"If the mayor now sees his way clear to Queens as an alternative, Queens is ready," Marshall said in a statement released on March 3. "If the West Side does not want it, Queens would embrace a new stadium for the Mets, the Olympics and the Jets, a team that once played in Queens."But Bloomberg has said repeatedly that the International Olympic Committee has little enthusiasm for a Queens stadium, meaning the city would likely lose its bid for the 2012 Games if the stadium were planned in the borough. However, he said during a business breakfast March 1 that he would "consider anything" should the West Side stadium proposal crumble, opening the door a crack for a stadium in Queens.Marshall is among a handful of high-ranking politicians to sound off recently on the stadium controversy and the possibility of a Queens alternative. Advocates for a stadium in Queens have proposed putting the venue in Willets Point near Flushing Bay in the shadow of Shea Stadium. Officials with the Jets, meanwhile, have said they have no intention of funding a Queens venue. On March 2, state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) said he liked the idea of a Queens stadium and told reporters that "it removes a lot of the baggage that a stadium on the West Side has for me."He said he had reservations about banking more than a billion dollars on the speculation that winning the Olympics hinges upon a stadium being built on the West Side, which he said was not a conceivable approach," to winning the Games, according to the Daily News. Likely mayoral candidate City Council Speaker Gifford Miller (D-Manhattan) made a similar comment in his State of the City address, saying Bloomberg was deceptively pinning the city's Olympic dream on a project that has faced strong opposition from the owners of Madison Square Garden. Miller, who touted a Queens site in the address, further complicated the mayor's plans by introducing legislation giving the City Council oversight of the use of any city funds for economic development projects such as the stadium. "Over the last year the mayor has tried to pull an end-run around this Council to get approval for his stadium," Miller said in a statement. "(The bill) will bring the authority back to New Yorkers by requiring the mayor to seek approval from this council for all potential deals that require the city to spend its own money."The mayor's stadium requires $300 million in city funds. But Bloomberg gained a political ally on Monday when U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Ditmars) became one of the few city Democrats to advocate a West Side stadium during a news conference in Long Island City. "I'm for the Olympics. I'm for the stadium," Rangel said after heavy questioning from a room full of reporters. "Whatever it takes - I want the Olympics here. Reach reporter Matthew Monks by e-mail at news@times
©2005 Community News Group
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