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The de Blasio administration came out swinging against Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s proposed overhaul of city planning Tuesday — saying it would cost the Big Apple $500 million over a decade and slow an already complex process. 

Johnson’s plan would require each of the 59 community districts to come up with their own frameworks for future development by 2025, all of which would have to meet targets for housing production and infrastructure needs.

 

But City Hall argued this process — which would require the city conduct almost 180 detailed studies of neighborhood impacts — would not be “feasible” and could cost the city $500 million over the next decade.

Johnson’s plan would require each community to create three potential plans to choose from — each of which would cost $2.5 million to conduct, totaling $450 million per decade, officials told the Council.

And, they added, the Department of City Planning would need another $50 million for staffing to meet the legislation’s requirements.    

“We estimate that the environmental review alone would cost on the order of half a billion dollars, with significant increases in staffing needed on top of that,” said City Planning Director Marisa Lago at a committee hearing Tuesday.

“We are concerned that the ultimate impact of that time and money would be counter to our shared goals—that it would make it more difficult, not easier, to build affordable housing or site essential city facilities if these priority projects were subjected to an additional layer of bureaucracy,” she added.

Johnson, whose bill has 13 sponsors, dismissed the city’s objections, calling City Planning’s cost estimate “inaccurate and absurd.”  

“It indicates that the city is not engaging with us in this conversation seriously,” fumed the speaker, who is mulling a bid for city comptroller. “There is nothing in this bill that will amount to that price tag.” 

“Comprehensive planning holds an enormous amount of opportunity for our city as a whole and our individual neighborhoods,” he added. “Through this new process, we can provide communities with new resources, data and analysis to support proactive planning.” 

News Source: newsbrig.com

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Trump: McConnell refusal on $2,000 checks cost GOP its Senate majority

Former President Donald Trump lashed out at Mitch McConnell on Thursday over his "refusal" to approve payments to Americans above $600 during coronavirus spending negotiations last year, blaming the now-Senate minority leader for two GOP losses in Georgia that handed Democrats the majority.

“To set the record straight, there were two reasons the Senate races were lost in Georgia," Trump said in a statement issued Thursday, pointing to "McConnell’s refusal to go above $600 per person on the stimulus check payments when the two Democrat opponents were touting $2,000 per person in ad after ad.”

“This latter point was used against our [GOP] senators and the $2,000 will be approved anyway by the Democrats who bought the Georgia election — and McConnell let them do it!” Trump added.

GEORGIA REPUBLICANS NERVOUSLY POINT FINGERS AT TRUMP AS GEORGIA RUNOFF RETURNS TRICKLE IN

Democrats campaigned heavily on a promise to deliver $2,000 stimulus checks if they secured both Senate seats, giving the party control of the chamber with the addition of Vice President Kamala Harris's tiebreaking vote.

Then-Georgia Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, both Republicans, backed Trump's push to increase coronavirus payments to $2,000 one week before their Jan. 6 runoffs, a position that was at odds with most of the party — McConnell included.

Democrats are working to pass a $1.9 trillion package that includes $1,400 payments, extended unemployment benefits, and aid for vaccine distribution and schools.

Trump's second reason he believes the Georgia races were lost stems from what he called the National Republican Senatorial Committee's "ineffective" television advertising featuring McConnell and credited his own endorsement for McConnell's reelection win.

“Even more stupidly, the [NRSC] spent millions of dollars on ineffective TV ads starring Mitch McConnell, the most unpopular politician in the country, who only won in Kentucky because President Trump endorsed him," Trump said, reiterating a claim he made in remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday. "He would have lost badly without this endorsement.”

Speaking to reporters this week, McConnell quipped that he wanted "to thank [Trump] for the 15-point margin I had in 2014, as well.” McConnell and Trump have been locked in a war of words since the minority leader suggested the former president should face criminal charges for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, even after voting to acquit Trump. The former commander in chief has been criticizing McConnell ever since as the duo jockeys for influence within and control over the Republican Party.

Trump also blamed voters' anger and "disappointment" with Georgia's Republican leadership "for failing to stand up to Stacey Abrams" and for "virtually" eliminating a signature requirement, he claimed.

In the weeks after the Nov. 3 election, Trump raised more than $30 million through his leadership committee, urging his supporters in fundraising texts and emails to help the party hold the line in Georgia and contest the presidential results.

Federal filings through the end of the year reviewed last month by the Washington Examiner showed his new group spent nothing toward those goals.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

Trump visited the state several times in the lead-up to the runoffs but was criticized for touting his election fraud claims, which some believed could suppress turnout.

Three days before the runoffs, an hourlong telephone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger leaked in which the then-president asked Raffensperger to "find 11,780 votes" to overturn the Georgia presidential race in his favor.

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