While there are some aspects of Mayor Bloomberg’s tenure as mayor that may leave a laudable legacy, his partnership with 21 term-limited City Council persons to overturn twice-public-supported term limits will not be among them. Nor will his abysmal record in support of small business and his contempt for local community boards (“Bans to tech funds: the mayor’s legacy” and “Bloomberg’s record on business is mixed,” Editorial, Dec. 12).
Not only did he ignore the overwhelming majority of community boards 7 and 3 (48 votes against and 24 in favor) that did not approve the Mets ball club and The Related Companies manipulation of the Willets Point project approved in 2008 so as to allow a 1.4 million-square-foot shopping mall at Citi Field, but he also ignored the fact such a mall will wreak havoc on all the small businesses on Northern Boulevard, Roosevelt Avenue, 108th Street and other shopping areas.
He engineered an enormous taxpayer give away to multibillionaires in connection with Willets Point. He closed his eyes to the fact the Citi Field parking area is in fact part of Flushing Meadows Corona Park and refused to compel the shopping mall developers to replace parkland. He refused to accept the fact a mall is a radical change of use from that of a parking lot and required a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure; all of this for the benefit of big business. He is forcing the eviction of many small businesses from Willets Point without their getting other places to which to relocate. He justified the Willets Point project on the basis the area was a blight, ignoring the fact it was the city that caused the blight by collecting taxes and failing to install sewers and repair the infrastructure.
Perhaps most egregious of all in his romance with real estate moguls is his failure to understand small businesses are not only the backbone of our economy, but, unlike big-box mall stores whose profits are often posted to head offices located far from New York City, their money stays and is spent in our communities. Bloomberg’s legacy will surely include a lack of care or interest in the poor, the middle class and small businesses and may well exceed those things that could be considered laudable.