Yankeegate

At least there was some pay-off for those who sat through an hour’s worth of people finding 44 ways to say yes.

During today’s floor “debate” on land-use changes for Yankee Stadium, Council Member Lew Fidler blurted out: “As a lifelong Democrat, I always found it hard to accept that the Yankees are in fact owned by a Watergate felon.” When fellow councilors groaned, he added, “Facts are facts.”

Fidler voted aye anyway.

Final vote: 44-3 with two abstentions on questions in which city-owned park land would be given up for the stadium. One of the dissenters, Melissa Mark Viverito, voted yes on Yankee-related resolutions that did not involve land transfers (demapping streets and rezoning), making the vote 45-2-2. Charles Barron and Helen Foster voted no and Letitia James and Rosie Mendez abstained.

The final community benefits agreement may be more of a “community benefits program,” signed by city councilors and Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, which may explain why no community organizations were involved in negotiations. Copies were not distributed, although highlights passed out showed fewer goodies than we reported earlier in the day: Only $800,000 will go to nonprofits, another $100,000 in “equipment and promotional merchandise” (baseball caps and T-shirts?), nothing for park maintenance and $1 million–total, not per year–for a job-training program. Another $450,000 will go to a program administrator to oversee, but not, apparently, to monitor, the minority- and women-owned business programs.

If you haven’t, check out some of the gaffes from the committee meeting on The Politicker.

-Matthew Schuerman