2009-08-28 / Letters

David Yassky And The Waterfront Committee

Dear Editor,

I was watching the debate between David Yassky, Melinda Katz, John Liu and David Weprin for City Comptroller Sunday morning on Channel 7. I don't know very much about Liu or Weprin, but I know a little about Katz and a lot about Yassky.

Yassky spoke a lot about special interests during the debate, and, well, no one knows more about special interests than Yassky himself. I have been trying since 2002 to get him to respond to any one of the numerous letters I've written him in reference to the waterfronts, but to no avail. Yassky was the chairman of the waterfront committee of the city council, and nothing happened on the waterfronts without the go ahead of that committee. Only about a week ago we read about the waterfront commissioners of New Jersey and New York resigned in disgrace. Not only did they resign, but their entire staffs quit. Now that's big, but not big enough to stop Yassky from running for Comptroller. My gripe is that the developers were privatizing all the waterfronts they could get their hands on and building in such a way that only the new residents of those new buildings had access to the water.

The policy was an outrageous violation of the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 CZMA, but Yassky rolled out the red carpet for the developers, and there he was on the tube spouting about how he was going to handle special interest groups. In the beginning when I first started writing to him nothing changed. Then I found out that all seven of the committee members were lawyers, including our own Joseph Addabbo. I started writing to all of them, and not one of them responded. Then I wrote to the bar association and many agencies of the federal government and in particular National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, because NOAA has oversight and enforcement powers in Coastal Zone Boundaries. NOAA works as partners with the state Coastal Management Program, CMP and the city Waterfront Revitalization Program, WRP. Shortly after that the lawyers fled the waterfront committee like rats on an abandoned or drowning ship. Not a single one of them remains on the waterfront committee today.

As for Melinda Katz, she was on the Land Use Committee that decided the fate of Arverne by the Sea. Katz, like all the rest of the Committee, approved the project despite knowing that they were violating federal law by giving their blessings to the project. Do you like what we got in Arverne? To me it looks like a kid's basement with toys thrown around everywhere, and a good blast of wind would blow the entire project off the map. But that is another story for another day.

If you'd like Yassky to be in charge of the 90 billion dollars of pensioner money, you go ahead and vote for him. There's an old saying in Ireland. You hang together, or you hang separately. Yassky choose the first option.

JOHN BAXTER

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