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June 3, 2008

At Borough Hall on Thursday, another FCR-organized AY rally

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder plumbs the motivations behind Forest City Ratner's not-so-spontaneous "Brooklyn Day" extravaganza.

First, Forest City Ratner quietly orchestrated a counter-protest in response to the "Time Out" rally on May 3. Now the developer is offering an Atlantic Yards rally on Thursday, complete with free lunch, and drawing on the combined efforts of construction trade unions and community organizations, notably those associated with the Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement (CBA).

Despite the fig leaf of a "Brooklyn Day" celebrating the borough, the rally suggests the developer's worried that the project, is not a "done deal." (Given the once-a-month schedule, should we expect another rally during the first week of July?)

It'll be interesting if we hear are any specifics regarding the developer's plans--when exactly might the project move forward, given the lack of arena bonds and housing bonds or an anchor tenant for Building 1? Will those lured to the rally be simply used as props for a photo op? Will they be cited in legal papers aiming to clear the three extant lawsuits? Will they be used to help leverage more subsidies?

The rally poster suggests that the developer is de-emphasizing the promises of affordable housing--after all, the developer has 12+ years to build Phase 1, and no deadline for Phase 2--and returning to the old mantra of basketball. After all, the basketball motif dominates the poster and, at the top, "The Nets moving to Brooklyn!" appears in larger type than "support the Atlantic Yards Project." Can the iconographic power of the flag and the Brooklyn Bridge nudge the stalled project forward?

What does Delia Hunley-Adossa do when she's not monitoring the project's environmental impacts?

Delia2Barkey.jpg

Hunley-Adossa (with megaphone, at the May 3 rally), heads a group called the Brooklyn Endeavor Experience (BEE), which has a Potemkin role in monitoring AY environmental assurances, given that the developer is in compliance by following the state-mandated process. Like five of the eight CBA signatories, the BEE had no track record in its assigned CBA role. There's no evidence of external fundraising, so, as with several other CBA signatories, BEE is likely funded by the developer. In other words, CBA signatories are funded by Forest City Ratner to generate public and political support for the project.

The lack of actual environmental monitoring leaves more time to organize rallies; Hunley-Adossa's e-mail message said she'd "make arrangements to transport large groups." It also referred to a (student?) organization, not known to me, apparently called "Help 2":
All HELP 2 participants and parents are to call Dee upon receipt...this is a day that we want our members to participate and volunteer their services.

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Posted by eric at June 3, 2008 9:57 AM