Wednesday, April 22, 2009

COUNCILMAN BILL DEBLASIO: A Public betrayal of the worst possible kind; No public advocate here to be found!

Today, on Earth Day, no less, Bill DeBlasio, finally answered the question posed on the blog, Pardon Me for Asking, ..’What is Bill DeBlasio Advocating for the Gowanus Canal?’

His answer appears today, (see link for full story) in a Daily News article by Erin Durkin…and guess what?

The man who would (wants to really badly) be PUBLIC ADVOCATE for the entire City Of New York, thinks that it is just dandy to keep the federal government, the ONLY ones who have the resources to do this job right, out of the picture.

His reasoning? ….”the Feds will just get in the way…”

How? With the 600,000,000 (yes, MILLION) EXTRA DOLLARS, that has recently been allocated through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009? The following is directly from the EPA website—see the entire post at

“EPA will use the $600 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (“Recovery Act”) to help clean up Superfund sites across the nation. The funding will accelerate ongoing cleanup activities or initiate new construction projects at 50 Superfund sites, boosting local economies by creating and maintaining jobs while also protecting human health and the environment. “

Let’s not forget that those monies, which may be available only to already listed sites, are in addition to what is already available in that Superfund “pot”. Not only is that NOT an obstruction---it’s a darned good start.

Did we all not hear Walter Mugdan, of the EPA, tell us at the meeting and on Brian Leher’s radio show the following morning that the United States Environmental Protection Agency considers the Gowanus Canal the highest of priorities? That they would really like to pursue this?

So then, we can only assume that the thought of all of that money piled up that high is blocking Mr. DeBlasio’s view of the Federal Government’s program. However, you would still think that our local Councilman, gifted with superior height, would be able to stand on tippy toe and see well enough that the conditions of the entire area require COMPREHENSIVE attention; not, however well intentioned (or rapid), piecemeal pea shots when the big guns are what we really need.

Reason #2---“We, locally, have gotten our act together….”

Translation: Our Councilman, the Bloomberg Administration, the Toll Brothers and whoever else wants that development (and whatever else may be in the works that we don’t know about yet) at any and all costs---- are going to say that the city can handle this without the Feds. This administration has had very close to eight years. There has been a ton of money spent on what basically offers the equivalent of a drop in the bucket to addressing the enormously putrid stew that is the Gowanus Canal. What could they possibly come up with, especially in these economically strapped times, that is going to be better than what the Feds and their many, many, many millions can offer?

Locally, they are content to do a partial, cosmetic remediation that does not address the great scope of the problem. They have decided that they will say, “No, thank-you” to the one program that does. ……. plus, they are willing to say it loudly enough to drown out the voices of science, academia and just plain old common sense.

No one is ungrateful or unappreciative of all of the efforts---it is just hideously apparent that they have been and are inadequate. Even the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has thrown up its hands and admits that neither it nor a combination of state and city resources is enough to correctly address this situation. That is why DEC’s, Commissioner Grannis made the decision to finally request that the site be put on the National Priorities List.

Reason #3----“You don’t want to drink out of it, you don’t want to eat fish out of it, but it is not a danger to live near it.”

This one almost takes your breath away……What kind of representative of any constituency advocates for literally, sweeping the dioxins, toxins, carcinogens, pathogens and fecal matter under the rug when there is an entire pantry full of tools that Uncle Sam has at his disposal and he is standing there offering to help?

You would think that one would DEMAND that proper measures to correct the problem, AT ITS SOURCE, accepting absolutely NOTHING SHORT OF THAT, before placing residents on the banks of it, would be one’s response. You would think, that one would embrace with both arms and legs anyone willing to take on such a task.

Apparenty, not our guy.

Reason #4----“We are being sold a bill of goods”.

A Ha! Something that rings true. The situation according to Councilman DeBlasio, as we understand it:

 It is not important to take on the entire problem and address it at its source.
 We don’t need you, Uncle Sam, your hundreds of millions of dollars, your tools, your expertise, or your experience. Go away! We have it totally under control.
 The fact that the most hazardous waste materials lurk in and around that canal is no reason why people should not live there. Let’s populate it now!
 We are planning to dredge 1000 whole feet of 10,000 feet of contaminated waterway. What more do you want?
 We are going to get that pumping/flushing station working again—it won’t be perfect, it will not address the ooze of contamination that will continue to leak into the water from all of the other upland sites, but it will visibly push that filth around…once we get it going, of course. So what’s wrong with that?
 Look, it has taken over 100 years of industrial waste and neglect to get that canal in the shape it is today. It is not worth the time to do it right. We want to do a minimal amount of work, on the sections we like the best, as quickly as possible. We will throw some paint and perfume on that pig and introduce it is a swan. Isn’t that what everybody really wants?

Congratulations, Councilman, on your appointment as Head Bill of Goods Salesman.

You have disappointed this community before, Sir, but this is a betrayal of the worst possible kind.



With the "Protect Our Homes" petition, CORD was formed in May, 2007. This petition arose as an overwhelmingly negative response to the coming of the over-sized 360 Smith Street Development at the corner of Smith Street and Second Place (Aka Oliver House; aka 131 Second Place). This petition, which had well over three thousand signatures, led to a new zoning text amendment in summer of 2008.

To: Our Elected Officials, Community Leaders, The MTA:
(MAY, 2007)

We the undersigned Carroll Gardens homeowners and residents, are appalled by the "as of right" ruling which allows owners and developers to erect buildings in our neighborhood with no regard to the impact they will present to our quality of life and the value of our homes........