We have been generating quite the buzz around the District. A posted comment claims that we are working for Isaac Abraham. Doug Biviano published a polemic accusing us of being shills for the machine. He also believes that we are not real reformers because we focus on actual facts and believe that a City Council rep. should actually advance policies and legislation that are the purview of the Council. All of the above are wrong on Abraham, Theis and no commitment to real reform.
With that said, we think it only fair to turn back to Steve Levin and his relationship to Atlantic Yards. If Jo Anne Simon can be accused of conciliation (BrooklynSpeaks) and inaction (not helping with the legal fight), Levin’s record is one of collusion and now (conveniently) religious conversion.
It all goes back to 2007 when Levin was Vito Lopez’s Chief of Staff. The District needs to be reminded about it now. (Some would say it is earlier in the fall of 2006 when Vito Lopez received a total of $6,200 in campaign contributions from Michael Ratner and his wife. Lopez was facing a non-contest primary. Michael Rather is a bit of a sacred cow because of his great work at the Center for Constitutional Rights. But we will just leave it there.) In June 2007, however, Lopez oversaw final, final negotiations of the revised 421-a program. He was literally designated by Assembly Speaker Silver and now-indicted Sentate Leader Joe Bruno to hammer out the finishing touches on deal with New York Real Estate Board of New York executive Steven Spinola. The 421-a revision added to the exclusion area where developers would not get a tax break for building market-rate housing without including affordable units Unless, of course, you are Vito Lopez’s friend Bruce Ratner. Specifically, when the bill was being finalized, Lopez slipped in wording specifically tailored for Ratner. The language gave an estimated minimum of $100 million in real estate tax exemptions and as much as $170 million for the market-rate condos. The deal also provided no obligation to build affordable housing in Atlantic Yard condominium buildings, which added again to Ratner’s bottom line.
Levin has now supposedly professed found religion by opposing the project. But we seriously question his conversion given the sell out he presided over as Vito Lopez’s Chief of Staff.