Jets Stadium Slip Sliding

The battle over the proposed stadium for the New York Jets football team continues to wage, but the momentum seems to be shifting toward opponents of the facility. The biggest cheerleader for the $2.2 billion stadium, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, will probably be seeing a showdown with the City Council, and might be outgunned.

The 50-member council recently voted against Bloomberg’s plan to use $300 million of public funds for the stadium, with the count at 48 to 2. A mayoral spokesman told the New York Daily News that the bill to require city council approval of the funds Bloomberg plans to use is “patently illegal” and “an attempted power grab” by City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, a mayoral candidate.

Bloomberg will likely veto the bill, but Miller told the paper he expects the bill to be overridden and the courts to uphold the council’s opinion.

“We understand that [Bloomberg is] desperate,” Miller told the Daily News, “but he’s still wrong.”

The mayor was already seeing opposition from the Public Authorities Control Board, which has to sign off on the project. At stake is the 2012 Olympic Summer Games; Bloomberg wants to have a stadium in place before the International Olympic Committee chooses the host city July 6th.

New York Gov. George Pataki also wants the stadium, but he’s apparently threatening to pull his support if Bloomberg doesn’t scratch his back.

The Freedom Tower, which is expected to be built on the site of the World Trade Towers, is being dragged into the issue. The New York Police Department is resisting the project because it believes the tower is vulnerable to terrorist attacks, but Pataki aides privately told Bloomberg administration officials that if the NYPD doesn’t back off, the state won’t put money into the stadium project, according to the New York Post.