Mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio has had strong words for the Bloomberg administration, but when it comes to renewing New York City’s housing stock, both men are in agreement. Like Bloomberg, de Blasio sees a speedy surge in building as the key to growing New York’s economy and controlling its housing costs.
According to the Wall Street Journal, de Blasio’s staunch pro-development stance has helped assuage fears in the real estate industry that the Democratic candidate would be bad for business.
However, de Blasio told the Journal that he would differ from Bloomberg by taking “a more rigorous approach that focuses on community benefits like creating infrastructure like affordable housing, like local jobs, hiring for local residents. And I think we just need to do a lot better job at driving a hard bargain with the real estate industry.”
Still, many sense a tension in de Blasio’s support for real estate development and his campaign’s focus on reducing income inequality.
“The whole thing is a joke to us that people are looking at this guy as if he cares about the community,” said Marlene Donnelly, a member of Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus, an organization that got the Gowanus Canal designated a Superfund site — something de Blasio opposed. “I don’t find any step of the way that he’s actually been on our side here.”
Moreover, despite his vocal criticism of “slumlords” and his denunciation of the city’s approach to the homeless, it was recently revealed that the public advocate accepted $35,000 worth of donations from a group of landlords that earned millions of dollars operating homeless shelters. [WSJ] –Christopher Cameron