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April 21, 2008

In Courier-Life, ACORN vs. de Blasio and some media conspiracy theories

Atlantic Yards Report

So what’s the news behind the Courier-Life chain’s odd article this week about housing advocacy group ACORN's confidence in Atlantic Yards? After all, we know--from a statement issued March 21 in the wake of the Atlantic Yards stall--that Forest City Ratner’s affordable housing partner ACORN had “every confidence” in the developer.

One piece of news involves NY ACORN Executive Director Bertha Lewis’s clash with Council Member Bill de Blasio, an ostensible ally who has emerged as a critic of the project. "I'm sure Mr. de Blasio is only reflecting the concerns from a very small portion of constituents,” Lewis told the newspaper, with great but unproven certainty. “However, he also has a constituency that is very supportive of Atlantic Yards."

The other involves the rather bizarre sequence posited by Courier-Life reporter Stephen Witt, in which critical media coverage is blamed on “opponents,” rather than a recognition that maybe a lead story in the New York Times has some fallout.

The article fails to convey two important pieces of news. First, the developer has flexible time, according to the State Funding Agreement: 6+ years to build the arena, 12+ years to build Phase 1, and an unspecified time to build the rest of the public. Second, the president of parent Forest City Enterprises has publicly stated that “we still need more” subsidies. Beyond that, there’s a huge backlog of projects seeking housing bonds.

(Oddly enough, the article at issue appears in the Carroll Gardens-Cobble Hill edition of the weekly newspaper, above, but not in the Park Slope edition, below, which circulates in Prospect Heights, where the project would be located. The front-page stories in the latter issue regarded Public Place, in Gowanus, and the Kahlil Gibran School, in Fort Greene. Go figure.)

Read the rest of the article, for tantilizing hints that Forest City Ratner might get special treatment for the affordable housing bonds and reporter Steven Witt's brutally weird parallel universe, where a beleagured Bruce Ratner is getting beaten up by a mighty anti-Atlantic Yards pr campaign, Councilman de Blasio is meeting with "the opponent bloggers" (um, WE were busy that night), and Ratner hopes to enlist the support of ultimate fighting fans in NYC.

NoLandGrab: You can't make this stuff up, though someone already did.

If Brownstoner and Gowanus Lounge are "the opponent bloggers," then what the frig is NoLandGrab supposed to be?

Note: We've carried the Courier-Life Atlantic Yards coverage in the past, but for some reason, the publication no longer posts these articles online, making the stories a little more difficult to access.

Posted by lumi at April 21, 2008 5:25 AM