Bloomberg opposes a sticker ban, encourages developers to get in while the market’s cold

Mayor Bloomberg in a hard hat. (Dana Rubinstein)
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At a press conference yesterday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared himself "adamantly" opposed to the City Council's recent vote to ban what members call "punitive" parking stickers, calling it "one of the less productive things that could be legislated."

Last week, the City Council voted to bar the city's Department of Sanitation from slapping hard-to-unpeel stickers on the windows of cars that are violating alternate-side parking rules. Opponents of the practice say it takes an undue amount of elbow-grease, not to mention soapy water and a chiseling implement, to remove the stickers from their cars.

Following its passage, the mayor's office declined to say whether or not he would veto the legislation. Today, the mayor clarified matters.

"Stickers are an enforcement tool that have shown that they keep our streets clean," he said. " And if you take them away, there’s no reason to believe that we won’t go back to the dirty streets that we had before stickers were put in there."

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The mayor made his comments during the question-and-answer portion of a press conference held in the dusty unfinished lobby of a Long Island City apartment building.

The purpose of the press conference was to highlight an 18-percent decrease in construction accidents in 2011 from the year before, even though there was a slight uptick in the city's issuance of construction permits. The number of people who died on construction sites, however, increased slightly, from four in 2010 to five last year.

The mayor attributed modest improvements in overall accident numbers to some 25 new safety measures put in place since 2008, the year that nine people were killed in two separate crane collapses. The year before, two firefighters died in a fire during demolition at the former Deutsche Bank downtown, believed to have been caused by a carelessly discarded cigarette.

Since then, the city has instituted safety measures like forbidding smoking on construction sites and mandating training for all crane tower workers.

After finishing with the stated purpose of the event, the mayor also took the opportunity to encourage developers to get on with it while the market is cold.

Asked if he had any reaction to the news that Larry Silverstein would cap 3 World Trade Center at seven stories, rather than the planned 80, if he was unable to find at least one anchor tenant to occupy a significant chunk of the space, the mayor said the most important thing about 3 World Trade was the infrastructure beneath it.

And then he sounded what a developer might understand as a call to arms.

"I think the time to start buildings is when you can get materials and labor that’s available and at decent prices, when there’s land that nobody else wants, when you can bring something online just as the marketplace really comes around," said the mayor. "Starting a building at the top is much more problematic, because you're likely to deliver it at the bottom of the cycle. But starting at the bottom of the cycle is usually a great investment. And I think if you look back, people who have really made a lot of money in the real estate business as developers have had the courage to go ahead in tough times, put a shovel in the ground, and they’ve been big winners because of it and I think they will be here, too."