The City Council’s true constituents

By Benjamin Haber

It is not conceivable New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito on her own initiative invoked a resolution before the council to submit an amicus brief to the New York State Court of Appeals in support of the developers who seek an end run around the law to construct a 1.4 million square foot shopping megamall on the Citi Field parking lot. What is conceivable is that she was solicited by the developers who have been running in fear since the Appellate Division—First Department—ruled unanimously against them. One expects the Court of Appeals to sort out the irrelevancies and as the Appellate Division Justices did, uphold the integrity of parkland.

In placing her resolution before the City Council with no more than two days’ notice and not setting up a public hearing, Mark-Viverito has made it clear that under her speakership there will be no legislative transparency. That the City Council with the exception of two dissents and one abstention, approved the resolution comes as no surprise, since they have always considered large real estate interests their true constituents. The support of Council member Julissa Ferreras likewise comes as no surprise, since she has supported intrusion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park by private, for-profit interests.

If one needed a single word to best describe the majority of the City Council and its current speaker, mediocre would fit the bill, but even that, possibly considered too generous. The actions of the City Council brings to mind the statement once made by Meade Esposito, a former Brooklyn Democratic leader: “Today’s reformer is tomorrow’s hack.”

Benjamin M. Haber


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