|Steve levin speaking at IND and not answering questions put to him about the library sale.|
Citizens Defending Libraries was at the meeting putting some of the questions to Levin that he refused to answer. We also came equipped with handouts.
One was this, TOP TEN REASONS TO BELIEVE THAT COUNCILMAN STEVE LEVIN WAS REALLY ON THE DEVELOPER'S SIDE PROMOTING A SELL-OFF RATHER THAN PROTECTING THE PUBLIC AGAINST A BAD LIBRARY SALE - TOP TEN REASONS which we distributed in this physical form:
Another was a list of links plus an attachment of the letter Levin has failed for months to send demanding transparency from the BPL in connection wth its library sales:
The text of that flyer reads as follows:
Why isn’t Councilman Stephen Levin demanding transparency from the Brooklyn Public Library and sending the letter to do so (attached) that he long ago promised?You can click on the first "Open Letter" link above to see the ext of the letter Levin has refused to send following through on his obligation and promise to demand transparency and which we distributed to the audience in the form below:
SEE: (From Citizens Defending Libraries) Open Letter To Councilman Steve Levin About His Letter To Brooklyn Public Library Demanding Transparency About Library SalesSee how Levin’s failure to demand transparency just doesn’t square with his ostensible reasons for his “approving” the sale and drastic shrinkage of the Brooklyn Heights Library:
Monday, December 28, 2015, "An Open Letter Regarding the Brooklyn Heights Library Project"- Obfuscation From Councilman Steve Levin Concerning His Betrayal of The Community By Approving The Sale and Shrinkage of Our LibrarySEE also:
Monday, December 28, 2015, TOP TEN REASONS TO BELIEVE THAT COUNCILMAN STEVE LEVIN WAS REALLY ON THE DEVELOPER'S SIDE PROMOTING A SELL-OFF RATHER THAN PROTECTING THE PUBLIC AGAINST A BAD LIBRARY SALE - TOP TEN REASONS
Questions that Levin didn't answer included:
• If and when he would demand transparency from the Brooklyn Public Library about its proposed library sales including sending the letter to make such demand that he long ago promised. We pointed out that had he sent the letter there was enough in it to blow out of the water almost every part of the explanation he has offered for his approving the sale of the library.Exactly why an insistence on transparency by our elected officials, particularly Levin, and exactly why Levin may want to avoid it became all the more clear hours after Levin spoke. . . .
• With respect to the raid on Department of Education funds being raided to by Levin, de blasio and Alicia Glen, de Blasio’s Deputy Mayor for development, Levin would not state what the cost of it was of the amount being raided. It is comprised of three sets of costs: 1.) the rent to buy cost, 2.) The outfitting of the space cost, and 3.) the cost of running the space. Levin refused to give any of them. And we understand that DOE has problems with and actually doesn't want such a facility at this location.
• Levin would similarly not state what funds were being intrecepted to put in he teeny library being put into DUMBO as part of the backfroom deal pushing things through.
• Levin would also not state what funds were being intercepted for the Greenpointe Library, also in his district as part of the backroom deal pushing the deal through.
. . . . The New York Post has just come out with an eviscerating story about the sweetheart details of de Blasio's giveaway of the Brooklyn Heights library. The developer to whom the de Blasio administration and the BPL trustees gave away the library wasn’t the highest bidder; His bid was 20% lower than the going rate in Brooklyn Heights. The bid was topped by two other bids that surpassed it, one 12% more, and was an inferior bid in other respects as well. See: New York Post: Developer with ties to de Blasio scores job, despite being outbid, By Aaron Short, February 21, 2016
Even this needs to be put in context: David Kramer (of the Hudson Companies) was the low bidder for a library that should not even be sold. Kramer and the other developers were only bidding for the value of the library site as a vacant lot. They were being asked by the BPL and its trustees to bid only for the “tear-down” value of the library. These bids were in no way related to the value of the library to the public from the public’s perspective, because de Blasio and the BPL trustees were selling off the library with no appraisal of the value of the library from the public’s perspective. And it is important to remember that what we are speaking of is a recently enlarged and fully upgraded library that would cost more than $120 million to replace.
The New York Post article really ups the ante because Levin will have to cast a vote again on the library at the Brooklyn Borough Board in the face of these changed circumstances and revelations, plus the revelations contained in the charges Love Brooklyn Libraries filed with the NYS Attorney General. As if he didn't have his pants down already!
Citizens Defending Libraries was there at that event too: INSIDE the CUNY Graduate Center Mayor Bill de Blasio & Paul Krugman Have a Conversation about Inequality in New York City: INSIDE We Say Don't Sell Our Libraries Because That IS Inequality.