Op-ed irks Greg | Crown Heights insanity | Avella’s revenge | Women-owned firms

Rezoning op-ed riles up readers

Readers occasionally think that Crain’s agrees with all the op-eds and letters it publishes, or at least confers some sort of legitimacy on their arguments. To clarify: Masthead editorials convey view of the Crain’s editorial board, while op-eds and letters reflect the opinions of their authors, who do not work for the newspaper.

We mention this because some feathers were ruffled by an op-ed Tuesday criticizing the city’s plan to rezone Midtown East. The authors asserted that the office district is doing just fine, and thus concluded that the city is merely aiming to extract public improvements from developers who take advantage of the new zoning. Crain’s editorials dating back to the Bloomberg administration have argued in favor of rezoning the district.

Crain’s columnist, blogger and former editor Greg David took exception not only to the op-ed’s argument, but to its very publication on crainsnewyork.com, because in his view, the piece got its facts wrong. Did he make that case, or are his complaints really about the authors’ judgments and spin? Decide for yourself.

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Candidate: seize all city land

Speaking of op-eds that conflict with the Crain’s worldview, a candidate in a Brooklyn City Council race argues that a community land trust should control the large, complex redevelopment of the Bedford-Union Armory. In fact, Jabari Brisport likes that idea so much, he says it should be carried out citywide.

Maverick’s revenge

Queens State Senator Tony Avella will introduce a bill next year to block future politicians from using the arcane maneuver that Brooklyn Councilman David Greenfield employed to handpick a successor. Greenfield waited until Monday, the latest day allowed by law, to announce he would not seek re-election—which allowed his “committee on vacancies” to place his ally Kalman Yeger on the ballot in his stead, rather than allow an open election early next year for the seat.

Avella did not specify how his legislative remedy would work, though he noted that the real purpose of a committee on vacancies is to replace a candidate in the event of sudden death or illness—not to take a better job, as Greenfield did.

The prickly state senator also couldn’t help but note in his press release Wednesday that Rep. Joseph Crowley, Avella’s nemesis, gained his seat in 1998 via the move he proposes to ban.

“Unfortunately, Queens politics is no stranger to political chicanery and the maneuvering of political power brokers looking to dupe the public,” Avella’s release said. “After all, current head of the Queens Democratic Party, Congressman Joe Crowley, used this very same tactic to avoid a primary and circumvent the will of the voters in his first ‘run’ for Congress two decades ago.” —Will Bredderman

NYC women-owned companies growing fast

For the first time, eight city-based companies—double the number in 2016—made the 50 Fastest-Growing Women Owned/Led Companies list compiled annually for 10 years by the Women Presidents’ Organization. The group’s president explains why.

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Councilman’s cockeyed excuse

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