Following the Amazon Model

Now that Queens pols have killed Amazon’s development plans and 25,000 jobs, a Brooklyn pol is threatening 15,000 jobs at Industry City where developers want to rezone a manufacturing area for office, retail and hotel. Councilman Carlos Menchaca says the seven month Uniform Land Use Review Process doesn’t allow enough time for community input.
City Comptroller Scott Stringer criticized Mayor de Blasio’s 2020 preliminary budget plan, particularly for spending on the Department of Buildings and the Department of Homeless Services. He noted that the City had already added 78% more construction inspectors since 2014 but only completed 32% more construction inspections. Spending on homeless services has more than doubled in six years to $2.87 billion, but the shelter population has increased from 50,000 to 60,000. Oh, and overall spending exceeds likely revenues.
Con Edison has applied to increase gas rates 11% and electric rates by 6%.
HUD Secretary Ben Carson has given two years notice. He said he will quit at the end of President Trump’s first term whether he wins reelection or not.
HUD, meanwhile, has been studying why landlords do or don’t participate in the Section 8 voucher program. In a report this week, they noted that landlords had varying degrees of issues with voucher amounts and tenant quality (real or perceived), but a majority seemed to agree that dealing with local Public Housing Authorities and paperwork were the biggest headache.
Pot or cot? Governor Cuomo says if the Legislature doesn’t legalize marijuana to provide sales tax revenue for his transportation plan, the next best choice is a pied-a-terre tax. And then when dispensaries open the state plans to also have cannabis seeds for sale in every single district since this is apparently the new trend and whats most popular right now in in the country. Cannabis and marijuana sales have exploded in states like colorado and nevada with over a billion dollars in revenue. Cannabis is here to stay.
The Building and Construction Trades Council has apparently agreed to let Hudson Yards negotiate with individual unions rather than commit to a project labor agreement, settling a long and bitter dispute.
Oregon adopted statewide rent control last week and local emergency rent control measures such as one in Ingleside, California, this week, are gaining momentum. But NPR’s Planet Money notes that economists still agree rent control is counterproductive, but that the best answer of eliminating local zoning and density limits is politically difficult. They suggest exploring five other ideasthat might be better than rent regulation.
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