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Barbara Nelson is editor of Real Estate New York.

NEW YORK CITY-New York City democratic mayoral candidates–Fernando Ferrer, Virginia Fields, Gifford Miller and Anthony Weiner–said today that they wouldn’t support city funding for private business development, such as sports stadiums. The four candidates in November’s race fielded questions at a forum hosted by the Union Square Partnership and didn’t stray far from democratic party lines, touting affordable housing, jobs for the middle class, education reform and small business development.

The city and state’s plan to fund a parking garage adjacent to the new $800-million Yankee stadium didn’t sit well with former Bronx Borough President Ferrer, who was also against the city’s outlay of $350 million to help fund the construction of a platform over the Hudson Yards for the Jet’s New York Sports and Convention Center.

“If the Yankees and Jets want to build a stadium, they should be permitted to do so,” said Ferrer. “The city’s proposed expenditure of $70 million for a parking garage is one of those things that ought to be rightly privatized.” Under the Yankees proposed plan, the city and state would contribute $135 million and $70 million, respectively, and each would contribute about $5 million upfront to a capital reserve fund for the new stadium.

Manhattan Borough President Fields said that public spending should be prioritized. “My preference starts with schools and affordable housing,” she said. “Given the fact that stadiums can be built without major public investments, education and affordable housing are where the focus should be.”

City Council Speaker Gifford Miller said he would support public funding for infrastructure surrounding the new Yankee stadium, as did the other candidates. US Congressman Anthony Weiner, representing Queens and Brooklyn, said he believes the city’s economic development focus should be redirected to “help business of all sizes,” not just big business.

All candidates refused to support the Jet’s stadium construction on the West Side of Manhattan and echoed Ferrer’s comments. “Not only was it in an inappropriate place, it was a totally inappropriate use of public money,” he said.

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