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5/28/2001: ON THE QT #4

WELCOME

to On The Qt #4. More funnies about morally bankrupt zanies cutting capers in the halls of government and on the nearby corner. Before the laff riot commences let's review QT's raison d'etre. QT is non partisan. Neither the left nor the right has a lock on political reform. The urgent need for

REFORM

is producing a movement unto itself. From the neighborhood to the national, Spring cleaning is in order.

OOPS!

QT erred in #3. We gave Mayor Bret Schundler of jumping Jersey City an extra "t" and we placed a would be 60 story development atop Midtown Manhattan's Biltmore Theater-- as opposed to next door. Yipes! Given current construction standards (and cutbacks in NYC building inspections) a tower atop the Biltmore might have meant curtains for theater goers. A spirited dance routine could have sent tremors rippling through sandcastle foundations. And speaking of

HOUSES BUILT ON SAND

consider Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler as presented by the New York Times in "An Impolitic Republican Runs Against Trenton's Grain". Schundler is making a run for New Jersey Governor. The Times story paints him as a stand alone success story tweaking the noses of New Jersey's middle of the road Republican politicians. A sort of neocon
ABBIE HOFFMAN. Bundled unpaid tax liens! Sold them to Wall Street! Cut municipal taxes! Promoted school vouchers! Reelected to a second term by a landslide! Trouble with the Times account is that the successes touted either took place at the beginning of Schundler's 10 year old administration or didn't happen at all. Take the

LANDSLIDE REELECTION.

Actually a runoff in which a inexperienced unknown came close to beating Schundler in the primary. By the final race a shaken Schundler marshaled major developer bucks to financially overwhelm his opponent. After a decade of Schundler, Jersey City's economy rests almost entirely on waterfront development. The result is two cities: there's the Gold Coast and then there's the rest. Long time financial and organizational municipal weaknesses go unaddressed. The poor (particularly the elderly) fear rampant crime in neighborhoods they can't afford to leave. Schundler's constituents rate him an overall C+. This in a poll taken by the Jersey Journal, a newspaper that thanks Bret every day for making Jersey City good enough to be New York City's bedroom. Is Schundler a successful model for governor of a densely populated state like New Jersey? A state with notably troubled cities?
Cities like

HISTORIC TRENTON?

New Jersey's capital is a once proud city (Trenton Makes, The World Takes) that now evokes Berlin at the end of WW2. New Jersey prosperity has swept by Trenton leaving it high and dry on a rock of shrinking population, crime and decimated housing. Despite rich Revolutionary War history, spectacular architecture and proximity to the Delaware River. Given his urban record would "Governor" Schundler be good for Trenton? Or for Camden? Or Asbury Park? None of these cities have Wall Street across the way...

WHY

don't actual conditions in urban neighborhoods count when assessing urban politicians? How is their success measured? To paraphrase George Soros, it may be that when a society can no longer agree on values, the only common measure left standing
is money. After toting up the campaign
contributions, development funds,
HUD grants etc. the biggest hustler gets the most points. Who cares whether the money bought any real improvements for residents of urban neighborhoods? And publications like

MONEY MAGAZINE

are always ready to declare cities guided by a grifters "most livable". Money Magazine endorsements are like those suspect restaurant reviews that use euphemisms such as "casual dining" for "what a dump". And while on the topic of dubious claims;

COLLEGE TOWN

is how Mayor Jerry Jennings of Albany, New York likes to envision a certain downtown strip. Andy Hardy town-- not. College towns feature book stores, bike shops, health food restaurants, coffee bars, etc. Though a few of these hang on bravely, the area's main trade seems to be of another kind. Hookers and drug dealers work the strip studiously. After late night grind sessions one can pop into a convenience store. Like the nearby ones that turned out to be in the drug biz. And we're not talking No Doz. But Burgermeister Jennings is working on revitalization. An infusion of development
funds will cure all ills. Oh. Wait. One of the
DRUGS-R-US convenience stores already received
a $139,000 HUD Enterprise Community grant, a $75,000 loan from the Albany Local Development Corp. and a $25,000 loan from the Capital District Community Loan Fund. But Mayor Jennings has a secret college town

CLEAN UP WEAPON!

He'll be applying it broadly any day now. No, it's not the Claudia Schiffer Edition Palm Pilot. It's those provisions announced in the Spring of 1999 by NYS Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and Mayor Jennings in a joint press conference. Provisions included in the State Executive Law and Real Property Law which "with help from city government" can result in court proceedings against landlords who "ignore neighbors reports of drug dealing or allow their properties to crumble and flagrantly violate the building and housing codes".

STRANGE

how some politicos believe saying so makes it so. It's how they become subjects of websites. Another way is by acting like bullies gone bananas. At a business breakfast in Manhattan, Mayor Rudy Guiliani held up Tommy Trout, an animated plastic
SINGING FISH mounted on a plaque. Mr.Trout sang "Joy To The World". Rudy was appearing before a group of developers, hoteliers and culture barons he hopes will help him crush the west side of Manhattan beneath a gargantuan sports stadium. Why the faux fish? Seems Hizzoner was making a little joke about how no spawning fish would stop the stadium. Not like the Westway highway project-- where environmental concerns for fish love life in the Hudson quashed developer wet dreams. "The last frontier for developers" is how Iron Rudy and minions droolingly describe the low rise section of midtown Manhattan west of 9th Avenue. The stadium where Rudy hopes to stage his 2014 Olympiad is seen by locals as the ultimate displacement tool. But political support for the kazillion dollar project is by no means firm. So put your fish away, Rudy. And save the spawning talk for Judith. Meanwhile Ohio Congressman James Traficant's posterior had a

CLOSE ENCOUNTER

with an elephant. The Congressman from the northeast rustbelt area of Ohio has been indicted on 10 counts of bribery and racketeering. Accusations include his making his office workers bale hay and build a corral. The charges are politically motivated claims Democrat Traficant, saying "An elephant jumped up and bit me in the ass". That explains the hay. But the corral? Ever notice when corruptoids are caught (Hillary!) they always blame enemies with political agendas? Earth to Corruptoids: who else would rat you out? Your mother? It's all part of the checks and balances tango. A dance made more
lively by

LOVELY WEBSITES & COMING ATTRACTIONS

Some sites that shine are included at the end of QT. This new OT feature will appear in each issue and can be found on QT's website. And don't forget your free website HUD buck! Coming attractions: Summer Shark Alert-- Predatory Mortgage Practices/Corruptoid Updates/Cities on The Edge of Tomorrow/Booze Barn Patrons Run Wild/Proved--Boom Cars Cause Cancer/HUD's Historic Hovels/and more more more!

"An America with two legal standards is an America with no legal standards"
Ohio Congressman
James "Tote That Bale" Traficant

"...since 1974, Buffalo, New York has received... about 598 million over 26 years from the HUD Community Development Block Grant. We believe that less than 20% of these funds have been spent on inner city development projects. In other words, city leaders have turned the Robin Hood thesis upside down. They rob from the poor to give to the rich."
Professor Henry Louis Taylor, Jr.

SHINING SITES
http://thecyberhood.net A beautifully designed site covering urban issues. Lots of helpful info. An inspiring antidote for urban despair.

http://www.stopbretschundler.com From the general to the particular. An incredibly well researched site seething with political antipathy for one particular mayor of one particular city. We need a site like this in every city where public officials don't do their job. The first amendment at its inflammatory best. While in Jersey City make sure to drop in on http://www.balcer.com for one of the most ridiculous photographs of a politician ever. Also an impressive example of financial oversight by a fearless
local gadfly.

http://hellskitchen.net/ A neighborhood (and what a neighborhood) covered in depth with great clarity. Complex issues are made clear without being made simplistic. Lots of Manhattan flavor and an obvious love for the area covered.

http://www.thegoldenear.com/ In honor of the beginning of the Summer, when what used to be patriotic holidays are now noisy drunken brawls, we spotlight a site focused on the issue of noise: the numero uno quality of life issue in cities across the USA. This site's creator was featured in the Smithsonian magazine offering a bowl of earplugs.

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Copyright (c) 2005 by Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff. This material may be freely distributed subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the Open Publication License. This license relieves the author of any liability or implication of warranty, grants others permission to use the Content in whole or in part, and insures that the original author will be properly credited when Content is used. It also grants others permission to modify and redistribute the Content if they clearly mark what changes have been made, when they were made, and who made them. Finally, the license insures that if someone else bases a work on this Content, that the resultant work will be made available under the Open Publication License as well.


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