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June 19, 2008

From Assembly Speaker Silver, non-candid candor on the arena

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder reads the tea leaves from a public appearance by NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, as reported on Lilith Blog:

Mel Weiss of the Lilith Blog reports on an event at the Eldridge Street Synagogue, where Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who represents the area, dropped in:

I daydreamed through much of Speaker Silver’s talk, enjoying the architecture but a bit put off by all the nostalgia, until I heard a brave question from a random audience member: “Is the arena going to be built?” The question, referring to the Atlantic Yards debacle, was said in a defiant tone, and Speaker Silver hurriedly gave a non-answer and left.

Silver is a notoriously careful speaker, and his non-answer may not have represented his real feelings or expectations. Moreover, Forest City Ratner's gift of $58,420 to Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee's Housekeeping account should trigger even more caution.

Still, in comparison to Bruce Ratner's facts-be-damned project timetable and faux nonchalance regarding arena funding, Silver's non-answer was, essentially, more candid. Even though a betting person would have to go with the big money, we just don't know right now.

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NoLandGrab: Hmm... on the face of it, Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner's recent rally on the steps of Borough Hall seemed to be a little desperate for a project that is supposed to be a "DONE DEAL! DONE DEAL!"

The bizarre rally and Silver's quick exit may be clues that some political support for the project has quietly eroded behind the scenes.

We may be reading too much into all of this, but with the persistent lack of transparency surrounding everything about this project (especially the public financing), we're sometimes forced to read between the lines.

Posted by lumi at June 19, 2008 4:12 AM