To The Editor:
Re “Former Schumer aide challenges Connor in Senate race” (news article, Jan. 18 24):
How telling of Sen. Connor that he has been in office for 30 years and the only thing he can do when challenged is disparage his opponent. Not only does Sen. Connor criticize his opponent, he attacks his opponent’s family as well. It is extremely disappointing. Despite what Sen. Connor’s spokesman states, “Democrats winning control of the Senate” is not the only major change that is needed in Albany. The culture of Albany including the power-centric legislative process in Albany, including empty-seat voting (which still goes on the State Senate) must be changed. Daniel Squadron will be a 100 percent full-time state senator, not a part-time senator, part-time election lawyer as Sen. Connor has always been. Finally, as vice-chairman of the New York State Young Democrats Labor Caucus, I found Sen. Connor’s assertion that Daniel Squadron is anti-labor not only ridiculous, but also insulting. A Democratic majority is not the only change that is required in the State Senate electing a senator who will put the needs and interests of the people first is also needed.
To The Editor:
Your recent article by Josh Rogers on the New York Senate race very poignantly sheds light on Sen. Connor’s misgivings while casting an ominous shadow on his political future. For Sen. Connor to dismiss Mr. Squadron as nothing more than a “kid” sounds to me like the pontificating of a politician who is seeking to divert attention from a broken system of which he is part. Go get ‘em kid.
We’re still in it
To The Editor:
We have been dismayed by recent articles and editorials in The Villager and Downtown Express claiming that the Hudson River Park Trust considers The People’s Pier “financially unviable” and “no longer...under consideration because of its financial uncertainty” (Downtown Express news article and editorial, Jan. 18 24, “Reading Trust’s tea leaves, Pier 40 group is hopeful,” and “We turn to Quinn on Pier 40”). According to the Trust, they never said any such thing.
In fact, we believe The People’s Pier is the only financially viable solution available for Pier 40. It is an environmentally friendly, low-impact plan that enhances the structure and benefits the community. Under our plan, approximately 85 percent of the pier’s activity will be made up of community amenities and public/non-profit spaces. It will qualify for tax-exempt bond financing, minimizing any exposure to the crisis in the private credit markets. Additionally, our developer equity is documented, in writing, to the Trust. Our most recent submission to the Trust includes a revised construction budget with an additional $50 million, which includes a substantial contingency fund.
Our project will fix the pier, generate rent and payment in lieu of taxes payments for the Trust, pay for all the expenses of maintaining the pier, and return a profit to our investors, all while providing free use of educational and recreational space for thousands of New York City children. Our project does not require any public funds and, although we will actively seek an extended lease, it is viable with a 30-year lease term. There is no question that our proposal is a low-impact, community-oriented plan, more modest in its uses, construction and finances. But moderation is not a bad thing, especially given today’s economic environment. Finally, as a formal proposal in response to the request for proposals, our plan can be enacted upon designation, limiting any construction escalations or uncertainties.
Misinformation and rumor have been a part of the Pier 40 process from the beginning. We have asked the Trust if they made any official comments on our financial viability, and their answer was a categorical “no.” If you have other information, we would like the chance to see it and respond.
If however, it is just rumor, we urge you to set the record straight. We would welcome the chance to answer any questions you might have. The future of Pier 40 is at hand. The best way forward can only be reached by separating fact from fiction, so that choices can be made based on real information. With a readership so invested in the pier’s future, we ask that you be a part of that process.
Mark Benerofe and Jai Nanda
The writers are respectively with CampGroup and Urban Dove, which developed the People’s Pier plan.
Editor’s Note: Downtown Express has reported what was being widely discussed regarding the Trust’s earlier assessment of the People’s Pier plan’s lack of financial viability. More recently, people close to the decision-making process, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Downtown Express that the Hudson River Park Trust was no longer considering this plan as a viable choice the People’s Pier proposal.
In addition, Diana Taylor, the Trust’s chairperson, and Carol Ash, a Trust board member and the state Parks commissioner, told Downtown Express in the fall that they recommended that the Pier 40 Partnership, a new group interested in the pier, meet with Related Companies, which has a competing proposal. The two board members made little mention of the People’s Pier proposal in the interviews.
Downtown Express welcomes letters to The Editor. They must include the writer’s first and last name, a phone number for confirmation purposes only, and any affiliation that relates directly to the letter’s subject matter. Letters should be less than 300 words. Downtown Express reserves the right to edit letters for space, clarity, civility or libel reasons. Letters should be e-mailed to news@DowntownExpress.com or can be mailed to 145 Sixth Ave., N.Y., N.Y. 10013.