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Bloomberg Defends Living Wage Act Veto During Barclays Center Tour

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TWC News: Bloomberg Defends Living Wage Act Veto During Barclays Center Tour
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Mayor Michael Bloomberg took a tour Thursday of the Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Nets' future arena, and while he touted the jobs created by the project he also defended his veto of a living wage act that would have affected similar construction. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

The future home of the Brooklyn Nets is near complete and Mayor Michael Bloomberg paid the Barclays Center a visit on Thursday.

"I already have my tickets for next season. As a matter of fact, it was pointed out to me where they are going to be. There are no chairs there, so for the moment if I went to them I would have to stand," said the mayor. "But presumably, between now and the fall, they'll put some seats in and we're going to have a chance to watch great basketball in a wonderful arena."

Bloomberg also touted the 2,000 jobs the Prospect Heights arena will bring to the borough.

The announcement came a day after the mayor vetoed legislation to require similar projects to pay workers a living wage, which is $10 an hour plus benefits. That move had Bloomberg in a full court press.

"If some companies, like right where we are standing, if they want to make a deal with some of their employees to pay more, they have a right to do that. It just shouldn't be the government forcing people to do it," the mayor said.

Officials said wages will vary.

"He's talking about middle-management jobs, it's across the board. It's going to vary based on the skill set of the individuals," said Commissioner Robert Walsh of the Department of Small Business Services.

The stadium is the anchor to the controversial Atlantic Yards complex, which will eventually include residences and commercial space.

Some residents are hesitant it will change the area but others were not crying foul.

"This is an opportunity for them to have jobs in their community," said Tyree Stanback of the Lafayette gardens Resident Association

The Barclays Center will host about 220 events its first year and almost a quarter of them will be Nets games. Brooklyn residents will show up for work in September, when the arena first opens its doors with a Jay-Z concert.

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