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August 23, 2009

De Blasio, Why Start Now?

Atlantic Yards Voter Guide

City Council member, Bill de Blasio , is now running for Public Advocate. He could never quite bring himself to say he was against the proposed Atlantic Yards project. For example, this month, he did request a Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement for the project, but at the same time he says he supports the project, but just doesn't like the process moving it forward.

The Atlantic Yards Voter Guide wants to know why de Blasio now wants to portray himself as a stalwart against over-development when he never opposed Atlantic Yards.

Here is the front of one of Public Advocate candidate Bill de Blasio's (why is he running for this office?) recent literature:

...

The highlighted passage reads:

Fighting Overdevelopment in Brooklyn
All too often, development in our city is pro-big business and anti-neighborhood. As Public Adovcate, Bill will fight overdevelopment, making sure Brooklyn's development projects reflect community values. And he will always push for more truly affordable housing for hardworking New Yorkers.

It's a good use of buzzwords by the Councilman. But why would he start doing all of this now?

Let's look at...Atlantic Yards, the consensus poster child for overdevelopment, the consensus poster child for "pro-big business" development, and the consensus poster child for "anti-neighborhood" development. Atlantic Yards is the consensus poster child for ignoring "community values" entirely. And Atlantic Yards would have barely any "truly affordable housing" even under the best case outcome.

Atlantic Yards has been controversial since 2003 and would be built right in de Blasio's backyard. Yet h has never gone past the most tepid criticism of small aspects of the project and when he has, he has done nothing beyond press statements or not-so-strongly-worded letters.

He supports Atlantic Yards, which demonstrates everything his literature says he "will fight." Or to be more accurate let's look at what de Blasio said about the Ratner project most recently at Public Advocate debate according to YourNabe.com:

...De Blasio said in the past he has supported the project for the jobs and affordable housing it would create, and that while he still supports it, he is against the way the process is moving forward.

De Blasio added he is against the project receiving more subsidies, and said there should be a new EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) and a full disclosure of the current project plan.

Upon being pressed on the issue, de Blasio said the neighborhood around Atlantic Yards is rapidly gentrifying and without affordable housing it would be further gentrified.

So there you have it, more buzz words, more non sequitur and new improved gobbleydeegook.

He supports it and is against it.

So why, Mr. Councilman, would you start doing now (or, god forbid, in the Public Advocate office) what your campaign lit imagines you to have done in the past?

Or perhaps we misread. Perhaps the literature, all in the future tense, is an admission that he has done none of this fighting of "big-business" and "overdevelopment" in the past.

But we doubt that.

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Posted by steve at August 23, 2009 7:46 AM