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October 15, 2005

The Straight Story on ‘Scaling Down’

Gloria Mattera, Green Party Candidate for Brooklyn Borough President, takes Marty to task for his dubious claim of wanting the Atlantic Yards Project scaled down. Letter to the editor of the Brooklyn Papers:

In the September 24 article entitled “Make It Smaller “, Jess Wisloski reports on the Brooklyn Borough President candidates’ forum held on September 19 at Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church.

The piece focused on Mr. Markowitz’s comment that the Atlantic Yards Projected needs to be ‘scaled down.’ Has Mr. Markowitz had some kind of revelation as to the tragedy of this proposal? Or was his comment made to blunt my criticism and the growing opposition to his relentless cheerleading of the biggest swindle in Brooklyn history?

I say it is the latter.

Fort Greene Association chairperson, Phillip Kellog, clearly expressed the sentiments of many when he was quoted as saying, “I’m not sure how much credibility it has in this point of the process.” Mr. Markowitz’s reluctance to answer the reporter’s follow up questions with specific proposals or ideas further indicates his grandstanding on one of the most important issues facing our borough.

Sounding like the career politician he is, Mr. Markowitz seems to have become aware that the community opposition to the Atlantic Yards Project will be expressed on Election Day, November 8.

By saying the Atlantic Yards Project should be less than proposed is meaningless.

It is an outrage that Mr. Markowitz abandoned his responsibility under the NYC charter by allowing Mr. Ratner to set up an extra-legal process and sign private agreements with supportive community groups rather than opening the entire proposal, for all the effected communities to have a say. His shameless cheerleading has made it impossible for him to be fair and critical about the wisdom of the proposal.

We can only view his comments about working “cooperatively and collectively” to create a scaled down version as a sham and hypocritical. The residents of Prospect Heights and Fort Greene deserve more than empty rhetoric and should be treated with the same respect the residents in the “suburban” areas of Brooklyn who Mr. Markowitz protects with “down-zoned” development.

Mr. Markowitz’s comments about scaling down the project does not address the de-mapping of streets, the abuse of eminent domain or the heavily tax subsidized basketball arena, which he is quoted as saying will stay. What “scaled down’ version of the project will Bruce Ratner agree to? Thirty stories instead of forty? The original seventeen towers instead of the current nineteen?

The Borough President should be the defender of Brooklyn – not its nemesis. As Borough President, I promise to do the following:

  • Immediately ask the MTA to rescind the below market hand out to Forrest City Ratner

  • Submit the project through Uniform Land Use Review Process, so .

  • Re-negotiate the Community Benefits Agreement with all the community groups affected - not solely with the ones who support the project.

  • Include a mandatory percentage of affordable housing for yearly household incomes below $35,000

  • Eliminate the threat or attempt to use eminent domain against current property owners.

  • Call on the current Borough President and Bruce Ratner to issue an immediate public apology to the residents who were bullied into selling their homes and businesses, and were coerced into signing gag order, by Forrest City

Borough President Markowitz, prove me wrong! Give up your self- serving dream of bringing a professional sports team into our high- density neighborhood. Reject Bruce Ratner cronyism. Work with communities instead of developers to build our borough’s future. Take action to leave a positive legacy in Brooklyn

Do nothing and lose your job.

Gloria Mattera Green Party Candidate for Brooklyn Borough President

Posted by amy at October 15, 2005 6:21 PM