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June 8, 2007

And the "Lovie" goes to...

Atlantic Yards Report

LovegrenAward.jpg Last night, Norman Oder was given the Lovgren Volunteer Award for outstanding community service by the Park Slope Civic Council for his essential work on Atlantic Yards Report. Without him, several significant revelations would probably still remain behind the curtain. In addition, his readers are getting their own primer on a wide range of topics as the veteran journalist pursues a self-education in urban planning, transportation issues, local politics and affordable housing.

The Gowanus Lounge (which definitely deserves its own award for neighborhood coverage) was there to cover the event:

The Park Slope Civic Council honored blogger and journalist Norman Oder last night with a Lovgren Volunteer Award. Mr. Oder is the founder and writer of Atlantic Yards Report, which he has developed as New York City's most authoritative source of Atlantic Yards reporting, information and analysis. Just this week, Mr. Oder combed through documents and found that the project is getting nearly $1.4 billion in tax-free bonds and that the level of bonding is so large that parts of the project will create intense competition for tax-free financing resources in the city and could be delayed.

The award was presented by Lumi Rolley of No Land Grab and by outgoing PSCC President Lydia Denworth. Ms. Denworth praised Mr. Oder for "the thoroughness and conscientiousness with which he took to the task" of doing the city's only in-depth Atlantic Yards reporting. "Very few individuals have had such an impact on the public debate," Ms. Rolley noted.

Mr. Oder said that he viewed his work as "challenging some complacency" and described his reporting as "watchdog journalism that the market is not providing." He said that Atlantic Yards Report offers "the skepticism and persistence that's needed to keep government accountable."

Norman Oder reflects on what he might have in common with the late George Lovgren (link):

I didn't know much about George Lovgren until I learned about this award and went to a panel at Borough Hall--about Brooklyn in the 1970s and 80s--and heard [activist and former Assemblyman] Joe Ferris talk about how he and Lovgren and some others challenged the conventional wisdom and helped save Park Slope.

My work may not be in the direct tradition of George Lovgren. I'm not trying to save a firehouse. And I'm not trying to 'save' a neighborhood.

But I am challenging some complacency and conventional wisdom. My service is in-depth watchdog journalism that the market is not providing.

Posted by lumi at June 8, 2007 8:42 AM