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March 14, 2008

At DDDB update, Brooklyn Museum honor for Ratner raises ire

Atlantic Yards Report

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Norman Oder reports from last night's Community Update Meeting held by Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn:

While there were questions and discussion about the viability of the project given the credit crunch and lack of affordable housing financing, as well as the effects of ongoing construction activities, the crowd’s ire was spurred by breaking news that Forest City Ratner CEO Bruce Ratner would be honored early next month by the Brooklyn Museum.

And while local elected officials were understandably wary of criticizing the museum, leading the Brooklyn Paper to conclude that that DDDB’s Daniel Goldstein “was nearly alone in his vitriol,” that wasn’t the mood last night. Goldstein (speaking to the crowd above) said DDDB had received a lot of e-mail about it. Prospect Heights resident Irene Porges told the crowd that she had just purchased a museum membership but would ask for her money back.

Others said they wanted to hold a protest on the occasion of the museum’s ball honoring Ratner on April 3, and met afterward to plan the action. The effect of Forest City Ratner’s contributions to local institutions, Goldstein said, “is to silence a lot of people who wouldn’t otherwise be silent.”

DDDB’s Goldstein expressed hope in Governor-in-waiting David Paterson. “I think we’re going to have a more responsible governor,” he said, noting that Paterson in 2005 supported a moratorium on the use of eminent domain. (However, he’s been quiet since and a New York Sun story today, without any comment from Paterson, raised the question of whether the issue would recur; a real estate official said he wasn't concerned given Paterson's other priorities. )

More than 110 people attended the event at the Hanson Place United Methodist Church in Fort Greene. Organizers said 111 people signed cards to Paterson urging him to “pull the plug on Forest City Ratner’s ill-conceived Atlantic yards plan,” questioning whether taxpayers should “be shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars for a basketball arena while affordable housing and so many other crucial needs take a back seat.” (Of course, affordable housing is supposed to be part of the AY plan, but there are major doubts about its schedule.)

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Posted by lumi at March 14, 2008 5:47 AM