In Attempt to Convince Lawmakers to Vote for Affordable Housing Project, Mayor Appears to Anger Queens Councilman
Coming off a loss to the City Council over an affordable housing project, Mayor Bill de Blasio is saying he will rethink his strategy to convince local lawmakers to take up his cause. But the mayor seems to have already aggravated at least one council member in the process. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
Bill de Blasio has some choice words for the City Council:
"Turning down affordable housing, I can't follow that. I can't understand that," the mayor said.
The comments came after the council rejected a residential development in Upper Manhattan earlier this week that could have provided affordable housing.
The project in Inwood, known as Sherman Plaza, was the first development to try to use new zoning regulations under the mayor's affordable housing plan.
The regulations allow developers to build larger if they include affordable housing.
The local councilman Ydanis Rodriguez opposed the project, spurring the entire City Council to vote it down Tuesday.
Now, de Blasio says he is rethinking his strategy.
"This one, where it's so illogical, and I will go into the community and happily say this to people," the mayor said Thursday. "It's a wakeup call, and we're certainly now going to look at the other ones like this differently."
He will have that opportunity soon.
A 209-unit development in Queens, the Phipps Houses, is up for City Council approval next. It would be 100 percent affordable housing. Currently it's a parking lot.
"It is out of scale. It is too tall," City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer of Queens said.
The local councilman opposes it and plans to vote no.
"I am going to have a polite but firm conversation with the councilman, who I know very well and respect greatly," de Blasio said.
"I do not work for the mayor of the city of New York," Van Bramer said. "I am not on his staff and I am not his child."
Van Bramer had always been an ally of the mayor, but clearly the mayor's comments on Thursday may put that relationship in jeopardy.
"The mayor's comments were inappropriate. They were insulting, and not just to myself but to all council members," Van Bramer said.
"I don't expect him to agree with me but I expect him to respect me," Van Bramer added about the mayor.
The City Council is slated to vote on the project as soon as next month.