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Negotiations over N.Y. stadium continue

NEW YORK (June 5, 2005) -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver were still negotiating about the mayor's proposal for a $2 billion stadium June 5, the day before a rescheduled vote on the project.

"My concern is the future of downtown, the future of ground zero, the 24 million square feet of commercial space that are part of the West Side complex and how that competes with the redevelopment of downtown," Silver said after ducking out of an awards breakfast for a private meeting with Bloomberg.

Asked about Silver's comments, Bloomberg said, "I will do everything I can to rebuild lower Manhattan, but I also have a responsibility for other parts of the city. We have to make sure we continue to build in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and all parts of Manhattan."

The stadium on Manhattan's West Side would serve as a home for the New York Jets and the 2012 Olympics, should the city win its bid to host the games. The Public Authorities Control Board's vote on $300 million in state funding for the project was postponed for a second time June 3 and rescheduled for June 6, the same day an International Olympic Committee evaluation of the city's bid for the games becomes public.

The 114 voting IOC members will select a 2012 host city on July 6, choosing from New York, Paris, London, Moscow and Madrid.

The Public Authorities Control Board consists of representatives appointed by Gov. George Pataki, Silver and state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno. Pataki is a stadium proponent, while the other two have yet to sign off on the state's financial role in the development.

Silver, whose district includes the World Trade Center site, has long raised concerns about Bloomberg's ambitious plans for developing Manhattan's far West Side -- plans that include the stadium as well as office buildings and an expanded Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

"It is not a matter of, as some people have characterized it, what do I want," Silver said at a breakfast sponsored by Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty. "I want his midtown vision not to hurt downtown."

Bloomberg, who spoke before marching in the annual Salute to Israel Parade, responded, "The stadium is really not a stadium. It is part of our convention center, without which we are not going to have anywhere near the jobs that we need in this city."

Asked about his meeting with Silver, Bloomberg demurred and said, "Shelly and I have been friends for a number of years and we continue to be friends. We talked about the whitefish, the coffee, all the speakers, and all the good things going on in this city."

Silver said the stadium could be built in Queens, an option that has been dismissed by Bloomberg and rejected by Jets owner Woody Johnson.

"If a deal can be worked, it should be worked by tomorrow," he said about the scheduled vote. "If it can't be worked, you know, we should also express that tomorrow."

Associated Press writer Pat Milton contributed to this report.

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