Skip to comments.Gay, Lesbian, Transgendered Television Powering its message
Posted on 09/28/2004 4:24:14 AM PDT by ventana
Friends, I was searching around on a well-known job board and I came across this listing. I think it is frightening. As the mother of two teens, I cannot begin to explain the sexualization of this generation especially as promulgated by television. This new cable network should be met head on and now by the same folks who have been attacking CBS et al. Advertisers should be made aware of the displeasure of average Americans. We now have the media's and the corporate world's attention. Let's keep them on their toes!
MTV Networks To Launch LOGO A New Television Network For Gay And Lesbian Viewers
New York, N.Y. (May 25, 2004) LOGO, a new cable television network targeted at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) viewers will be launched by MTV Networks, a division of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIAB) on February 17, 2005. The new channel will be advertiser-supported, targeting primarily gays and lesbians, 25-49, and will provide a mix of original and acquired programming that is authentic, smart, inclusive and open-minded.
LOGO will launch in markets across America, including Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta and San Francisco, through national cable operators, including Time Warner Cable, RCN and additional distributors that will be announced in the coming weeks. LOGO joins Viacoms roster of popular and highly-targeted cable networks which includes MTV, Comedy Central, BET and Spike TV.
Director, Community Relations
The Director, Community Relations conducts public relations programs designed to create and maintain a favorable public image for LOGO within the LGBT community on a national and local level.
* Identify strong professional organizations that LOGO should be aligned with. Solidify existing relationships and develop new ones as appropriate. These relationships should be focused on establishing LOGO as a presence in LGBT communities nationally and locally.
* The ideal candidate has a proven track record of maintaining positive relationships within the LGBT community. Develop and maintain a calendar of LGBT events to be communicated on a regularly to the organization.
* The Director is on the front lines of establishing mutually beneficial relationships between the LGBT community and the channel, and should continually look for opportunities to collaborate.
* Formally report to LOGO senior management on the effectiveness of outreach efforts on a continuous basis.
* Disseminates information regarding LOGO's initiatives through newspapers, periodicals, television, and other media.
* Represents LOGO at special community events, track trends, and identify opportunities for LOGO to receive media coverage due to widely-reported news events.
* The Director will help create new community relations plans that link LOGO with important public affairs initiatives on national, regional and local levels.
* Media relations and special events planning and execution are integral to the position.
* The Director will establish and maintain relationships throughout the LGBT community, including the five major national organizations, their local counterparts, other local community organizations, diversity related organizations and LOGO's field public affairs team.
* Candidate must have demonstrated experience in developing national and local communications relations programming, as wells as proven skills in event development and media relations.
* Bachelors Degree
* Minimum 7 years experience in Corporate Communications or related field.
* Significant experience in Diversity related leadership positions.
* Experience planning and coordinating networking events.
* Outstanding verbal and written communications skills.
* Proven relationship builder.
* Proven ability to instill trust, act with integrity, and adapt quickly to a dynamic environment.
* Demonstrated strong project management skills with a customer focus.
* Strong organizational skills and attention to detail.
* Strategic thinker
Qualified Candidates apply via www.mtvncareers.com EOE
Contact Information Company: MTV Networks Address: NY 10036
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Waiting for the Bestiality Channel.
And the Pedophile Network.
How about The Sodom & Gomorrah Net??? All encompassing perversion for the masses.
I rarely watch TV, especially since they have at least one queer on every program. I don't want to see it. If I had a child living at home right now, I'm not even sure I'd have a television, or maybe I would, but only for watching movies. There is very little put out there for general consumption, especially for children, that is fit viewing for anyone, and everything from news to cartoons is agenda driven.
Here's an idea... don't watch. Don't let your kids watch. Abridging other's freedom of speech has never struck me as a conservative ideal.
Ya know, I've never even seen cable outside a hotel or a friend's house. We never bought it. We live rich and satisfying lives.
So what if pervs want a channel? How is that different from all the other porn cable buyers support? If you don't like it, don't fund it.
You are a voice of reason. However, I would add that the money saved on television can be better spent on other things -- such as magazines, books and music.
Maybe not a libertarians idea of an ideal, but conservatives have never shied away from the public square and whether or not open sewers whould be allowed to run through it...that's why we have zoning. V's wife.
I can only assume you all like to walk into town where basic hygiene, basic civilization for that matter, is respected. Since when has the freak sideshow as played out on Main street been tolerated? Television and media are the new main street and citizens who fund main street are entitled to a say. I think we are at least entitled to do what has been done in the case of Dan Rather, or at least we are entitled to alert the advertisers. What you libertarians suggest is that only the opposition gets to hold sway. You also seem to suggest prudery is objectionable in the marketplace of public ideas. If opposing a bunch of transgendered freaks polluting the culture is prudery, call me one, after all the word shares a root with prudence and that means discernment in my book. Flame on newbies :) V's wife.
I'd submit that a cable television station is more easily avoided than a public square. In the case of cable television, people actually buy the service. So, if someone doesn't want the product they simply choose not to buy it. After careful examination of multiple offers for cable television, I myself have chosen not to purchase the service. The $300+ a year I save buys many, many magazines, books and other media of the type that I prefer.
(Added after your last post): I don't think prudery is the issue, either. Also, I live in NYC, so the hygiene thing and freak show argument don't apply here. And, I'm not a libertarian. I just feel that life's too short to waste time with television.
Well, you must not have children. I teach religion; most kids are from homes with cable, but even if only 20% of the kids on a team, on the bus, in girl scouts/boy scouts, or in class in public or private schools are being indoctrinated with garbage, believe me, everybody is. Just like if the small farm town carny show had had some freak or a live sex show, believe me every kid in town would know about it. Television cable or otherwise is the New Town Square, the New Public Square and it is getting very perverse to the point that those allowing and excepting it are now ready to assign rights of marriage to just about anything: could be two guys; could be two gals; could be four guys and a gal... the question is if it's just a choice and anything goes, well then anything goes. That is not the name of the game in civilized society, not everything goes. Don't think you're selling out libertarianism just because you embrace the notion that not everything goes. The word for that is anarchy. V's wife.
If you live in Manhattan then you must be very much aware that the Manhattan of today is a much more livable place than of 15 years ago, namely because of a Mayor named Rudy Giuliani who wasn't a prude, but who did not think the freak show of 42nd street and it's spillage into many many surrounding blocks was a healthy thing for New York. Guess what! He was right. He got rid of the porn and voila! He cleaned up and revitilized an entire quarter of Manhattan. V's wife.
Okay -- you hit on a topic I actually care about. But before I begin my rant, I'd like to suggest a television show: Nova on PBS. It's one of the few shows I watch regularly and very, very good. They did a multi-part thing on string theory that was excellent.
Anyway, I feel the key is to educate parents as to what's out there in media so they can make smart choices for their children. For instance, did you know there is a rating system for video games? Called the ESRB.
Parents have to become smart consumers of media for their children. This is no different than meal planning. And while everyone knows what goes into a healthy meal and what their children eat, few parents know what their children are consuming in terms of media or what makes up a healthy diet of media.I personally know parents who wouldn't let their kids subsist on a diet of junk food, but let them watch hour upon hour of junk TV, junk music and junk video games.
I don't disagree about what parents should do to parent; the point I am making is we do not live in a vacuum. We walk the Public Sqaure and it need not be an open sewer. What the MTV people want to do is pollute the public square. You are making it a private issue and it is not. V's wife.
The business deals that cleaned up Times Square began during the Koch administration prior to Rudy coming into office. Interestingly, it actually began in Bryant Park -- the park behind the library on 42nd and Sixth. The park, which was once home to drug dealers, etc. was cleaned up by putting in a number of legit businesses that attracted local office workers. The good drove out the bad.
I believe that it's not a private issue -- in that it should be discussed openly and in good faith--but I also feel it is a personal issue. Nothing could be more personal than the raising of children. The media of today is far more pervasive than it has ever been and it is essential to instill good habits early on.
I think you have your facts wrong, it didn't begin with the Koch Administration and Union Square, Koch watched as Rome burned for one thing and for another it was Dave Dinkins who was in power when Bryant Park began a revitalization project overseen by the Rockefeller institute not the city. Furthermore, it was Rudy Giuliani who single handedly led the campaign to clean up the city. No other mayor enforced the decency laws, rezoned, policed and then let market forces take over as did he. It is a matter of record. If you don't believe me, contact the ACLU, he had them in a tizzy in his efforts to re zone the area, after all the ACLU gets big bucks from mob porn purveyors and they (the mob) hated Guiliani. You think Koch did that? You must be a lib. thttp://www.city-journal.org/html/9_4_the_unexpected.
Oh heck, here is the post:
The Unexpected Lessons of Times Squares Comeback
William J. Stern email article
respond to article
Almost everybody rightly celebrates Times Square's revival as one of New York City's greatest recent success stories. Just a short while ago it was sleazy, blighted, and crime-ridden; today it is all but crime free, it has driven out the prostitutes and pornographers who made it so seedy, it bustles with tourists by day and night, and world-spanning corporations such as AMC, Disney, and Viacom prosper within it. But if everyone knows about Times Square's remarkable comeback, few understand what made it happen.
I thought I knew what the ingredients for success were back in 1984, when I worked for Governor Mario Cuomo as head of the Urban Development Corporation (UDC). On my watch, the UDC put in place a gigantic project, first conceived in 1981, to revitalize Times Square, then at its absolute nadir. The $2.6 billion 42nd Street Redevelopment Plan would extend tax-abatement deals to developers and direct them to transform Times Square by building grand office towers, a huge merchandise market, and a fancy hotel; by restoring historic theaters; and by revamping the dingy 42nd Street subway station. Also sponsoring the plan were Mayor Ed Koch andunofficially but prominentlythe New York Times, whose headquarters gave the square its name in 1905.
But almost nothing we planned ever came to fruition. Instead, Times Square succeeded for reasons that had nothing to do with our building schemes and everything to do with government policy that, by fighting crime, cracking down on the sex industry, and cutting taxesalbeit only selectivelyat last allowed the market to do its work and bring the area back to life. The lesson: there's a right way and a wrong way for government to pursue economic development. It's a lesson that needs spelling out, since it's crucial to future economic recovery in New York.
It's important to recall accurately what Times Square was like when we officially launched our plan in November 1984, since today you still find a few people perversely nostalgic for it. Samuel R. Delany's new book, Times Square Red, Times Square Blue, is a case in point: it is a lament for defunct Times Square sex clubs like the Capri, the Eros, and the Venus. These risqué establishments, Delany argues, provided a harmless, playful way to subvert stuffy bourgeois morality.
But the Times Square Delany mourns was anything but playful. The area began going to seed during the late fifties after the sex industrywaved on by ill-advised federal and state court decisions that extended First Amendment protections to pornographyedged out and took over once-lustrous theaters that had been economically struggling since the Depression. The decline was rapid thereafter: the porn establishments attracted to Times Square an unsavory and increasingly criminal crowd. Already by 1960, the New York Times was calling the heart of Times Square42nd Street between Seventh and Eighththe "worst block in the city." By the eighties, things got worse still, with an amazing 2,300 crimes on the block in 1984 alone, 20 percent of them serious felonies such as murder or rape. Dispirited police, at the time more concerned with avoiding scandals than fighting crimeespecially low-level crime like the prostitution that was swamping Times Squarewould investigate the serious felonies but mostly stood by and watched as disorder grew (see "What We've Learned About Policing," Spring 1999).
The lawless climate had devastating economic consequences. In 1984, the entire 13-acre area that we sought to revitalize employed only 3,000 people in legitimate businesses and paid the city only $6 million in property taxesless than what a medium-size office building typically produced in tax revenue.
No legitimate businessindeed, scarcely a normal personwould willingly visit so blighted and threatening an area. As head of the UDC during the mid-eighties, I would walk through Times Square at night, a state trooper by my side, and feel revulsion. We'd hurry past prostitute-filled single-room-occupancy hotels and massage parlors, greasy spoons and pornographic bookstores; past X-rated movie houses and peep shows and a pathetic assortment of junkies and pushers and johns and hookers and pimpsthe whole panorama of big-city low life. Everywhere I'd look, I'd seeexcept for female prostitutesonly men. A UDC study later verified my impression empirically: 90 percent of those who walked Times Square's streets were adult males. Times Square was haunted with them, like a circle of lost souls in Dante.
All of us involved in the redevelopment project were New Yorkers, born and bred. We remembered a better Times Square. In the early fifties, Times Square had been a childhood delight for me. On Saturday, my father and I would bus down from Harlem to see a movie, often a Roy Rogers or Gene Autry cowboy picture. Then we'd get something to eat at Nedick's and afterward just stroll around, gazing up at the giant signs that adorned Times Square's buildings, then as now. Mario Cuomo and Ed Koch had similar happy memories. The mayor was old enough even to have heard firsthand accounts of Times Square's heyday during the 1920s, when 13 theaters studded 42nd Street between Seventh and Eighth and lit up in neon the legendary "Great White Way," as theatergoers crowded into the latest creations of impresario George M. Cohan or of musicians such as George and Ira Gershwin. The regret we felt over the passing of this glamorous world of our youth gave the project a powerful emotional boost.
Our plan was Neronian in scale. Its biggest component was to be Times Square Center: four giant office towers, containing 4.1 million square feet of floor space in all, looming over Times Square's southern border. Offered a $240 million tax abatement, George Klein's Park Tower Realty would develop the site. Perennial modernist Philip Johnson, together with fellow architect John Burgee, would design the buildings. In Johnson's controversial design, four-story red-granite bases would support glass towers topped with iron-crested glass mansard roofs. Each tower would light up at night to dispel the shadow world below; at street level, a pedestrian thoroughfare would connect the four towers and establish a new hub for subway travel.
Johnson's gargantuan buildings weren't the only part of the redevelopment project conceived on a grand scale. We also called for a 2.4 million-square-foot computer and garment wholesale mart between 40th Street and 42nd Street on the east side of Eighth Avenue, and a 550-room luxury hotel with additional office and retail space on West 42nd Street at Eighth Avenue. Nine historic theaters, including the legendary New Victory and the New Amsterdam, would get a $9 million spruce-up and reopen as nonprofit cultural centers featuring legitimate entertainment. The final component was a major $100 million makeover of the 42nd Street subway station, which would be outfitted with a computerized information center, scores of shops, and six new entrances, among other improvements. As part of the overall deal, Park Tower Realty would pick up most of the tab for the nonprofit theaters and the subway. Everything had to go forward at the same time, we felt, since the sheer momentum of the development would push out the sleaze for good.
Unveiling the plan early in 1984, we felt enormous pride. After all, how many people have the opportunity to leave such a deep and positive mark on the historyand in the landscapeof a world city? But, though I can't speak for the others, I felt doubt, too. Perhaps the Pharaohs could contemplate such a mega-project with equanimity, but could a group of New York City kids really pull it off? But I suppressed my doubt: I had informed Governor Cuomo that I would soon step down as head of the UDCI had grown disgusted with New York's pervasive political corruption and would leave public service for good in 1985and I wanted to feel as if I had accomplished something big and worthwhile in government before I left. This project would be it.
On November 8, 1984, the now-defunct New York City Board of Estimate approved the project, removing the last political hurdle to its implementation. We all exhaled in relief, since reaching that point hadn't been easy. From the moment state and city officials first announced the redevelopment scheme in February 1981, it faced opposition from activists, who worried that it would displace lower-income people from their homes, and from the cultural left, who defended Times Square's sex businesses as constitutionally protected speechspeech that had the added virtue of subverting bourgeois proprieties. And after Johnson and Burgee's blueprint for the towers went public, civic groups lobbied for a less obtrusive design that took more account of smaller surrounding buildings. But none of these forces mustered enough support to defeat the project.
An internal disagreement had also broken out over who would get the potentially lucrative nod to develop the mart. The dispute was really part of a larger battle over who would predominantly shape the new Times Square. The city and the New York Times favored a team of Trammel Crow (a Texas-based developer) and George Klein; the state, thinking that Klein already had enough on his hands, preferred Paul Milstein, a major New York developer. An artful political compromise between Mayor Koch and Governor Cuomotwo politicians who harbored deep mutual suspicion from past political campaigns against each othereventually settled on a consortium that brought together Klein and Milstein, though neither the mayor nor the governor ever questioned the idea that government should be picking developers in the first place. By the autumn of 1984, everything was set to go.
Yet after the Board of Estimate vote, the plan withered. The four new towers never went up, the wholesale mart never opened, the hotel never appeared, the subway renovations never happened, and the nonprofit theaters never materialized. What happened?
The commercial real estate market, perhaps already beginning to peak in 1984, tanked with the stock-market crash of 1987, and Klein hesitated to start work on what were now unlettable office towers. Already in 1986, the Dewey, Ballantine law firm, which was to have been a major tenant in Times Square Center, had withdrawn. In 1989, Chemical Bank, another anchor tenant, dropped out. By 1992, Governor Cuomo was letting the developers off the hook: "It doesn't make sense to go forward immediately with the building of the office towersthere's no market for them," the governor observed. "To hold these people to the contract is to ask them to commit an act of economic self-mutilation," he added. Later, after more than a decade on the project, Klein would leave, having built or renovated nothing.
But while the original building project remained stalled, something surprising happened: Times Square started to revive. First, it was a trickle of activity. In 1990, Viacom, the huge entertainment firm that owns Nickelodeon and MTV, signed a lease at 1515 Broadway. In 1992, the publishing giant Bertelsmann AG bought 1540 Broadway from Citicorp. In 1993, the Morgan Stanley investment firm purchased 1585 Broadway from Salomon Equities.
Then the trickle became a flood. On the last day of the Dinkins administration in 1993, the Walt Disney Company signed a memo of understanding with the city to refurbish and reopen the New Amsterdam Theater, though it didn't finalize the dealwhich included a $25 million low-interest government loanuntil 1995. In 1995, AMC, the entertainment conglomerate, agreed to move to the neighborhood; Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum decided to open a Times Square branch to join its famous London counterpart; the Tishman Urban Development Corporation contracted to build a big hotel; and the Durst Organization announced that it would erect a 1.5 million-square-foot office building, taking over one-quarter of the site originally intended for Times Square Center. By the summer of that eventful year, the left-wing urbanist Marshall Berman was complaining that Times Square had "become the focus of some of the most ambitious commercial development New York has ever seen"and it hasn't stopped since.
The ever-accelerating development has brought back the whole neighborhood. Disney refurbished the New Amsterdam Theater, and it reopened with a wildly successful run of The Lion King. The 100-year-old New Victory Theater, which showed porn films in the eighties, reopenedbeautifully restored to its original gloryas a venue for children's theater. And new restaurants like Caroline's Comedy Nation and the upscale Russian Firebird bustled from the moment they opened. By 1997, Broadway was having its best year in nearly two decades, as 10.6 million theater lovers flocked to 38 different shows.
Times Square was bursting with investment and renewal not because of the building project, since it had built nothing, nor even because the nation had entered into its present economic boom42nd Street kept rotting away through the economic upswings of the 1960s and 1980sbut because government was at last starting to behave the way government should behave if it wants to nourish prosperity. Government began to do three thingstwo of them with the plan's help, though the city could have done them more effectively on its ownthat ignited Times Square's revitalization: it started to fight crime, it kicked out the sex industry, and it lowered taxes selectively for big businesses willing to locate in the area. And as Times Square became safer and less sleazy, its natural advantages became strikingly apparent: at the center of the city's subway system, home to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, near Penn Station and Grand Central Station, it boasts a transportation infrastructure unmatched in the United States, and it has always been one of New York's cultural landmarks.
Mayor Abe Beame took the first hesitant steps to tame Times Square's disorder in 1977, when he enacted nuisance abatement laws to shut down some of the neighborhood's ubiquitous massage parlors. But the first really effective measures came courtesy of a now-retired deputy inspector named Richard Mayronne, assigned to the Midtown South precinct that includes Times Square during the mid-eighties. As former NYPD deputy chief John Timoney (now Philadelphia's police commissioner) remembers him, Mayronne was "a big tough guy, a cop's cop, and easily the most imposing police commander I've ever met." He was also something more, Timoney stresses: an innovator in police tactics. Mayronne covered his office with neighborhood maps, and used pins to chart crime patterns in order to employ his forces efficiently creating a crude, pre-electronic version of Compstat, the computerized crime-tracking system that has since revolutionized New York City policing under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
Even more important, Timoney recounts, Mayronne instructed his men to make arrests for low-level crimes such as prostitution and minor drug transactions that, when left unpunished, create a climate of lawlessness that encourages criminals to act on their darker impulses, leading to ever more serious crime. Such quality-of-life policing, as most observers now recognize, is a major reason for New York's sharply lower crime rates, and the absence of it had contributed to Times Square's decay. The new techniques paid off: as Mayronne's Midtown South successors continued to monitor crime patterns and keep up the pressure on quality-of-life infractions, crime dropped. By the end of 1991, Times Square's crime rate was 12 percent lower than in 1984nothing like the 68 percent citywide reduction that Giuliani would achieve, but a healthy start nonetheless.
With Giuliani's election as mayor in 1993, the war on crime dramatically intensified. Together with his police commissioner William Bratton, the mayor completely transformed New York City's approach to policing: Compstat soon allowed the NYPD to deploy personnel and resources efficiently, and quality-of-life policing became the norm throughout the city. Thanks to the new techniquesa quantum improvement over Mayronne's early innovationsTimes Square's crime rate dropped to an infinitesimal level. Felonies committed on 42nd Street between Seventh and Eighththe "worst block in the city"fell from 2,300 in 1984 to a mere 60 in 1995, prompting a city official to enthuse that "crime has reached such a low level on that block that we don't keep statistics anymore." In the entire Midtown South precinct, felony complaints fell 50 percent, from 20,000 in 1992 to 10,000 in 1997. Giuliani and Bratton also sent a powerful message through their public rhetoric that the city would no longer tolerate crime and disorder, heightening New Yorkers' and tourists' expectations about safety and soothing the jangling nerves of the business community.
Encouraged by dwindling crime, tourists began crowding back into Times Squarealways potentially one of New York's biggest drawsbringing much needed revenue into the city. Giuliani had grasped the connection between cutting crime and reviving Times Square's tourism even before his mayoralty began. The mayor recently told me about how, during the 1970s, he watched Martin Scorsese's film Taxi Driver, which depicted Times Square as a hellish nightmare, and wondered how adversely it might affect tourism. During his 1993 mayoral campaign, Giuliani got a firsthand insight into the answer. Driving down Broadway in his campaign car, he saw a tourist frantically chasing a thief who had snatched his wife's purse, bruising her hand in the process. Giuliani, jumping from the car, joined the chase, but only caught up with the tourist, not the purse snatcher. No cops were around, and none arrived until 30 minutes had passed, assuring the crook's clean getaway. Again, Giuliani thought: what would these tourists think about visiting Times Square in the future?
But that was six years ago. Today, reassured investors and tourists no longer have reason to shun the area.
The 42nd Street Redevelopment Plan had nothing to do with this revolution in crime fighting and the safer Times Square it createdthe main reason investment again started to flow into the neighborhood, just as it's the main reason investment has started to flow into a markedly safer 125th Street, also the site of an ambitious, but largely irrelevant, government redevelopment plan. But through the state's Urban Development Corporation, the redevelopment plan did play a key role in the second thing government did that helped to revive Times Square: kicking out the sex businesses.
From 1984 on, drawing on the UDC's special powers to condemn for economic blight, the redevelopment project began to shut down Times Square's sex clubs. By 1990, after a hugely expensive six-year condemnation process, the UDC had taken title to two-thirds of the 13-acre project area, sending the sex businesses scuttling to other corners of the city. The ultimate cost reached nearly $300 million, a sum initially advanced by the developers, whom the plan would later reimburse through tax abatements. It proved so expensive because condemnation requires court-determined compensation for the owners of condemned properties and hefty legal fees to fight the protracted lawsuits when the owners resisted being kicked out.
Instead of condemning, why didn't the city just zone out the sex businesses? After all, throughout the nineteenth centuryand indeed, for most of the twentiethcities freely applied tough zoning regulations to the sex industry, viewing it, apart from any moral objection, as poisonous to other economic activity. In New York during the 1930s, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, whom no one would accuse of being an early member of the religious right, waged war on the city's burlesque housesthe sex clubs of that erabecause he knew that they drew in crime and drove away legitimate commerce.
But that was well before the late 1950s, when activist judges, in effect defining away the concept of obscenity, extended First Amendment protection to strip clubs and pornography (see "Free to Strip?" Spring 1999). To apply zoning restrictions to sex businesses was henceforth different from applying them to, say, a slaughterhouse or a chemical plant, since now to do so supposedly violated the First Amendment. It also would invariably incur the wrath of the cultural left, loudly decrying censorship and the imposition of puritan values. The redevelopment plan allowed the city and the state to escape these invented First Amendment restrictions and deflect the criticisms of the cultural left, accomplishing indirectly what zoning would have done directly and far less expensively. Support for the project's condemnation efforts also allowed the New York Times's editorial page to have it both ways: it denounced on economic grounds the sex businesses defacing its own backyard that it regularly defended elsewhere as constitutionally protected forms of speech. The Times's stance seemed to be: "Yes to sex businesses, but not in our neighborhood."
Yet condemnation might not have been necessary after all. As early as 1976, the Supreme Court started to allow municipalities to subject "adult" businesses to zoning regulations for reasons of "secondary effects" on neighborhoods, with economic blight leading the listthe Fiorello La Guardia argument, we could call it. Looking back, zoning might have proceeded on the same rationale as condemnation and still have passed constitutional muster, though this certainly wasn't the high-priced legal opinion we were getting at the time (or the inclination of the governor, the mayor, or the Times, all averse to challenging New York's left-wing judicial culture). Later, in the mid-1990s, Mayor Giuliani did employ the "secondary effects" argument to pass sweeping regulations restricting sex-oriented video stores, X-rated theaters, and topless bars to a few isolated non-residential neighborhoods, where they'd cause the least economic damage. "They hurt the economy of the city; they cost us jobs; they cost us money," Giuliani bluntly explained.
But for Times Square, this was just sweeping up: thanks to the plan, most of the sex industry had already moved on by 1990, when the first signs of the area's economic rebirth became evident. The city had finally liberated Times Square from sleaze, though at a great, and probably unnecessary, expense. With the sex industry gone, Times Square could at last begin to develop its economic potential.
The redevelopment plan provided a second major spark to revitalizing Times Square: it reduced taxes for businesses willing to locate in the neighborhood. It did this, however, not by giving the city an overall tax cut, but instead by awarding special tax abatements, low-interest loans, and other subsidies to well-connected firms. From the original $240 million tax abatement given to George Klein to the $40 million abatement given to Morgan Stanley in 1992 to the $25 million low-interest loan given to Disney in 1994 to the $20 million incentive package offered to Ernst & Young just this yeareverybody in the new Times Square has some kind of deal from the plan. The results show the power of supply-side tax cuts: more than $2.5 billion in private-sector investment has poured into Times Square since 1995.
Any sensible economist would say: Why not cut taxes citywide? Giuliani, a defender of tax abatements, has a tough answer. There's no political constituency in New York for it, he claims, and polls show that he's right (though a mayor passionate about tax cuts could use his bully pulpit to begin to create a constituency for them). So if citywide tax cuts remain politically unfeasible, the mayor argues, the only thing the city can do to boost investment is to cut taxes selectively. The trouble with this approach is that the considerable political clout a firm needs to land a choice tax deal from the city means that it is invariably the older, already established, company, not the brash newcomer, that gets a break.
This favoring of the old and the well-connected over the new and the as yet unknownit's really a form of statedirected capitalism, where government substitutes its bureaucratic thinking for the market's invisible handmeans that New York squanders enormous economic possibilities. Imagine a 29-year-old college dropout named Bill Gates coming to us in 1984 and asking for a tax abatement to build a 42nd Street office for his new computer-software company. "What's an operating system, and what's a Gates?" I can hear Koch sneering. We would have laughed Gates out the door. But for the last quarter-century, it has been the bold outsiders like Gates, usually bringing some undreamed-of service or technology to the market, who have fueled real economic growth and created most of the country's 70 million new jobs.
As great as the new Times Square is, what might it look like today if New York City's taxes weren't so anti-competitive and instead encouraged up-and-coming firms to locate in Gotham? If then-fledgling enterprises like Microsoft, Cisco, or Oracle, drawn in by low taxes, dropping crime rates, and a newly non-sleazy atmosphere, had moved into Times Square during the eighties and nineties, these upstarts would have created even more jobs and produced even more tax revenue than did the well-connected businesses that now reside in the neighborhood, lured in by politically negotiated tax abatements and sweetheart deals.
Giuliani asserts that "it will be perhaps 20 years" before Gotham's tax structure is competitively on a par with more business-friendly cities. But perhaps the mayor is too pessimistic. Even some of his detractors admit that he helped transform New Yorkers' attitudes on crime and proved that the city wasn't ungovernable. Perhaps some future mayor might build a political constituency to enact major, across-the-board tax cuts. He could use this argument: the New York Times, the state, and the city favored tax cuts for Times Square. Those tax cuts worked. Why not, then, try them for the entire city?
So what did the 42nd Street Development Plan really achieve? The four towers will eventually go up, but they won't look anything like those we proposed in the early eighties, and different developers will build them. No mart is on the horizon. The theaters have been given a new birth, but their parent is the market, not the government plan. The 42nd Street subway is still grungy.
The plan, in retrospect, seems like a giant Rube Goldberg device. It let public officials lower taxes without challenging the orthodoxies of New York's welfare state, and it let them drive out sex businesses without conflicting with court decisions on obscenity or unduly angering the cultural left. But Times Square's revitalization cost much more than it needed tomuch more than if New York had simply abandoned the redevelopment project and pursued effective policing, smart zoning, and aggressive tax-cutting from the start.
Theres a right way and a wrong way for government to foster economic development.
Copyright The Manhattan Institute
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