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August 24, 2006

Late edition coverage

AM NY, Raucous crowd packs Brooklyn development hearing

A rambunctious crowd packed a hearing in Downtown Brooklyn Wednesday to speak -- and more often shout -- their opinions on the controversial Atlantic Yards project.

Three hours after the meeting's start, hundreds of people were still standing on line, trying to enter the 800-seat auditorium of New York City Technical College.

In the early going, union members and others who support the project outnumbered the arena's opponents by at least three-to-one as a draft environmental impact statement was debated.

Metro NY, Raucous hearing for arena project

Hundreds of supporters were bused in by organizations that signed a Community Benefits Agreement with Ratner that promises affordable housing and jobs for Brooklynites. Union construction workers also showed up, many arriving earlier than the hundreds of opponents who wanted to voice concerns about the shadows of skyscrapers, the burdens of traffic and the loss of Brooklyn’s character. Both sides were rowdy.

“This could be my big break,” said Keith Brown, 32, an unemployed carpenter and member of Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development, a group that brought him there at 11 a.m. to speak his mind. “I’ve been living here all my life and seen the changes coming. This could be my chance to get into the union. If I can keep employment for five or six years, I’m good for a while.”
“I look at [Ratner’s previous project] Metrotech, which promised jobs to the community and to help fix the area’s poverty,” said [Mary Wade, a public school teacher who’s lived in Clinton Hill for 25 years]. “Well, there’s still 75 percent poverty here. Ratner’s using jobs to hide behind something bigger — his profit.”

The Newark Star-Ledger, Owner gets an earful in Brooklyn over Nets

Within minutes, mayhem erupted, as police had to drag out a 68-year-old woman who couldn't stand to let a state senator explain why Nets owner Bruce Ratner's $4.2billion plan for downtown Brooklyn known as Atlantic Yards was the right move for the hard-luck borough.

"I wanted people who actually represented the area where the project is going to have a chance to speak first," Connie Lesold, a gray-haired activist who lives within walking distance of the proposed site of the arena, said after police dragged her out by the elbow.

NY Daily News, Stars shine in bid to back Yards plan

"I feel it's all about unity in the community," said Nets star Vince Carter, who was joined by teammate Jason Kidd in the packed New York City College of Technology auditorium in downtown Brooklyn.

Nearly 1,000 people, including singer Roberta Flack, Borough President Marty Markowitz and a host of politicians and union leaders, made it in while hundreds more waited outside, hoping for a chance to say their piece.


Critics of developer Bruce Ratner's plans for an NBA arena in Downtown Brooklyn cried foul during a raucous public hearing last night.
"I think it's depressing that people are coming here just to stand on a soapbox," said Deborah Goldstein of Sunset Park.

Celebrity supporters of the project include Net stars Jason Kidd and Vince Carter.

"I can't wait to play here," Kidd said.

"I hope I'm not too old" when it's finished."

HearingPressConference-NYS.jpgNY Sun, Sides Clash as Atlantic Yards Development Project Edges Closer to Approval

Yesterday’s hearing also represented the only time that property owners in the project’s footprint can go on the public record to oppose the state’s pending property condemnation.

An attorney who lives in the footprint,who requested anonymity,said he had discussed with the developer the idea of selling his home,which has been in his family for three generations.

“We’ve talked but I find the idea of selling out offensive,” he said. “It will create a lot of affordable housing, but in doing so it will kick out my grandfather, who could afford this housing 30 years ago.”

NY Times, Raucous Meeting on Atlantic Yards Plan Hints at Hardening Stances The early edition was posted last night — see below for coverage.

Posted by lumi at August 24, 2006 7:46 AM