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And the Doctor is Off! (A Wrap Up)
December 13th, 2007

A week has now passed since Dan Doctoroff, the deputy mayor for economic development, announced his resignation, and hardly a day has gone by without ink being spilled over his departure. While many of the stories try to cast an unbiased eye across his legacy, many of of the words written have fulfilled the expectations of a heady debate over his tenure. The Wonkster presents a compilation of the news below.

Reaction from bloggers has been decidedly unfavorable for Bloomberg’s right hand man. OnNYTurf says “good riddance,” and Queens Crap thinks it is a “truly great day for the City of New York.” The Neighborhood Retail Alliance is also happy to see him go, and criticizes his “disdain for the small and minority businesses” also calling into question his relationship with the Related Companies, a major developer. And after Doctoroff’s revelation to The Real Estate that he thinks maybe the Atlantic Yards project should have gone through the city’s land use process, the Atlantic Yards Report, dedicated to “watchdogging” the project, simply says he’s finally “admitted” the fact.

Others chime in. Writing in Gotham Gazette, Tom Angotti sees the compariusons between Doctoroff and master planner Robert Moses as widly premature given that “Moses spent over half a century building public infrastructure while Doctoroff spent little more than a half-decade promoting mostly private commercial and residential development. But Angotti sees one similarity between the two: “They both claimed a monopoly on grand visions and overlooked the diverse ideas emerging from the citys neighborhoods.”

Lukas Herbert of Save Our Parks tells John DeSio, “I think that Dan Doctoroff is worse than Robert Moses.” And Ron Shiffman, former planning commission, provides a wealth of criticism of the planner-in-chief for Matt Chaban as he asks, “Did Doctoroff Sell New York’s Soul?” Shiffman says Doctoroff didn’t listen to the community and was “blind” to social equity.

But Rep. Anthony Weiner, a mayoral candidate, praised Doctoroff, saying his departure would be a “loss” for the city. The NY Post also goes to bat for him, declaring, “Just as Rudy Giuliani disproved the notion that New York City was ungovernable, the Bloomberg-Doctoroff team transformed the city in the area of economic development.”

The Voice’s Tom Robbins would disagree, however. In an article called “A Fool’s Gold,” Robbins says Doctoroff should be judged on his failed effort to bring the Olympics to the city. “For almost five years after he became Michael Bloomberg’s development czar in 2001, Doctoroff would talk about nothing else,” he wrote.

The NY Observer and City Hall News present overviews, as does the NY Press, with an article that is much less opinionated than its title of “Development Hell” would suggest. The Post also had an interview with the man in question.

Beyond Doctoroff’s legacy, the future for him and his seat have caused some debate as well. Speculation has already begun as to who will take his place, and City Room and New York Magazine round up some of the names being floated. Doctoroff’s new role as president of Bloomberg LP has also raised some ethical questions, as the Times has noted. And his chief of staff, James Whelan, will also enter the private sector. He is headed for Muss Development, where he will take over the public affairs office, which handles lobbying.

For more, as always, be sure to check our Land Use Links in the News for a collection of the best articles on the subject.

By on December 13, 2007, 12:04 pm
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Gotham Gazette is published by Citizens Union Foundation and is made possible by support from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Altman Foundation,the Fund for the City of New York and donors to Citizens Union Foundation. Please consider supporting Citizens Union Foundation's public education programs. Critical early support to Gotham Gazette was provided by the Charles H. Revson Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

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