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November 20, 2006

Silver watch

SheldonSilverCard.jpgThis weekend several blogs, including NoLandGrab, stared at the bottom of the tea cup Sheldon Silver left behind, trying to divine the meaning of recent public comments and the very nasty dissing contest between the Assembly Speaker and a staffer of outgoing Governor Pataki.

Atlantic Yards Report tried to put it all in context and reminded readers of an earlier article on AYR, which found $6,000 of campaign contributions from Bruce Ratner's family members for Sheldon Silver's re-election campaign, though the Lower Manhattan Assemblyman ran un-opposed.

Brooklyn Speaks, a coalition of groups who are seeking to improve the project from an urban-planning perspective, highlighted one of the most nebulous comments in their headline, "Silver on Atlantic Yards: The merits of the project still to be examined." The comment comes from a WNBC interview with Jay DeDapper, which aired this weekend. Is Silver really saying that the project has its merits, but these merits need to be examined? If that doesn't quite make sense to you, then what does he mean?

In the same interview, Silver's harshest words were saved for the Chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, Charles Gargano: the legislator called the Governor's appointed chairman "the most corrupt, most corrupt member of this administration." This unleashed a public "war or words," which Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn tried to keep up with in yesterday's post, Touché says Gargano.

Even The Gowanus Lounge got serious in a Sunday post, "Sheldon Speaks on Atlantic Yards," by running quotes from the interview along with this summary of the public's speculation over what is causing this food fight:

On Atlantic Yards, there is rampant talk that Silver is being lobbied to put off a vote on the project until after Eliot Spitzer takes office (Spitzer is very pro, but might tinker with the model) or even until the eminent domain suit is resolved. There is also some thought he will broker some sort of compromise to genuinely reduce the scale of the project (those smaller models that Mr. Ratner and Mr. Gehry are said to have ready) and further mitigate traffic and other impacts.

The ironic thing is that despite the millions of dollars spent by Ratner to sell Atlantic Yards, and thousands of hours invested by project critics in opposition to the project, the issue still becomes a political football in a clash of Albany All-Stars.

Posted by lumi at November 20, 2006 7:43 AM