Instead of my writing a belated blog today, I am posting a letter from Alan Goldstein which addresses legitimate concerns about "deals". It seems that the more reformation we have the less change there is.
Dear City Council Members,
In perusing the agenda for a Council meeting that I, and I expect many others, will not be able to attend, I notice once again a discussion for the conveyance of City-owned property to the Housing Authority. Somehow, in this city sleeping dogs are never permitted to lie.
Once again it seems the Housing Authority is being used as a middleman to get this property into the hands of unscrupulous developers. I even expect that the mislabeling of the property as “Block 24” is meant to throw us off the track. It is Block 247.
The South Avenue Gateway Project PILOT is also again on the agenda, so this must be the quid pro quo that the mayor referred to as, I recall, “extortion” when the PILOT was argued previously at a Special Meeting.
Unlike the last go-around for the property conveyance, this time the ‘developers-in-waiting’ are no longer appointed city officials. However the HAP chairwoman is still the daughter of one of these interested parties, and State ethics laws still apply, especially in light of the roundabout method suggested by the conveyance. I also re-note two other particulars: first, that the Housing Authority is only empowered pursuant to NJSA 40A:12A-16 (a) (3) and NJSA 40A:12A-22 (i) to acquire property in a designated redevelopment area, and second, the municipality is empowered to convey property for redevelopment only upon the adoption of a redevelopment plan (NJSA 40A:12A-6 (c) and NJSA 40A:12A-8 (g)).
I am continuously dismayed by the City’s inability to extricate itself from the muck of these underhanded machinations. As with the North Avenue demolition of last March with its bid shenanigans and the patently false claim of an ‘emergency’, there is no accountability, and profiteering always takes precedence over progress.