Tag Archives: Ronald Lauder

Scissura: Practice What You Preach

2010 NYC Charter Revision Commission

The 2010 NYC Charter Revision Commission spent much of its July 12 meeting agonizing over ways to restore the public’s faith in government and increase voter participation. It did not acknowledge that voter apathy may stem from the public’s resignation that billionaires will continue to control the Mayor’s office, and that selection of City Council members may make little difference in shaping City Hall’s major decisions.

The webcast meeting had been convened to discuss the commission staff’s July 9 preliminary report. But as quickly as the staff’s proposal for instant run-off voting — IRV — appeared on the pages of that report, it got jettisoned when chairman Matthew Goldstein’s colleagues complained that they never had discussed it. Continue reading

Matthew Goldstein: NYC Needs Real Estate Development

Matthew Goldstein

Chairman Matthew Goldstein used a discussion about community benefits agreements (CBAs) at the charter revision commission’s June 24 Land Use forum in Queens to voice his conviction that real estate development and growth are essential to New York City’s economic future. He did not use the session to reveal which issues his commission will place on November’s ballot.

CBAs are “side deals” by which a real estate developer may agree to provide a public benefit to a community group, e.g., jobs, loans, unrelated contracts, in return for its support of a project. They are unregulated private agreements, negotiated by private parties outside of the ULURP framework, and can substantially increase a project’s cost. Continue reading

Charter Revision: Hints of What’s to Come

Matthew Goldstein

Past practice suggests that charter revision chair Matthew Goldstein will use the commission’s June 24 forum on Land Use to signal what his panel will focus on as it moves into summer.

We — and others — have criticized the NYC Charter Revision Commission’s calendar, which delays publication of land use proposals until July. This is too late for most community boards to draw residents to public hearings to comment on any proposed changes. The commission must submit its final proposals to the City Clerk by Labor Day to get them on November’s ballot. Continue reading

Charter Revision: No Lauder?

Elizabeth Benjamin reports that billionaire businessman Ron Lauder, principal sponsor of the 1990s referendums that restricted NYC elected officials to two 4-year terms, has declined to serve on Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s anticipated 2010 charter revision commission. If confirmed, Lauder’s withdrawal may mean that he expects the Bloomberg commission to seek to ratify last year’s City Council legislation that extended the limits to three consecutive terms—or maybe even to try to eliminate term limits entirely.

Staten Island Advance Calls for Independent Charter Commission

In a February 13 editorial, the Staten Island Advance gloomily speculated about the prospect of Mayor Bloomberg’s friend, Billionaire Ronald Lauder, serving as chair of Bloomberg’s anticipated 2010 charter revision commission, and said “The chairman, we believe, should be someone who is totally independent of the mayor as well as other city officials — someone who has no dog in the charter revision fight. It’s the mayor’s commission, but its work will outlast this particular mayor.”

Our comment: “The Advance is right on the mark in criticizing NYC’s one-size-fits-all approach to government, and in calling for an independent charter revision commission. The key, however, will not be the identity of the commission’s chair, but the identity of its executive director. This is who heads up the staff, sets the agenda for the commissioners, and shapes the information that gets out to the press and the public.”

Lauder May be Charter Chairman

Ronald Lauder

Judy Randall of silive.com reports that a “well-placed source” says that billionaire businessman Ronald Lauder will be named as the chair of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s 2010 charter revision commission.

Lauder was the principal sponsor of the NYC term limits law rescinded by the City Council before Mayor Bloomberg’s successful run for a third term last fall.

A Bloomberg spokesman told silive.com that a public announcement will be made “soon.”