Let's Do Away With Backroom Deals
Nov 19, 2008 | 28933 views | 0 0 comments | 2617 2617 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In a stunning reversal of fortune for the chop-shoppers and gear-heads of Willets Point, Councilman Hiram Monserrate, who had long supported the right of the small businesses in the underserved Iron Triangle of Queens, struck a deal with Mayor Michael Bloomberg to bulldoze the plot of land and put in a new shopping mall with affordable housing reaching to the sky.

Or so we’re told.

Pol Position is never one to question the ethics of our political leaders, so we’ll assume that the change of heart on the part of the councilman was due to some ferocious, heart-pounding backroom negotiations that was pushed past the breaking point and could only be resolved on the day before the City Council voted on the controversial plan, rather than some kind of last-ditch effort to appease the Bloomberg administration before the councilman skitters off to the State Senate.

We sincerely hope that Monserrate’s deal with the city truly benefits the business owners and employees at Willets Point, and honestly, we have few reasons to think it won’t work out for those plucky workers who thrived in what amounts to an uninhabitable (and somewhat radioactive) footprint left by Godzilla as he stumbled, trying not to step in the stinking mess that is the New York Mets.

(For our younger readers who may not be familiar with the references in that last paragraph, Godzilla is like a more awesome Cloverfield and the Mets are a baseball team that consistently chokes as the end of the regular season.)

But, in the spirit of exciting, down-to-the-wire decisions, we’d love to take a look at some other recent City Council decisions and see how they might have played out if there had been some two-fisted, forehead vein-bursting negotiations. And we mean negotiations with a capital “N,” although we’re almost certain that the capital letter will have been removed by our copy editors by the time this reaches publication.

Since we’re on one point, we might as well start with the other. We refer, of course, to Hunters Point. This development, though as grand in scale as the Willets Point Project, if not grander, was generally unopposed by the greater community and faced little trouble in the City Council.

But, a struggling council member looking to make a name for themselves could have taken up the cause of the soon to be displaced Water Taxi Beach, the one that we dig the heck out of and hope can stay there (or somewhere!) forever.

Perhaps the fate of the entire, multi-million dollar project could have rested on the outcome of a boating race around the world between Councilman Eric Gioia and the best captain that Water Taxi Beach has to offer.

Both cabins would be stocked with a crew of beautiful girls and one old-fashioned, packed powder pistol, so that the two captains can shoot at each other, but only very slowly. We can imagine that this race, if broadcast live and nonstop on a local news channel, would be the highest-rated program among Pol Position writers and boating enthusiasts.

And of course, there is the extraordinarily controversial Atlantic Yards Project, a development that has already been, and will likely continue to be, the subject of last-minute backroom shenanigans and explosive debate. In fact, the only way to make the ongoing saga of the stalled basketball stadium more exciting would be to determine the outcome of the project through a basketball game featuring an all-star squad of Brooklyn’s best city and state legislators.

Divided up by their opinions on the divisive project, the people of New York would love to see our politicians “take it to the hole” instead of “talking about the whole resolution, point by point, after a lengthy hearing.” If this were to happen, though we’d have to give the edge to whichever team Councilman Bill de Blasio decides he wants to be on (most assume pro-Atlantic Yards) looks like he can take anyone to town, and we hear it from a very reliable source that Bloomberg has mad hops.

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