‘Inconceivable’: Bloomberg mocks Liu and de Blasio for flipping on an Upper East Side garbage issue

Bloomberg in Bay Ridge. (Dana Rubinstein)
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Mayor Michael Bloomberg this morning lashed out at public advocate Bill de Blasio and comptroller John Liu for their newfound and "inconceivable" opposition to his waste-management program.

"It's inconceivable that Bill de Blasio and John Liu would ever have said what was reported in the paper, that they oppose that," said Bloomberg today at a press conference in Bay Ridge. "Because when they were in the City Council, they both voted for it."

On Saturday, five Democratic mayoral candidates attended an Upper East Side forum in front of a crowd of opponents of the waste-transfer station on the East River. Four of the candidates promptly questioned the Bloomberg administration's plan to build it.

It's one of four marine transfer stations that the Bloomberg administration is building to help take reduce truck traffic on city streets. The plan passed with de Blasio's and Liu's approval when both were in the Council in 2006.

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On Saturday, at the forum, both Liu and de Blasio, as well as former comptroller Bill Thompson and former councilman Sal Albanese, said that the station's East 91st Street site should be reconsidered, given its concerns about flooding in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Eddie Bautista, the executive director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, told my colleague Azi Paybarah that the candidates' rhetoric "smacks of pandering."

When I asked Bloomberg today about the candidates' remarks, he feigned disbelief.

"I think you must be wrong," he said, adding, "John Liu's office registered the contract about a year ago. So It can't be. You must have your facts wrong."

His spokesman, Marc Lavorgna, "corrected" him.

"Huh?" said the mayor. "Two months ago he registed the contract? In two months he can't have changed his views. So I'm sure that what I've read in the paper is wrong."

According to LaVorgna, Liu registered the contract in December, well after the hurricane-induced flooding that apparently prompting him to rethink his stance on the matter.

I asked Bloomberg whether he had coordinated his response with Quinn, who has his tacit support, and whose support of the waste-transfer station was immediately touted by the mayor's aides. He didn't quite answer.

"I don't need to coordinate with anybody," he said. "Christine Quinn, if the paper is to be believed, stood up for what she had voted for back then. The issue here is, we have a concept that every borough will try to take care of as many of their problems as they can without [foisting] those on other boroughs, as some attempt towards fairness. And also, too many times, it's just been poor neighborhoods that have had these kinds of things [foisted] on them. And so the City Council, in its wisdom, with certainly some urging from the administration, and I signed the bill, found a ways to make every borough responisble for solid waste removal. But also, remember, every borough is benefitting, including wealthy and poor neighborhoods, from getting the trucks off the roads, to the extent that this does that."

Neither Liu nor de Blasio had any immediate comment.