30 Issues: Thompson on Development

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Bill Thompson, New York City Comptroller and the Democratic nominee for mayor, talks about affordable housing and the rest of his development agenda.


Bill Thompson

Comments [18]

Susan from Kingston

Come on, Bloomberg cannot fanthom that people make so little money......

Oct. 01 2009 11:41 AM
Chris from New York

Seriously, I feel that if you are not a single parent with 3 or 4 kids who makes less than poverty wages affordable housing through HUD is not even considered for you.

I went to college and grad. school to better myself and find decent job. I have no credit card debt. However, I do have student loans. I am in my 30s and barely make enough to cover rent, loan payments, utiliy bills, a Metrocard and food. Days before each payday I'm lucky if I have even $1 in the bank.

Is this what "middle class" living in NYC has come to???

Oct. 01 2009 11:33 AM
Sainted_Mother from New York, NY

I make too much money to qualify for "affordable" housing, but too little money to actually BUY anything!!! NYC is a very weird place to live. I think I'll keep renting until daughter out of highschool, then be gone. I can't keep being "no one" ... I am the middle of middle class here.

Oct. 01 2009 11:31 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

What does Mr. Thompson define as “affordable”; what percentage of income?
A single person making 40K or less will have a hard time finding housing (rent plus utilities) that is 33% of their gross income, either alone or in a share.
And as for the tax credits for developers, this is a horrible idea and waste of taxpayer money. Let the taxes collected from luxury developments in highly desirable and affluent areas go towards developing truly affordable unsubsidized housing in upper Manhattan and the outer boroughs.

Oct. 01 2009 11:30 AM
Michael from Upper West Side

I would like to applaud Comptroller Thompson for having the courage to take on the seemingly insurmountable challenge of confronting Mayor Bloomberg's $100-million anti-democratic onslaught. Our city deserves a mayor like Mr. Thompson, who believes in democracy and who respects the will of the people, not one who takes the law into his own hands to satisfy his hunger for power, a la a Berlusconi or a Kim J.I.

Oct. 01 2009 11:30 AM
john from office

Public housing is a sinkhole for the poor. Feed on by politician who will not alienate their voters. A return to the poverty pimps.

Oct. 01 2009 11:26 AM
john from office

This is a candidate who is a relic of the past a past of Dinkins and crime and social unrest.

Bloomberg has done a great job.

As a product of the old Board of Education I would never vote for this man.

Oct. 01 2009 11:25 AM
Noah from Brooklyn

I think we need to build housing that requires standard economic distributions of society. So Always mixed income.

Why are you anti Bike lane and against developing new modes of transportation that are cheaper for its residents? How will people get to and from the new public housing?

Oct. 01 2009 11:25 AM
Susan from Kingston

If no affordable housing is built, will only the rich live in New York City? Will the working class and middle class workers have to travel two or three hours to their jobs for these people? Won't this resemble the cities in South Africa under apartheid?

Oct. 01 2009 11:22 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Yes Mr. Thompson, it has become tougher (and redundantly harder) for people to live in NYC and it has been difficult for me and my middle-income friends to find housing in existing old housing stock. Privately owned units are expensive for renters; however, building owners, co-op and condo owners, and city coffers by way of taxation have benefitted from the hyperbolic increase in property values. As the former comptroller, I ask you this… How would you propose housing cost come down for renters without tax abatement and other giveaways of taxpayer dollars to developers? As mentioned yesterday, low income housing isn’t truly housing for low income peoples, it is highly subsidized substandard housing.
As for jobs, how SPECIFICALLY would you create jobs in this global recession?

Oct. 01 2009 11:19 AM
Sean Pisano from Prospect Heights Brooklyn

I live in middle income housing in Prospect Heights Brooklyn so far there has been over 1000 units built in my area. I can not find anything under $300,000 and under $2500 a month.

Oct. 01 2009 11:18 AM
George from Bay Ridge

Can we limit comments to a question format?

What is Mr. Thompson's thoughts on Mayor Bloomberg's mass transit ideas?

Oct. 01 2009 11:17 AM
Michael D. D. White from Brooklyn

(More on the inadaquacy of the Atlantic Yards "Community Benefit Agreement" respecting affordable housing (being covered later on today's show).

As Noticing New York discussed with Bertha Lewis of ACORN the first day of the ESDC hearings, anyone who earns an annual income from $38,407 to $46,086 (HUD family of four standard) is not going to be provided with affordable housing. ACORN did not negotiate to have any affordable units included in the project for them because the lower income units would be provided by the federal tax code in any event. Then skipping over the units ($38,407 to $46,086) that are not being provided, one finds that one is dealing with units that are renting for $3,000 a month, $2,300 a month, $1,500 a month: Units that the market would be providing anyway. In other words, ACORN basically negotiated that Forest City Ratner would provide absolutely nothing in terms of affordable housing.

Michael D. D. White
Noticing New York

Oct. 01 2009 10:24 AM
Michael D. D. White from Brooklyn

Mr. Thompson suggests that the reason he can support Atlantic Yards is the affordable housing, but that is MISGUIDED for a number of reasons.

1.) Right now AY is just a NET LOSS arena with no assurance about any housing.

2.) As the Fifth Avenue Committee testimony has made very clear, it AY is astoundingly inefficient in terms of using housing subsidies as opposed to the programs of alternative providers. The per-dwelling unit cost for Atlantic Yards is more than twice the cost of what FAC and PACC builds.


3.) It is not really providing much affordable housing- Consider the “Community Benefit Agreement.” Not only is the megadevelopment developer-initiated, developer-driven, the “Community Benefits Agreement” is similarly developer-dictated and therefore a sham. (Among other things not enforceable when the project is transferred.)

Just take the housing component as the most important and prime example. There is no real commitment to provide affordable housing. Look at the tell-tale gap in the middle of the agreement specifying low income people who will not be benefitted.


Michael D. D. White
Noticing New York

Oct. 01 2009 10:20 AM
Michael D. D. White from Brooklyn

The problem with megadevelopment, the reason why Thompson should be clear in opposing it, is that Bloombergian-style megadevelopment doesn’t work. It doesn’t work because it is not community-oriented development that evolves from the ground up. Instead, and this is a reason to oppose Atlantic Yards on principle as well, Atlantic Yards is a developer-initiated, developer-driven project. It is the developer’s impulses towards satiating its own greedy impulses that cause Atlantic Yards to be such a negative for the Borough and the communities of New York.

If Mr. Thompson is against megadevelopment for any principled reasons don’t those principles dictate that he must OPPOSE Atlantic Yards as a classic example of what we are talking about?

Michael D. D. White
Noticing New York

Oct. 01 2009 10:04 AM
Michael D. D. White from Brooklyn

Let's be very clear on that conservatively projected $220 million NET LOSS for the arena. It is $39.5 Million in direct losses to the city plus $180.5 million in opportunity losses- But that is a total of $220 million in NET losses.- (That point was muddied on yesterday's program.)

Oct. 01 2009 10:01 AM
Michael D. D. White from Brooklyn

With Mr. Thompsn now actaually presnt as a guest we would like to recycle some of our comments from yesterday's program on development.

* * *

Thompson’s rhetoric on megadevelopment and Atlantic Yards is strange, confused and self-contradictory.

Thompson (like Avella) spoke harshly in both mayoral debates criticizing Bloomberg’s failed megadevelopments. In the second debate he was asked to list the three top failures of the Bloomberg administration and cited its failed megadevelopments.

In the first debate he grouped Atlantic Yards with the West Side stadium in similar criticism:

“Whether it’s the stadium on the West Side, whether its Hudson Yards, whether it is places like Willets Point and Atlantic Yards. . . Those projects haven’t moved forward.”

Thompson criticized the Yankee Stadium deal. The Net arena deal, the only part of Atlantic Yards actually being pushed forward, is with its projected $220 million NET LOSS for the city is essentially a rerun of all the problems Yankee Stadium posed.

But then Thompson isn’t opposing Atlantic Yards? Figure that out!

(For more details on this see:

Monday, September 14, 2009, Our thoughts on Navigating the Voter Minefields When All the Candidates Know the Words to Mouth on Development

Michael D. D. White
Noticing New York

Oct. 01 2009 09:57 AM
hjs from 11211

during one of the democratic debates, I heard thompson come out against the new bike lanes. I'd also like to know if thompson is against the new trees the city has been planting?

Oct. 01 2009 09:46 AM

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