NY Pol wants to delay stadium vote

Don Larsen couldn't get home again
Dispensing with a tired Joba debate

In a couple of weeks, just one day after a public hearing and four days after releasing the appropriate numbers to the public, the New York City Industrial Development Agency is scheduled to hold a vote that would grant another round of tax-exempts bonds to the Yankees and Mets for stadium construction. The details of this $450-million bond have yet to be released to the public, and the IDA has scheduled just one hearing for Jan. 15. According to Assembly Richard Brodsky, this is not acceptable.

In a letter released yesterday and sent to the IDA, Brodsky called upon the board to delay the vote and solicit more public opinion, a sentiment a long time coming and a little bit late in the process. Brodsky originally called upon the IDA to move the vote from its originally scheduled time, three hours before Barack Obama takes the presidential oath of office.

This time, Brodsky would like more time to investigate the need for these funds. Wrote Brodsky:

The lack of public information, the controversial nature of the proposal, the undue haste and secrecy surrounding this deliberation are inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the state laws governing IDA procedures. As you can see from the Interim Report, the manipulation of the IDA process including the use of a Deviation Letter and an Inducement Resolution inconsistent with each other, the artificial inflation of property tax assessments by the City, the successful pursuit of a luxury suite for City officials, the failure to consider the affordability of stadium tickets, the lack of permanent job creation, the uncertainty about the Community Benefits Agreement and the parkland replacement are issues that must be considered as the additional funding is advanced. We are particularly interested in the justification for the new funding, inasmuch as the initial funding was justified on a supposed Yankee threat to leave the City. Since the Yankees have signed a non-relocation agreement, it is unclear what justification can be made for the additional funding.

And in a statement, the Westchester pol and head of the State Assembly’s Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions took a shot at the IDA:

“At a time when we can’t fund the MTA or schools, the Bloomberg administration’s insistence on an additional $454 million of corporate welfare makes no sense. The IDA is an independent State agency which is not supposed to be under the thumb of the Mayor’s office. We are asking IDA board members to allow for a deliberate and open process to ensure that all points of view are heard and that New Yorkers are protected from more corporate welfare for the wealthiest corporations in our area. The spate of taxpayer bailouts of large corporations was at least justified by the threat that they would otherwise go out of business. There is no reason to provide public assistance to these hugely successful businesses at a time when taxes are rising, services are being cut, and jobs are being lost. We call on the IDA to do the right and legal thing.”

I don’t disagree with Brodsky here. I don’t think the stadium financing has been nearly as public as it needed to be. Our elected officials should have questioned this deal a long time ago. But at this point, Brodsky needs to deliver an endgame that constitutes more than just being a thorn in the side of all involved.

For better or worse, the new stadium will open in April. It’s about 45 days away from completed, and the project passed the point of no return basically the day after Yankee and city officials broke ground in 2006. Brodsky and his fellow committee members can make sure the city coffers get the money it deserves, and they have already made sure that future projects will be subject to more oversight. I guess these are small victories we should celebrate in the fight of good government and stadium construction.

Don Larsen couldn't get home again
Dispensing with a tired Joba debate
  • http://26ncounting.blogspot.com VO

    did you guys hear about the stadium worker who fell?

  • Januz

    I am in total disagreement with Richard Brodsky. I am tired of his “Man Of LaMancha/”Impossible Dream” quest to stop as much as the funding of this stadium as possible. The most efficient way to build something is to get it right the first time, instead of having to dig around in the future (Look at how much money it cost to dig up a David Ortiz jersey?). The Yankees understood this well, when they got the new stadium wired for the technologies of today and tomorrow, instead of waiting for five years from now, when costs will go up exponentially.
    In addition to this, there is a brand new Metro North Station that is finally going to be in operation after 80 years of planning (Unlike the Second Ave subway (“The Ultimate Impossible Dream Project”), Atlantic Yards, Coney Island, and the Fulton St train complex, and countless other failed projects). When the Brodsky’s of the world succeed, everyone (except do nothing NIMBY’s (Like DEVELOP DON”T DESTROY BROOKLYN)) lose. This is what we are seeing at Atlantic Yards. No new arena, and the entire neighborhood is carved up, and it will take years until the area is rebuilt (If it ever happens that is).
    I am glad the Steinbrenner’s and the City had the guts to stand up to the Brodskys of the world, and not allow Yankee Stadium to become Coney Island (A beloved spot………. that no one wants to visit 10 years from now).

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      You do know that the Second Ave. subway in some form is under construction and that part of it will open in 2015, right? These projects aren’t related at all. Public funding for a stadium used by a baseball team shouldn’t ever be compared to a possible subway line.

      No one had the guys to stand up to the Brodsky’s of the world. In fact, they didn’t have the guts to stand up to these guys and went behind their backs to illegally value land and pass tax-exempt bonds with as little public input as possible.

      • Januz

        I was referring to The Metro North Station part of the Yankee Stadium Plan. This was planned since the 1920s, like the Second Ave Subway was.
        I have seen how inept the MTA has been down through the years, and I will believe stations will open when they open. No better example is the Cortland St station, closed since 9/11. Almost as pathetic is the Chambers St/ City Hall Station. The seat of goverment should have a first class station, not one looking like the Bowery Station on the “J”. Until they fix those two stations up, I cannot believe anything politicians say on transportation and construction issues.

        • http://nyfaninboston.blogspot.com/ Manimal

          Don’t Mess with Ben and his subways.

      • NY Yankee Fan

        The Yankees, not NY City or NY State, are paying for the stadium. The tax exempt bonds permit the team to borrow the money on better terms then without the designation. The State and City money is being used to improve public transportation around the stadium, with the most money being used to create a Metro-North station, which will solely be used to help upstaters coming from Westchester County — the area Brodsky represents. Of course, we do not hear a peep from Brodsky over whether this is a wise expediture of public money! No, he simply wants to interfere with the (big suprise when being rquired to use union labor in NY) the cost overruns in building the stadium itself. This is why the board that is going to vote on the issue is giving him the back of the hand and going forward with the vote anyway.

        We should keep in mind the context: Brodsky is trying to make a name for himself in case Andy Cuomo is picked for Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat. If that happens, the NY State legislature sitting as a single body pick the new Attorney General. Because there are more state assemblymembers then state senators, the person is pretty much always from the assembly. That is what happened recently when former Assemblymember DiNapoli became Comptroller this past year. It is also what happened when former Assemblymember Koppell became Attorney General a number of years ago.

        How much money has Brodsky tossed to fellow legislators to advance this dream od a statewide office? Nothing illegal, that is simply politics, but we should keep this stuff in mind when some politician is grandstanding on an issue.

  • Manimal

    Its just money.

    I still don’t think Any new york baseball team should have a new stadium right now, maybe 5-10 years.

    Football teams needed a stadium more so than Baseball teams, considering they share one.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      The new stadium in the Meadowlands is nearly finished.

      • http://nyfaninboston.blogspot.com/ Manimal

        Yeah I’m pretty excited. I was just saying, they got their priorities mixed up.

    • Januz

      The most important element in business is TIMING. No one can forecast the economy, inflation, interest rates, political climate, value of the dollar, taxpayer interest, bond market, and countless other things needed to create a stadium, five or ten years from now. The Yankees and the Mets were lucky to have gotten this accomplished when they did (Try being a Vikings, or Tampa Bay Rays fan. You have playoff teams, who could be out of town within the next five years, because of the difficulty in securing new stadiums).
      The Yankees are well ahead of the curve, compared to the Mets. They researched these issues thoroughly (As well as the artistic element of it (Limestone being used like the original 1923 Stadium)). Thus, invested a lot more in their stadium. But they will save in the long run over the El Cheapo approach at Citi Field, because they will not be upgrading 20 years from now, to the same degree the Mets will.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

        Ok. What are you talking about? The Mets’ stadium looks great as well. Take off the Yankee blinders here. You’re starting to sound like a ranting loon.

        • Joey H

          Eh. I pass by it a few times a week and it just isn’t as great looking as Yankee stadium, Fan bias aside. I don’t dig that look they went with.