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July 2, 2009

Behind the state Senate turmoil: the real estate industry (with an AY angle)

Atlantic Yards Report

In an article headlined Senate Coup Plotters' Hidden Agenda: Tabloids call it a circus, but the lobbyists' goal is to squelch reforms, the Village Voice's Tom Robbins connects the state Senate's dysfunctions not to no-good legislators but to the real estate industry's desire to stymie long-awaited reforms in the city's rent regulations.

Also jeopardized are efforts at campaign finance reform and gun control. And, yes, a further look at Atlantic Yards.

In a nutshell, under Democratic control, local State Senators have held one public hearing on Atlantic Yards. If the Republicans have their way, there's little hope that State legislators would lift a finger to find out more about Bruce Ratner's highly subsidized megaproject.


The Village Voice, Senate Coup Plotters' Hidden Agenda

Democratic control of Senate committees also brought the power to shine a spotlight in places Republicans had preferred to leave dark. On May 29, 10 days before the coup shut everything down, Harlem Senator Bill Perkins, new chairman of a committee overseeing state authorities, held the Senate's first public hearing on the massive $4 billion Atlantic Yards project.

The Forest City Ratner deal was made possible by an official sleight of hand that allowed it to skirt city land use regulations. Under Republican control, the Senate asked no questions. Even at the hearing, they still offered protection. Brooklyn's lone GOP senator, Marty Golden, burst into the hearings late and, backed by cheers from building trades workers, proceeded to mock Perkins and Montgomery, in whose district the project sits, for "holding the project hostage."

Posted by lumi at July 2, 2009 6:41 AM