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May 30, 2009

Senate hearing: no tough questions for ESDC; MTA yields on yard; IBO calls arena a loss; arena 2012; raucous AY supporters make for 8/23/06 flashback

Atlantic Yards Report

As followers of the Atlantic Yards fight would expect, Norman Oder scrupulously documented yesterday's hearing held by State Senators Perkins and Montgomery. He was disappointed that the state and city officials who were there to testify were not subject to tougher questioning.

In some ways, the State Senate hearing held today on Atlantic Yards was eerily reminiscent of the epic 8/23/06 hearing on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement: the house was packed--I’d estimate at least 2/3 of the crowd at Pratt Institute’s Higgins Hall--by union members and Community Benefits Agreement signatories, many wearing "Atlantic Yards Now" buttons, who raucously disrupted the hearing and, when some of their members testified, repeated old arguments for the project.

Though this was supposed to be a fact-finding hearing, the representatives of city and state agencies emerged almost completely unscathed by questions posed by the panel led by State Senator Bill Perkins, despite testifying for some two hours. No one asked about the current timetable or cost of the project, nor challenged a stale, purported cost-benefit analysis. (Forest City Ratner, though it helped orchestrate the turnout and had uberflack Joe DePlasco in the aisles, did not testify.) More than 200 people were present in the main hall; more people were in two overflow rooms.

This is the ultimate recounting of what went on in the hearing:

-The revelation by George Sweeting of the IBO that the project arena will provide a net loss to the city.
-Deceptive information from Seth Pinsky, President of EDC, on economic benefits.
-The lack of any timetable for the affordable housing.
-The vague and misleading answers given by representatives from the State, City and MTA.
-The disruptions from project supporters.
-And much, much more!


Posted by steve at May 30, 2009 10:03 AM