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April 22, 2010

Atlantic Yards bitterness, take 2: the Bertha Lewis diatribe against DDDB's Goldstein

Atlantic Yards Report

Bertha Lewis, Forest City Ratner's partner in the Atlantic Yards affordable housing agreement, on Wednesday night "unleashed a vitriolic diatribe against Mr. [Daniel] Goldstein, the public face of opposition group Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, painting him as an obstructionist who masked self-interest with local activism," to quote Eliot Brown in the Observer.

It's a far cry from the tame excerpt quoted in the New York Times today.

There's a thread of logic--Goldstein will continue to be asked, even by some Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn supporters, whether he'll contribute some of his seemingly generous settlement to the larger cause he has represented. And until he does that, he'll be vulnerable to criticism that he was representing only himself. (Others, of course, don't question his decision.)

Daniel Goldstein has dedicated himself to fighting Atlantic Yards for the past six-plus years, and has made as much of a contribution as anyone to the "larger cause." Anyone who criticizes his settlement — made with a wrecking ball hanging over the heads of his family — should try to imagine what it would be like to have one's home taken by the state for a corrupt corporate land grab. Count us among those who don't question his decision.

Credibility questions

But Lewis is hardly credible in claiming she represents "low and moderate income people" (perhaps 40% of the subsidized AY housing would be market-rate) or that DDDB's opposition obstructed affordable housing (affordable housing depends on subsidies, and there were long problems with volume cap).

She's silent on the Development Agreement, which provides ample opportunity for delays in subsidized housing, thanks to an Affordable Housing Subsidy Unavailability.

She doesn't acknowledge that she's contractually obligated to support the project.

And she doesn't acknowledge that, when ACORN was reeling from an embezzlement scandal, Forest City Ratner bailed it out with a $1.5 million grant/loan.

link

NoLandGrab: Bertha's just sore that she took Ratner's money but didn't retain her First Amendment rights — she has to fluff Atlantic Yards and do Ratner's bidding so long as she's on the payroll.

Related coverage...

Gothamist, ACORN CEO Flames Atlantic Yards' New Millionaire Gadfly

ACORN has all but dissolved in the wake of the hidden camera "pimp" scandal, which was followed by Congress cutting off funding for the organization. In New York, the group has reformed as New York Communities for Change. Lewis is not involved, and she told the AP on Tuesday that ACORN was "on life support." Last month a federal judge in Brooklyn ruled that it was unconstitutional for Congress to cut funds for ACORN without conducting a formal investigation, but earlier this week a federal appeals court temporarily blocked the ruling. With little money coming in, Lewis probably has more time to send nasty e-mails about enemies to reporters.

Curbed, Atlantic Yards' War of Words

Guess who's not happy about Daniel Goldstein's $3 million agreement to leave the Atlantic Yards footprint after a years-long fight? ACORN's Bertha Lewis, an, ah, acquaintance of developer Bruce Ratner.

Brownstoner, Bertha Lewis Celebrates

Posted by eric at April 22, 2010 7:37 PM