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April 22, 2010

$3 Million Deal Ends a Holdout in Brooklyn

The New York Times
by Charles V. Bagli

The Times put the settlement story on its front page.

For the past six years, Daniel Goldstein has been at the center of just about every rally, house party, concert and lawsuit opposed to the $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards project near Downtown Brooklyn.

He wielded a bullhorn and had a lightning-fast e-mail response to every incursion by the developer Bruce C. Ratner on the 22-acre project site at Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues. As the project advanced, and every one of his neighbors abandoned his building on Pacific Street, Mr. Goldstein remained with his wife and child, vowing never to be dislodged from their seventh-floor condominium.

But on Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Goldstein, the last residential holdout in Mr. Ratner’s way, agreed to walk away from his apartment by May 7 for $3 million. Mr. Goldstein, 40, also agreed to step down as spokesman for Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, the main group opposing Atlantic Yards. And he said he would withdraw from any litigation and not “actively oppose the project,” although he said he held on to his First Amendment rights.

“There’s no end to the criticism and opposition to the project,” Mr. Goldstein vowed.

Still, the settlement marked the end of a David-versus-Goliath fight that has captivated Brooklyn for years — or, depending on one’s position on the issue, thwarted its progress. Councilwoman Letitia James, a longtime ally of Mr. Goldstein’s, said that some opponents of Atlantic Yards “will obviously be disappointed, but not dissuaded” from fighting the project.

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Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, Bertha Lewis, described simply as "housing advocate," disses Goldstein; Times ignores ACORN bailout

From the New York Times's front-page article, $3 Million Deal Ends a Holdout in Brooklyn:

Bertha Lewis, a housing advocate who supported the project, bid Mr. Goldstein “good riddance.”

“Low- and moderate-income people had to wait years for housing while he obstructed the Atlantic Yards project,” she said.

Hold on. Affordable housing depends on subsidies, not this project; that's why the Development Agreement, which the Times has chosen to ignore, offers the option to cite an Affordable Housing Subsidy Unavailability.

And since when is Bertha Lewis merely a "housing advocate"? She represented ACORN when it signed the Affordable Housing Memorandum of Understanding with Forest City Ratner. And FCR later bailed out ACORN with a $1.5 million grant/loan.

NoLandGrab: Bertha Lewis is not merely a "housing advocate" — she's also full of crap. Bruce Ratner has owned perfectly habitable buildings in the Atlantic Yards footprint for years, but hasn't housed anyone. He could have been building housing for low- and moderate-income people on property he controls in the footprint, but he only cares about building a basketball arena so he can unload the Nets. Daniel Goldstein's building, of course, sits near center court of the planned arena, not in the way of any housing. And where was Bertha when Bruce Ratner evicted several homeless families from their footprint shelter on Martin Luther King day? Some "housing advocate."

Atlantic Yards Report, What has the Atlantic Yards fight been about?

From the New York Times's coverage today, $3 Million Deal Ends a Holdout in Brooklyn:

Mr. [Daniel Goldstein] Goldstein helped build a coalition of 21 groups that said the project’s high-rises and density would overwhelm the neighborhood and make its clogged streets virtually impassable.

From Mr. Goldstein, 3/12/10: What Is Atlantic Yards? A Complete Failure of Democracy:

The sad and depraved history of Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards project was celebrated yesterday with a ceremonial groundbreaking attended by the elected officials most responsible for greasing its skids. It is nothing to celebrate.

What have they made happen? A bait and switch of epic proportions and a failure of democracy, mixed with corruption, notable even in New York State. Each branch of government--judicial, executive and legislative--has passed the buck to the other. None have acting responsibly or with principle or courage to stop the largest project proposed in Brooklyn's history, which has trampled on too many rights.

The project--entirely dependent upon massive and unaccounted taxpayer subsidies, eminent domain abuse, a giveaway of city streets, a no-bid sweetheart MTA deal, a complete override of all local zoning and numerous zoning regulations--never came before the city council or the state legislature for a vote. No elected official ever voted on the project. The results are a symptom of this.

Posted by eric at April 22, 2010 9:16 AM