|November 14, 2004
R. BLOOMBERG CALLS ON THE OWNERS OF CABLEVISION TO STOP THE LIES
By Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
Last Thursday, athletes, community and business leaders, and elected officials, all of them New Yorkers, gathered on the Brooklyn Bridge for a rousing send-off for the City’s formal bid for the 2012 Olympics. And a public opinion poll published that same day showed that an overwhelming majority of New Yorkers enthusiastically supports the City’s efforts to host the 2012 Games. Not only would the Games create $12 billion in economic activity and 130,000 jobs, they would leave a lasting legacy of recreation facilities and housing that New Yorkers need and deserve. But sadly, there is one New York City company that will stop at nothing to prevent the Olympics from coming here.
Cablevision, the company that owns Madison Square Garden, the Knicks, and the Rangers, wants to destroy our Olympic dreams by blocking a key element of our bid: the New York Sports and Convention Center. Since the facility would have a retractable roof that would host conventions, concerts, and other big events, it would compete with Madison Square Garden. Cablevision, in the words of its CEO Jim Dolan, has a “monopoly” on large events in New York City, and it will stop at nothing to protect it. They would drop their opposition if we removed the roof from the design. But without it, the facility could only be used eight times a year for football games, instead of year-round for events that will generate economic activity and tax revenue for the City.
In recent months, Cablevision has bankrolled an increasingly misleading multi-million dollar television advertising campaign trying to scare New Yorkers away from supporting the Sports and Convention Center. There is no lie they are not willing to tell: they have tried to scare New Yorkers into believing that they face an either or choice between the stadium and essential city services, like education and public safety, even going so far as to suggest that higher subway fares could result. None of these things are true. But despite several newspaper editorials calling on them to stop these deceptions, Cablevision continues to lie. Clearly, they don’t respect New Yorkers enough to play it straight.
The fact is that the stadium would pay for itself. Even the Independent Budget Office reported that the tax revenues created by the development would more than make up for the necessary infrastructure investment the City has to make before any development could take place at the site, the rail yards on Manhattan’s Far West Side. Then the Jets would spend $800 million to actually build the facility- the largest private financing of a sports stadium ever in the United States.
receives an $11 million property tax exemption for Madison Square Garden,
which means that a company being subsidized by the City is trying to deny
us an economic future. You would think a company on corporate welfare would
be less selfish to the City that has been so good to it and so loyal to its
teams. Instead, they are lying to New Yorkers and trying to end their Olympic
dreams. We cannot allow a selfish monopoly to deny us the future we deserve.
Cablevision, stop the lies.