Tuesday, February 15, 2005

I Love James Dolan

Not that there is anything wrong with that...

Ok, get your mind out of the gutter. The owner of both Madison Square Garden and Cablevision is set to ruin the plans of Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Pataki, the NY Jets, and all the other proponents of NYC 2012. Call him selfish, jealous and cruel, and I still admire him for what he's doing, while agreeing to your every word about his character.

You know why? Not because I care either way about job creation, NYC chances for the 2012 Olympics, having the Jets nearby, etc. I'm actually ambivalent on the those, because job creation isn't the business of the government and will happen regardless of who develops the site. I don't care much about spectator sports, so I have no motive for supporting the stadium plans. What irks me though, is that there never was an open bidding process for the land, and that the bureaucracy have been trying to ramrod this thru, without considering the costs to the taxpayers.

The Jets "appraised" the value of the land to be about $30 million dollars. They offered $100 million to the MTA for it. The MTA first valued it to be about $300 million. In comes James Dolan, and offers $600 million for the development rights, and he's even willing to spend the $250-$315 million more just to build the platform over the railyards! Kalikow had no choice but to save face and admit that the land is worth almost a billion dollars. This hasn't exactly been an open-bid, but a perfect example of bureaucrats doing what they do best; deciding how to best squander taxpayer funds on the "common good".

The "common good" has been used for everything between eminent domain and the nazi's rounding up of jews and gypsies for the gas chambers. It's time to teach people that there is no such thing as the "common good", or at least in how they envision it's coming about. "Common good" means nothing to me, other than a soundbite used by those who use force to bring about their goals, noble or not.

If this was a real bidding war between the Jets and everyone else, I wouldn't mind so much. In that case, Mayor Bloomberg might have to put up his own money to fund such a "noble pursuit". I would even commend his actions. After all, he would be an entrepreneur wishing to make a handsome profit on what he believes is an incredible opportunity to provide for the "common good". So why does he need to use taxpayer money? Only because it is expedient, to force taxpayers to "buy" the stadium for him thru the power afforded by his office.

The worst part about this is that Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Pataki don't even have a clear understanding with the Jets as to whom will pick up what costs. Afterall, a billion here, a billion there, who gives a damn when you rob the taxpayers for your pet projects.

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