News & Politics

Monserrate Caves on Willets Point; Hearing Tomorrow

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Hiram Monserrate has been very busy. Recently he was reported the first State Senator to bug out of the “Gang of Four” rebels holding Malcolm Smith’s Majority Leadership hostage. Now, in his last days as City Councilman, the formerly staunch Willets Point development opponent is reported by the Daily News to have cut a deal with Mayor Bloomberg — just in advance of tomorrow’s City Council meetings on the subject.

The crux appears to have been the 20 percent of new Willets Point housing that was to be designated affordable to low- to middle-income families. The News reports that percentage is now up to 35, and will include 800 units “expressly aimed at very low income families.”

Also, adds NY1, there will now be a “$3 million tenant relocation fund” for affected Iron Triangle businesses.

Prohibition of the use of eminent domain in securing the land — previously named as one of Monserrate’s terms — has not so far been mentioned in reports of the deal.

It may be that, with the city buying up Willets Points land, Monserrate just wanted to make the best of a lost cause before leaving for Albany. We still wonder if there’s more to it, and if it has anything to do with Monserrate’s presumed change in defector status; Malcolm Smith, who’s relying on Monserrate’s vote for the Leadership, has said that he’d allow a vote on a bill that would head off Bloomberg’s term limits extension with a referendum.