NY Observer Excerpt -
But for a City Council hearing on Coney Island on Wednesday, the Bloomberg administration bused in supporters of its own plan, only to provoke sharp criticism from the Council, as members alleged a misuse of taxpayer funds.
Toward the end of the exhausting hearing—the eight-hour-plus event examined the administration’s plans to redevelop the amusement area—Councilman Simcha Felder asked a person testifying in favor of the city’s plan how he got to the hearing, and learned he had been bused in by the Coney Island Development Corporation, according to multiple people at the hearing. That organization is an economic development arm of city government that focuses on the development and implementation of the Bloomberg plan.
Upon further questioning of a city official, CIDC president Lynn Kelly, the council members were told that the city had three buses running to bring people to the hearing, a fact that did not sit will with at least two council members in attendance. Those members, Mr. Felder and Councilman Robert Jackson, questioned why city funds should go toward lobbying the Council for the administration’s own proposal, particularly as the members said they are barred from using their own discretionary money to fund similar acts. The CIDC promoted the hearing, urging its supporters to testify in its favor.