Archive for March 8th, 2005

8th March

First Published in The New York Sun, March 8, 2005

By Andrew Wolf

The Ognibene factor has already affected New York City public policy. The threat of losing the Republican line to former Council member Thomas Ognibene may have moved Mayor Bloomberg away from support of the proposed rail freight tunnel between New Jersey to Brooklyn. This is the kind of public work that the mayor usually favors: Big, bold, and funded by others, in this case the federal government.
So it came as a surprise when the mayor, speaking at a meeting last week in Queens, announced he now opposes the project, reversing nearly two years of support. Why? Despite polls that show Mr. Ognibene running behind the mayor among Republicans, there is no reason for confidence in the mayor’s camp. So few GOP voters have been surveyed, and so few can swing a primary that it becomes a priority for Mr. Bloomberg to do what he likes least: fashion his positions to shore up unhappy voting blocs. In this case, he is smoothing feathers among the residents of Maspeth, Queens, who fear increased truck traffic should the tunnel be built.