‘Robert Moses in a skirt’

Amanda Burden. (david_shankbone via flickr.com)
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Ross Barkan has a write-up of the first candidate forum featuring the Democrats running for public advocate, hosted by the Stonewall Democratic Club (and four other groups) in Queens last night.

One of the many highlights was Letitia James' response to an audience member's question about overdevelopment and rezoning.

James said the city's planning commissioner, Amanda Burden, was "Robert Moses in a skirt."

Afterward, James told me, "She's definitely put her imprimatur on New York City and I have seen her walk the streets in Brooklyn in areas she has rezoned. She is Robert Moses in a skirt. There's just no other way to describe her. She's had a critical role in the development of New York City."

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James said she didn't mean the assessment to be purely critical.

"I recognize the landscape of the city is going to change. I just wish we would have built more community facilities, such as schools, affordable housing, and more benefits for the public of the city of New York, as opposed to luxury developments."

She also said, "And it should have been built union. A lot of it was not really responsible development and of them were not union. The jobs were good but they could have been a lot better had they been built union."

I asked for a response from the city planning department and will update if they provide one.