West Side. They "discouraged" other bidders by insisting there would be no rezoning of the land surrounding the railyards, then they agreed to rezone that land for real estate developers willing to add $440 million to the Jets deal. Apparently, Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff put that part of the deal together himself about a week and a half ago, (and Deputy Dan stands to make millions himself off this stadium deal with his interest in some of the surrounding property).

So the Mayor and the Governor try to railroad the stadium deal through, agree to a bidding process when they are embarrassed by a subsequent Cablevision bid for the site, and then rig the process and rubberstamp the Jets deal anyway. Utterly shameless. But I guess I knew this was going to happen. As Mike Lupica wrote in today's Daily News, "one of the most shameful politicical processes in the history of this city will have played out now to its logical conclusion."

It is logical, though also criminal, that the MTA board would reject the better Cablevision bid when their bosses desperately want the Jets bid to be accepted. Thankfully the stadium deal still needs to be approved by two State boards. While that process goes on, we can embarrass the Mayor and the Governor with the shamelessness of the rigged process and show New Yorkers that the Cablevision bid (which would actually make the Far West Side into a a very nice place to live) is the better deal. With any luck, Sheldon Silver will veto the deal at the end anyway.

And then we throw the bums out. Mike "Mayor Moneybags" Bloomberg in '05. And Pataki in '06.

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