Monday, February 14, 2005

City Council Speaker Gifford Miller at CLS

Speaker Gifford Miller visited CLS today to speak about his opposition to the Westside Stadium proposal advocated by Mayor Bloomberg, along with other challenges facing the City.

One of the Speaker's biggest objections is the financial burden; Speaker Gifford estimated that the project budget potentially pushes $1B of the costs onto the shoulders of New Yorkers. And while the City's capital budget would be deferred to build the stadium, Mayor Bloomberg has cut capital funding for new public schools.

Another fundamental problem, according to Speaker Gifford, is the lack of City Council review; the Stadium proposal and its funding mechanisms will not be subject to Council vote, but rather to binding (secret, closed) arbitration. In addition, he states, the price has been unfairly manipulated: the Jets want a $35M price tag, which wildly undervalues the property. There has been no public competitive bidding process, either, so we have no idea whether the Jets truly are the only ones who want to build on 12 acres by the Hudson River.

Speaker Gifford says that if elected mayor, he would put education and other public priorities ahead of the stadium. He is prepared to fight against the stadium, which he says would be "disastrous."

Preservation and expansion of affordable housing and the fiscal burden of homeland security unfunded mandates were addressed in the question session.

The event was sponsored by the Columbia Democrats, the Columbia Political Union, and the American Constitution Society.

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