For lasting legacy, listen to city taxpayers, not bureaucrats

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An open letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg:

There is no reason for you to seek a third term as mayor. With an estimated $55 million spent preparing for the 2012 Olympic Games, you gave up and chose to run this city and its hopes for the 2016 games. New York City has always been home to the underdog and you gave that up.

In 2002, my predecessor, the late David Oats, began proposing an alternate site, the Shea Stadium/Willets Point area, as the stadium solution to your West Side stadium concept. I joined him in 2003 and for three years we kept proposing a solution to help this city win since former Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Dan Doctoroff's concept of a sports and convention center — which the city bureaucracy refused to call a stadium — was doomed to failure.

You brought our plan to Singapore, one based on retrofitting Shea Stadium to host an Olympics to save taxpayers millions with the option of constructing a new stadium in Shea's parking lot. You did not seek our counsel as tax-paying citizens, but the International Olympic Committee asked to meet with us, and we did, to showcase this cost-saving plan.

And then when we lost, you gave up on the 2016 games, even after our association came up with the concept to hold a World's Fair concurrent with the 2016 games to further make infrastructure investments more cost effective.

If you do win, do not listen to people like Doctoroff. Do not believe your advisors or senior commissioner. Listen to yourself and your taxpayers.

Second-guess the city Parks Department, led by a commissioner who treats Central Park like a diamond and only wakes up to the importance of Flushing Meadows Corona Park until our association begs for history to be treated with dignity.

Do a double-take at city Landmarks Preservation Commission Chairman Robert Tierney, who ignored the World Monument Fund's designation of the New York State Pavilion as one of the 100 most endangered structures on Earth.

The pavilion stands alone in the Northeast as the sole structure representing American history during a period where we literally reached and achieved the stars. The pavilion should be landmarked because it is by definition a landmark in every sense of the word.

There is no more fitting backdrop to the US Open than the Unisphere and pavilion. And yet, the pavilion lays dying, indicating fiscal ruin.

When a major utility like Con Edison fails, do not make friends with its leader. President Kevin Burke is no one's friend for the losses in Queens during the blackouts.

If you want a real legacy and a third term, trust yourself to build a better New York. In the end, it is about getting up for the second chance and winning. It might be too late for the 2016 games and a New York World's Fair for at the same time, but it is not too late to take action on the basics of making sure all the boroughs are treated equally.

Hold the highly paid public servants around you to a high standard by providing equal services to all tax payers.

Greg Godfrey

President, Flushing Meadows Corona Park World's Fair Association

Updated 6:38 pm, October 10, 2011
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