It could be the next Amazon!
Left-wing activists and their allies on the City Council are once again facing off against a coalition of unions, allied lawmakers and business groups over the fate of a proposed mega-redevelopment — this time, at Brooklyn’s Industry City.
Boosters say the project would yield at least 15,000 new jobs at and nearby the complex that Gotham’s coronavirus-devastated economy desperately needs, while opponents argue it would cause more gentrification in Sunset Park.
The project’s fate now rests in the hands of city lawmakers, putting Council Speaker Corey Johnson into the middle of another showdown between ascendant left-wing activists and stalwart Democratic Party constituencies as he weighs a 2021 mayoral campaign.
“It’s a real tough one. There are no easy outcomes here. You have people who have legitimate concerns on one hand and 15,000 jobs on the other,” said one veteran Democratic strategist. “There are going to be angry people no matter what.
“If he decides to run, the Industry City decision will say a lot about how he plans to run in the primary,” the person added.
Mayor Bill de Blasio again punted to Johnson’s Council when asked about the project during his daily press conference on Tuesday.
“I want to respect the City Council’s process,” he said.
Johnson’s spokeswoman told The Post he’s still reviewing the project.
The project underwent an hours-long Council hearing Tuesday. No vote was taken.
“I’m always available to sit down, Carlos, 24/7,” said Industry City’s chief executive Andrew Kimball told local Councilman Carlos Menchaca (D-Brooklyn), who opposes the project, during one contentious exchange.
“You have yet to gain the confidence of the people who are representing this community,” Menchaca fired back.
The Industry City project is unique in a lot of ways.
Currently, about half of the 5.3 million square feet in the sprawling, 16-building industrial complex is either vacant or used for warehouse and storage space.
The fight centers around Industry City’s request that the Council and de Blasio sign off on changing the zoning over the area so they can use the empty space for other purposes — including for additional film and photo studios, offices and retail and classrooms.
They’ve also asked for permission to demolish an old, decommissioned powerhouse to make way for a new building — one of three proposed. All would be between 10-13 stories tall.
If approved, the changes and new construction would expand Industry City to 6.6 million square feet.
Supporters told the City’s Planning Commission that the expansion would “generate more than 20,000 jobs and attract $1 billion in private investment.”
Those tallies combine 8,000-strong workforce already at Industry City, the 7,000 new positions expected there as well as another 8,000 jobs off-site.
The project is opposed by a coalition of liberals and neighborhood activists who have offered a bevy of objections to the proposal, claiming: expanding the facility will accelerate gentrification in Sunset Park, their insufficient guarantees locals will benefit from the new jobs and the complex is vulnerable to flooding if the city is hit by a hurricane. The complex flooded during Superstorm Sandy.
And they’ve found a powerful ally in Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (D-Brooklyn), who testified against the project Tuesday.
Typically, Menchaca’s opposition alone would be enough to kill the project thanks to the Council’s tradition of deferring to the local lawmaker on zoning changes and construction projects.
But the promise of thousands of new jobs with unemployment at 20 percent — and Menchaca’s own personal unpopularity among his colleagues — have changed the math.
Three prominent, union-friendly lawmakers — Councilmen Robert Cornegy (D-Brooklyn), Donovan Richards (D-Queens) and Ritchie Torres (D-The Bronx) — are pushing the override.
“Anywhere else in the world, the Industry City project would be a no-brainer. We have to do it,” said Carlo Scissura, head of the New York City Building Congress, which represents builders and union hardhats, both of which are pushing the redevelopment forward.
It’s also gotten support from politically powerful 32BJ, which represents service workers and testified in favor of the redevelopment Tuesday.
But the personal antipathy towards Menchaca — who has frequently frustrated his colleagues — helped cracked the door for the unusual battle, four sources told The Post.
“Carlos Menchaca is one of the most reviled members of the City Council,” said one person familiar with the dynamics. “Sometimes things are politics, somethings things are policy — and sometimes things are personal.”
Additional reporting by Julia Marsh
Debate commission considers new actions after disastrous debate
The presidential debate commission is considering giving the moderator the opportunity to cut a candidate’s mic at the next matchup between President Trump and Joe Biden, it was revealed Wednesday.
The debate commission announced that it will adopt changes in order to avoid a repeat of Tuesday night’s clash between the candidates, which has been referred to as a “dumpster fire” and a “sh–storm.”
The Associated Press reported that one change being discussed is giving the moderator the ability to cut off the microphone of one of the debate participants while his opponent is talking.
The debate commission only released a statement that said: “Last night’s debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues.”
They added that the commission “will be carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly.”
Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said the commission was only making the changes “because their guy got pummeled last night.” The presidential debate commission is a non-partisan entity.
The first presidential debate was marred by constant interruptions as both Trump and Biden talked over each other. Debate moderator Chris Wallace accused Trump of being the more boisterous offender.
“Well, frankly, you’ve been doing more interrupting than he has,” Wallace said to Trump at one point.
Biden also heckled Trump, calling him a “clown” and telling him to “shut up.”
Wallace was widely panned for not controlling the discussion. CNN’s Jake Tapper called the event a “hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck.”
Even Wallace appeared to be shell shocked by the unsettling nature of the discussion.
“I never dreamt that it would go off the tracks the way it did,” Wallace said in an interview with the New York Times after the contest.
However, the Nielsen company said that 73.1 million people tuned in, more than any other television event since the Super Bowl. The event did, however, fall short of the 84 million who watched the first debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016.
The next presidential debate is a town hall format scheduled for Oct. 15 in Miami.
Trump signs short-term spending bill to prevent government shutdown
President Donald Trump signed a spending bill early Thursday to prevent an imminent government shutdown.
The Senate voted 84-10 to pass the bipartisan bill, extending federal agency funding to Dec. 11 and avoiding a potentially nasty fight ahead of the Nov. 3 election. The House already passed the bill in a 359-57 vote last week.
Trump signed the bill after returning to the White House from a campaign event in Minnesota, right as federal funds ran dry.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin negotiated the short-term deal — though they continue to be at odds over further coronavirus relief legislation that would send out more stimulus checks and revive an expired unemployment insurance supplement.
The funding extension secures money for a host of programs set to lapse on Sept. 30, from transit to health care, and would finance a new White House transition should Joe Biden win.
Pelosi said in a statement earlier the bill adds $8 billion in food assistance over current spending levels for lower-income Americans and prevents the use of “funds for farmers” held by the Commodity Credit Corporation “from being misused for a Big Oil bailout.”
With Post wires
California police bust ‘cult’ party with 4-foot model vagina
Cops in California’s Bay Area busted what they called a ‘cult or activist group’ party involving a four-foot model vagina on the beach over the weekend.
The cult-like gathering was broken up by cops in Point Molate Beach Park early Saturday morning, just hours after police responded to a suspected “Antifa” gathering at the same location, according to the chief of the Richmond Police Department.
At around 9:33 p.m., Richmond cops responded to the Antifa report when they discovered 50 people dressed in all-black uniforms who had traveled to the beach on a party bus.
The dark-clad group — which were described as a possible Antifa meet-up — agreed to get back on the party bus and disperse without incident.
Just hours later, police found another group of 60 people listening to the climate change recordings huddled around the giant facsimile of a vagina in a dock building nearby.
“The group was listening to recordings about climate change and Mother Earth while assembled around a 4 ft. model of a vagina,” Richmond Police Chief Al Walle wrote on Facebook.
“The group was identified, warned for trespassing, and escorted out of Point Molate.”
Walle said the second group had no affiliation but instead was “some type of cult gathering,” without giving specifics.
Inside the dock building, police “located some items (that won’t be further described) that led the officers to believe this was some type of occult group or activist group since this event was in close proximity to the Chevron refinery,” the police department said in a statement to Patch.
Some joked online that the “cult” party seemed like a garden-variety Bay Area fête.
“Who’s the Bay Area noob that wrote this article?” a reader tweeted. about a local report. “Sounds like a pretty standard Bay Area underground art party to me…”
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