Volume 21, Number 27 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | November 14 -20, 2008
Julie loves Christie Community Board 1 chairperson Julie Menins appearances on national TV are becoming so routine we thought wed stop mentioning them, but we couldnt pass this one up.
In a spirited talk on Larry King Live before last weeks election, Menin said instead of Sarah Palin, John McCain would have been better off picking any one of a few more experienced, more moderate women including Christie Todd Whitman. That sums up the national view of Whitman, but many other Downtowners remember her better and not so fondly as the E.P.A. administrator who infamously declared the post-9/11 Lower Manhattan air safe to breathe before she had scientific evidence to back up the claim. She also let the White House shape the air quality message, silencing the cautions of E.P.A. scientists.
Youtube searchers can find the clip by looking for comedian Stephanie Miller, who joined with Menin as they were repeatedly interrupted by Palin defenders Kellyanne Conway and Janine Turner.
2 bits for Growth?
We thought the bottom had fallen out of General Growth Properties stock (that was around the time it hit $1.97 a share at the end of October), but it turns out that that was just the beginning.
The international mall owner and South St. Seaport developers stock fell below 50 cents Tuesday and dipped below a quarter Wednesday, after General Growth said Monday that it was considering filing for bankruptcy. It closed at 35 cents Wednesday. General Growth has $27 billion of debt, nearly a billion of which is due by Dec. 1. Add that to another $3 billion coming due next year, the shrinking credit markets and dismal retail sales, and it doesnt take an expert to figure out that General Growth is in trouble.
But the experts seem to agree. On Tuesday, Standard & Poors said it would remove General Growth from its S&P 500 stock index. At $128 million, G.G.P.s market value was the lowest on the index, Reuters reported. The stock has lost more than 99 percent of its value from its 52-week high of $51.24 a share.
It remains to be seen how all of this turmoil will affect the South St. Seaport, where General Growth is planning a massive redevelopment that is just entering a lengthy approvals process.
Our intent is to continue as developer, Jim Graham, G.G.P.s corporate spokesperson, said in an e-mail from Chicago. Thats why we have invested so much in working with world-class planning experts and with the community to create our proposals . Approving the plan now sets the stage for development later when the economy improves.
The economy may not have improved fast enough for UnderCovers friends over at Edelman, the firm doing public relations for General Growth. Edelmans contract with General Growth was up as of Nov. 1, and General Growth declined to renew it, which means spokespeople Dave Vermillion and Vanessa Palo are now off the job.
Whos bad? State Senator-elect Dan Squadron is a bad bad man according to Steve Lewis, who posted a last minute Election Day column on blackbookmag.com, a blog which likes the nightlife baby. Lewis doesnt take kindly to Squadrons idea to give community boards the right to veto liquor license applications on blocks with a lot of bars and residents.
David Rabin, who heads the New York Nightlife Association, posted a message on the column saying he had just found out about Squadrons position and since it was long after the decisive Democratic primary, he figured the best thing is to try and educate Squadron to all of the job and tourist benefits of clubs. Hey David, you could have read about the plan in Downtown Express months ago.
Lewis appeared convinced by Rabins optimism, later posting that Squadron is obviously bright. Lets hope for the best as nightlife is in serious trouble.
One Downtowner who has fought his share of bars said Squadron should take it as good news to be denounced by the nightlife industry.
Squadron, who once owned a bar near Columbia University, said it does not augur well if the industry is hostile to rational community planning.
Never mind We had to smile when we saw a picture in the Tribeca Trib of a happy Deborah Glick chanting yes we can at an Obama fundraiser. Back in June after Hillary Clinton endorsed Barack Obama, the Downtown assemblymember was not so enthusiastic. She did say then she would endorse the Democratic nominee, but she said many were still angry that Obama disrespected Clinton, particularly when he said Clinton was likeable enough.
Women always have that problem, Glick told our best buds at Scoopys Notebook, published by The Villager. If youre strong and clear, youre a bitch. Men are masterful, but women are a bitch. You have to be twice as smart and twice as tough and, yeah, women are pissed.
At the fundraiser, Glick reportedly implored the crowd to send Sarah Palin back to Alaska to face the music! Palin apparently wasnt as smart and tough as the men in the race.
Beep Stringer II
It's official: Borough President Scott Stringer is running for reelection. Before the City Council voted in favor of extending term limits for the mayor, themselves and the city's other electeds, Stringer, who had been the only beep in the city not facing limits next year, was thinking of trying for public advocate, but he announced last week that he intends to stay where he is. Like Mayor Bloomberg, Stringer cited the "unprecedented financial crisis" as part of the reason why he needs to stay in office.