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July 15, 2006

Enter the Ratner candidate

Tracy BoylandThere's been much ado about anti-Atlantic Yards candidates emerging from the "warp" in Brooklyn's political landscape caused by the Atlantic Yards project proposal — now, enter the "Ratner candidate."

Word is that term-limited-out former NY City Councilmember (41st District), and scion to one of Brooklyn's most entrenched political dynasties, Tracy Boyland, is getting into the race against State Senator Velmanette Montgomery. A source tells us that, with the help of some 20 paid signature gatherers, Boyland has submitted petitions to run against the incumbent, who was, until recently, assured an uncontested waltz to another term in office.

Back in 2004, NoLandGrab identified Tracy Boyland as a pro-Atlantic Yards pol. We sent out letters requesting position statements from politicians and candidates whose districts contained, or were in close proximity to, the Atlantic Yards footprint; Boyland's office never responded. Two years ago, Boyland ran against Congressman Major Owens and was perceived at the time as the anti-anti-Bruce Ratner candidate. Her half-hearted campaign was largely developer-funded, and therefore we concluded that her no-response could only mean that she was for the project. Since that time, according to this "article" in Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner's phony newspaper The Brooklyn Standard, Boyland attended the May 19, 2005 Ratner-Bloomberg-ACORN press conference announcing the Atlantic Yards affordable housing deal.

The underbelly of corruption in the Brooklyn MachinePolitik has been exposed with: the "but-everyone-does-it" guilty plea to a misdemeanor by State Assemblymember and current 10th District congressional candidate Roger Green in 2004; party boss Clarence Norman's conviction in 2005; and, most recently, State Assemblymember Diane Gordon's bribery scandal. However, it's still business as usual for the Brooklyn Machine, which has been throwing support behind Atlantic Yards, from Cheerleader-in-Chief BP Marty Markowitz to a full plate of Ratner supporters, brought on board by Ratner's political man behind the curtain, Forest City Ratner Executive VP Bruce Bender.

One of the ongoing mysteries of the current campaign season is why 57th-AD candidate Hakeem Jeffries and 11th-District Congressional candidate David Yassky continue charting a middle-of-the road course with their positions on Atlantic Yards, while making public appearances with staunch Ratner supporters, many of whom owe their jobs to Ratner. Might they be "Ratner candidates" lying in wait? The Machine has stepped up to the plate to support Jeffries, but has stepped back from the crowded field vying for the open seat in the 11th District.

With the exception of a trio of politicians whose districts contain Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards proposal footprint - City Councilmember Letitia James, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery and Congressman Major Owens - and a couple politicians from the last progressive political-reform era, Assemblymembers Jim Brennan and Joan Millman, everyone else appears to have fallen in line behind Ratner.

In the two-and-a-half years since Bruce Ratner first announced his plans, the opposition has been working to build a political base. Strong showings in key state-assembly districts by Green Party candidate Gloria Mattera and Democratic candidate for Public Advocate Norman Siegel in 2005 (even for write-in Green Party candidate Susan Metz in 2004) indicate to those who understand the political calculus of election-day vote tallying that one or more of the anti-Atlantic Yards candidates stand a fair chance of getting elected, with the support of the grassroots.

NoLandGrab will be keeping an eye on whether the we're-not-dead-yet Brooklyn Political Machine will pull out all the stops against Montgomery, or whether this is another symbolic candidacy, a favor to the ghost in the machine, who will repay the debt to the Boyland dynasty's heir apparent further down the road.

Posted by lumi at July 15, 2006 6:45 AM