This mammoth undertaking would turn Brookville Boulevard, or Snake Road as it is affectionately known, into a busy new thoroughfare called Airport Center Boulevard. This road that meanders slowly through the wetlands would be changed forever? And what about the wetlands?
The list of politicians who refused to discuss this critical issue with out reporter includes City Councilwoman Juanita Watkins (D-Laurelton) and state Assemblywoman Pauline Rhodd-Cummings (D-Rockaway). For politicians, this is a no-win situation. Only Assemblyman William Scarborough (D-St. Albans), was willing to speak on the record about the proposed project, and even he had reservations. Scarborough questioned whether the warehouse and the additional use of Snake Road might worsen the flooding that has plagued this part of Queens. The answer to this as to most questions about the warehouse: No one knows.
There was a time when unemployment was so high that no elected official would turn thumbs down on a proposal that would create this many jobs. But times are better now and voters living in southeast Queens have becomes increasingly aware of the need to preserve the wetlands for future generations and to protect the area's fragile ecology.
Community Board 13 has refused to give the warehouse its seal of approval until an environmental impact statement is submitted.
As a general rule, we have been supportive of anything that will bolster the economy in this part of Queens and create additional jobs. But if the wetlands are damaged, Queens will lose a treasure that cannot be replaced. We would hope that work on this warehouse would be postponed until the environmental concerns are addressed.
It was reported last week that Queens Democratic boss Tom Manton has decided that his organization will support City Comptroller Alan Hevesi in next year's mayoral race.
This comes as a blow to the candidacy of Peter Vallone. Both men are Queens residents and enjoy a broad base of support here.
Although Mark Green and Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer are also expected to run for mayor, Hevesi and Vallone are clearly the frontrunners in the Democratic primary. Early on, there had been some speculation that the Rev. Floyd Flake, a former democratic congressman, would throw his hat into the ring. That now seems unlikely.
There is little chance that a Republican will emerge to make the general election anything more than a formality.
This means that Manton and the boys in his backroom could pick the next mayor of New York City. This is what passes for democracy in New York City. Better you should vote in Florida.
©2000 Community News Group
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