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September 3, 2009

Atlantic Yards political watch

If it doesn't actually make your stomach turn, then it's kinda fun watching citywide candidates trying to get their stories straight on Bruce Ratner's controversial Brooklyn boondoggle:

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, Thompson "Late Supporter" of Atlantic Yards. Says Urban Planning Not About "Developer Accommodation"

Whoopsie! Despite what Mayoral hopeful and current City Comptroller William Thopmson says, he seems to have forgotten that he publicly supports Bruce Ratner's controversial Atlantic Yards boondoggle, at least since 2005.

Comptroller and mayoral candidate Bill Thompson says he is a "late supporter" of Atlantic Yards. Late supporter? Support has moved away from the project over the years due to more and more coming to light about what a boondoggle it is. Becoming a late supporter means one is moving towards a boondoggle.

Anyway, it is hardly true. Thompson was an early supporter. Thompson's letter of support was part of the development proposal package submitted to the MTA by Forest City Ratner in 2005. Download his letter here [pdf].

Atlantic Yards Report, At the Comptroller debate, Yassky's contradiction on AY

In all fairness, it can be hard to keep the facts and figures straight on Atlantic Yards, especially since some of them are such moving targets. However after seriously lowballing some of the figures for Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards, City Councilmember and candidate for City Comptroller David Yassky declares, "The project should not be built with taxpayer money."

Norman Oder points out:

[T]he only way Forest City Ratner would build it is with taxpayer money, and a "right-sized project" might require more subsidies. Still, Yassky thinks it's a "good project," so he's been unwilling to challenge such things as the state's dubious finding of blight.

Check out the rest of the article to learn more about how the other candidates bungle the issue.

NoLandGrab: In classic Yassky fashion, he's managed to confuse his position on Atlantic Yards. At this point, we have to assume that he's for the project, if only it could be a different project, and will occasionally speak out against it, but won't do anything about it.

Atlantic Yards Report, On Brian Lehrer Show, de Blasio wants "original interpretation" of AY

City Councilmember and Public Advocate candidate Bill de Blasio wants you to know that when it comes to Atlantic Yards he's a strict constructionist:

[WNYC Radio host Brian] Lehrer asked, "Do you have a position on Atlantic Yards and what should happen next?"

"I have said from the beginning I believe in the affordable housing, the hiring of local residents and living wage levels," de Blasio said. "This vision has not been fulfilled so far. I think there should be no more subsidies. I think there should be no more demolitions. I think the company involved has to prove that they will keep to the original interpretation or we should pull the plug."

No more demolitions? De Blasio is repeating talking points from April 2008.

The original interpretation? Forest City Ratner has changed its plans in numerous ways, but the single biggest one, about which de Blasio was noticeably silent, was the revision in June of the deal for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Vanderbilt Yard, saving developer Forest City Ratner more than $100 million and leading to a smaller, rather than larger (as promised), permanent railyard.

NoLandGrab: No more demolitions?? Sorry Bill — Ratner has already taken down every building he can, except for the Spalding building, which at this point is worth more standing, should Atlantic Yards not get built. Plus, de Blasio was nowhere near the footprint when the wrecking balls were flying.

Posted by lumi at September 3, 2009 7:19 AM