“Who are the politicians really representing?” by John Bendo [Long Beach Herald]

superblock1John Bendo, president of the West End Neighbors Civic Association, wanted me to share this OP-ED piece that he wrote on iStar tax abatement and local politics. Long Beach Herald: Who are the politicians really representing?

“At the June 2 City Council meeting, residents wanted to know the council’s position on the tax breaks.

…..Council President Len Torres told residents that the council could not take a position, on the advice of legal counsel. But at a May 13 meeting of the IDA and representatives of iStar, the IDA passed a resolution stating, “The City of Long Beach … has expressed to the Executive Director and Chairman of the Agency its full support of the application and the granting of financial assistance with respect to the project.”

Regarding the mortgage recording tax exemption, the resolution says, “The [Local Development Corporation] will provide such exemption upon an application from the Applicant.”

Apparently the council has taken a position, but chose to keep it from residents.”

Read the full OP-ED at the Long Beach Herald: Who are the politicians really representing?

29 Replies to ““Who are the politicians really representing?” by John Bendo [Long Beach Herald]”

  1. I don’t see where the 25 year tax abatement is mentioned. Only the mortgage tax appears to be up for exemption. That’s not an issue to be concerned about. The 25 year abatement is.

  2. Despite your statement that the mortgage tax exemption is not “an issue to be concerned about” I am concerned. The mortgage tax exemption is $1.5 million dollars. That $1.5 million is money that the administration will not collect from the developer. Why ? How about giving us a break. That $1.5 could be spent on any number of needed infa structure repairs. No problem the guys in City hall will just float another bond. Why are we giving this developer anything. This is a choice piece of property and this administration is treating like an urban renewal site in an inner city.
    I had to pay my mortgage tax and so did everyone else so should the developer.

  3. What is confusing is when did this Long Beach Local Development Corporation get the authority to waive any amount of money? It was formed like 12-18 months ago and has not done a thing except hire a couple cronies and now cost the city $1,500,000 – how is that legal? These companies are supposedly professionals (Avalon Bay and iStar) they knew the taxes, fees and costs before, during and after they purchased the property.

  4. I think someone should request the contract, if any exists (one has to!), between iStar and The City of Long Beach. So far it has been said by several city council members that they are not allowed to discuss this project. That only happens as a contingency in a legally binding contract. What we do know is that the city council members got so dazzled by $4,100,000 that they were not smart enough to ask how much they were giving up. They are so inept at doing their job, which is representing the taxpayers of Long Beach, that they thought the incredible headline of them getting a $4,100,000 payment would blind everyone to the $120,000,000+ they are losing out on.
    What does Jack Schnirman have to say? After all he is the person hired to manage the city, and be The City’s manager, or did he also sign onto this backroom agreement also?

  5. According to SeeThroughNY.net Patricia Bourne was paid $95,000 as executive director of The Long Beach Local Development Corporation. However, for some reason in 2014 she was paid by the City of Long Beach as a general employee at $82,897.So she was paid $177,897 and The taxpayers of Long Beach lost out on $1,500,000… Sounds like poor economic development for the taxpayers….

  6. Warmongerhas has been outspoken about supporting this development because he is a union tool that would do anything to make the union bosses and Zapson happy.

  7. Patricia Bourne is a political hack from the Suozzi administration. Conveniently, she is tied to Anthony Cancellieri, who she also worked with in that administration. Cancellieri is not only Al D’Amato’s VP at Park Strategies, but he is the guy D’Amato installed on the board of South Nassau Hospital. Cancellieri is the point person behind not only grabbing up the Long Beach Medical Center property, but the siphoning off of the almost $200 million. SNCH currently looking for a construction manager for a 60,000, yes 60,000 sq ft addition to their hospital paid for with FEMA funds. Our FEMA funds. (It’s posted on their website). I don’t suppose it’s a coincidence that Bourne shows up just as the LMBC land grab is underway. You can read some interesting stuff about the two of them here http://archive.longislandpress.com/2009/08/06/skeletons-in-the-closet/

  8. Harris Beach LLC (Hi Tom Suozzi!) assisted with setting up the Long Beach Local Dev Corp.

    That is how she was hired, how she got the Local Dev Corp gig and now a lot of things are falling into place.

    Can’t believe I supported this shit. The entire system is fucked.

  9. Hard to say if a contract exists, since the Long Beach Local Development Corporation, the ones that would approve the $1.5 million mortgage recording tax exemption, don’t post any minutes from their meetings.

    But at a May 13th meeting between the Nassau IDA and iStar a resolution they approved including the following, “the City of Long Beach (the “City”) has expressed to the Executive Director and Chairman of the Agency its full support of the Application and the granting of Financial Assistance with respect to the Project.” It goes on to say that “Applicant’s counsel has stated that the Applicant will be seeking a mortgage recording tax exemption from the City of Long Beach Local Development Corporation (the “LDC”) with respect to the Project and representatives of the LDC have stated to the Executive Director and Chairman of the Agency that the LDC will provide such exemption upon an application from the Applicant.” So the city had clearly taken a position even though they told residents otherwise.

  10. “So the city had clearly taken a position even though they told residents otherwise.” That’s called lying in my book, but I believe politicians call it mis-remembering. Tell me again why they should not be voted out of office.

  11. Amen John Bendo. Thank you.

    SeabytheCity stay on this like a dog on a bone. Longbeachsun and LB Herald too!. Shame the council into opening their mouths.

  12. They probably don’t view it as lying. It was more of a case of choosing to omit the truth. It’s splitting hairs, but that’s what politicians do.

  13. It is also interesting that our taxes are going up ($1.6 million) by about the same amount of the tax break they are giving iStar ($1.5 million). I guess that says something about their priorities.

  14. That $1.5 million could be used for a vacation/sick days/overtime/holiday cash payout to a retiring police officer. We cannot afford to lose it!

  15. That was “kidding on the square”, unfortunately. At any event, if you don’t have cash to pay the retiree, puts you in the same place regarding taxes at the end of the day….

  16. Ah FOILs, if only this administration listened to them and provided the info requested! They talked of transparency and are as opaque as a brick wall.

  17. Well John B et al, these omissions of truth, shady LDC’s, tax abatements, etc, etc, is really just same old, same old. There is no end in sight for the tax increases, the bonding, the nepotism, the overtime, the outrageous salaries, and so on. And what is worse, is that John undoubtedly really struggled with the decision to speak his mind in the face of such indignation, because he knows that no matter how right he is, there is concern of the blow-back or retribution. As a president of a Civic Association, you need a good rapport with city government, but in Long Beach one always has to ask themselves what are they in for, what are they jeopardizing to so much as ask a question of the Wizard known as City Council? John, if you’re not planning to pack it in for greener pastures, perhaps you should run for City Council as a Democrat and let’s start the change that is desperately needed.

  18. LDCs have had a questionable reputation around the state. The stated purpose is to generate economic development projects for the municipalities they are connected to. Unfortunately, in many cases , these quasi-agencies are simply end-runs around municipal charters and they tend to benefit political groups with influence. Sound familiar? Mr. Bendo, you are right on target here. This has little benefit to Long Beach other than enriching the Democratic leader and his cronies. I would tend to take most of Councilman Torres comments with a grain of salt as he has failed to deliver a single thing, to the residents at least, in his time in office. This is a disastrous project for the city on all levels. How it got this far is simply a testament to the corrupt nature of our city leaders.

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