Friday, December 03, 2004
Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?
Back to the point at hand. The Sun notes this morning that the NY State Senate has put the kibosh (at least temporarily) on the UN's land grab in Manhattan. Although the politically correct terminology of "community opposition" was used, the real zing came here:
According to Mr. Bruno's press release, the U.N. Development Corporation was expected to provide $600 million in bonds to finance the expansion. Fees collected from U.N. member nations would pay for the debt service on the bonds, but there would be no oversight of the finances by the state Public Authorities Control Board.
"Without any state oversight or review of the project's financing through the PACB, it is difficult to determine exactly who would be liable to pay off the debt, should there be a default. It certainly should not be State or City taxpayers," said Mr. Bruno. He questioned whether the U.N. could be trusted to pay off its debts, considering that U.N. representatives from roughly 200 countries already owe more than $195 million in city parking fines.
Hmmm. $195 mil in parking fees. Almost enough to build a new public school in NYC. The quote about "community opposition" is always an interesting one, because it invokes some of the most poignant parts of Robert Caro's masterwork "The Power Broker" (if you don't own this book, get it now. Perhaps the single best treatise on how local government can be absolutely corrupt and ineffective). The irony was that Mr. Moses had contemporaneously intended to expand the parking lot of Central Park's Tavern On The Green and finish putting through the Cross-Bronx Expressway. The expressway was routed through a middle class neighborhood, and could've been detoured through a nearby private bus terminal with minimal cost or project impact, while saving the neighborhood from the impact of construction and the quality of life issues associated with having a major highway next door. Needless to say, the liberal glitterati surrounding Central Park took offense at having their stretch of green impinged, and balked in much the same manner as the Italian and Jewish people in the Bronx did at the highway. The glitterati got an injunction and won, yet Mr. Moses handily prevailed in the Bronx, and one doesn't need too much of an eyeful to see what that wrought.
Some of the Assemblymen and State Senators got their digs into the UN as well:
State Senator Martin Golden of Brooklyn was quoted by the AP yesterday as saying that Americans "have been insulted by the U.N. repeatedly since September 11, 2001, as we have sought to defend ourselves from terrorism. This is hardly the time to assist the United Nations with expansion efforts on American soil."
And state Senator Serphin Maltese, a Republican from Queens, also weighed in on the embattled U.N.: "It has evolved into an anti-Israel, anti-Semitic group of petty, sniping bigots who are pursuing an anti-freedom, antidemocratic, anti-American agenda. To authorize an expansion of their headquarters would be a slap in the face of American citizens."
As well as my personal favorite, Assemblyman Dov Hikind,
"I was gratified to have the opportunity in Albany to work on the Assembly side to organize people against the U.N.'s doing anything in New York," Mr. Hikind said. "I'm so delighted, on behalf of my community and New Yorkers, to tell the U.N. to go to hell, plain and simple. They want to expand? Forget it!" he added. "Let them move to Mozambique, or Paris, or God knows where."
Dov's one of the few things I miss about Brooklyn. Him and Noach Dear. The most dangerous place in the world was between those guys and a reporter or photographer. Some wiseacre put out a terrific parody of The Jewish Press years ago that included amongst other things, a series of "Dear Crossings" being prepared to preserve the wildlife in Borough Park (although my personal favorite item in that issue was a cannily-crafted article that made it appear that the Mill Basin Drawbridge (that's on the Belt Parkway for the NY-impaired) was to have tolls put in place. Needless to say, putting tolls on said facility would've been a completely idiotic idea and would be handily disimissed by anyone with the remotest knowledge of traffic engineering, but for grins and giggles I clipped the article and sent it to a local community "activist" (read as a busybody dreck yenta who loved her very minor political leverage). Watching the fireworks was most amusing.