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January 28, 2011

At State of the District, Jeffries talks education, jobs, housing, public safety--but not AY (later, he says he's waiting for an ESDC chair)

Atlantic Yards Report

At his fourth annual State of the District address last night, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries had some tangible and less tangible achievements to report to a supportive crowd, concerned with education, employment, housing, and public safety. And a few jabs at Mayor Mike Bloomberg certainly were well-received.

Ever more polished--part lawyer, politician, preacher--Jeffries drew a reasonable crowd on a snowy night, with local District Leaders (Walter Mosley, Olanike Alabi, Lincoln Restler) in attendance, along with Community Board 8 Chair Nizjoni Granville, CB 2 Chair John Dew, and Joe Chan, president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.

Atlantic Yards, as with last year’s address, was not mentioned, a sign, perhaps, of Jeffries’ recognition that neither prominent criticism nor active support of such a divisive, complicated, and delayed project would play well with his base.

Or perhaps, Jeffries recognizes that he has relatively little clout at this point. I did interview him afterward (video below), and he said he hasn’t yet talked with Gov. Andrew Cuomo about Atlantic Yards because, understandably, a new Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) leader is not yet in place. (Update: Ken Adams was named today.)

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Bed-Stuy Patch, Hakeem Looks Back at 2010

...he extolled his initiative meant to convert vacant luxury apartments into affordable housing, though he admitted progress was slowgoing.

“Since this law was passed several units of affordable housing have been created, but much work remains to be done,” Jeffries said. "We need more cooperation from financial institutions...some of them got more hustle than the fellas on 125th Street."

The Assemblyman only hinted at what was on his agenda this year, saying that the key to solving crime and poverty was jobs. Notably, he did not point to the Atlantic Yards project — often touted as a job creator — as a solution to the economic woes affecting neighborhoods in the vicinity of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues.

Posted by eric at January 28, 2011 11:13 AM