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January 22, 2011

The Complaint Box follow-up: Atlantic Yards debate, governmental power, and more

Atlantic Yards Report

Well, my brief Complaint Box essay in the Times, Powerless in Brooklyn, generated some debate, though more about certain parts of the argument than others. Several commenters seem to agree that Brooklyn lacks borough-wide media and local government, but there weren't many solutions.

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My comment in response to several comments:

  1. Yes, the Community Board system is controlled by those who appoint, though it doesn’t have to be.
  2. Markowitz is on his third (and last) term, thanks to Bloomberg’s overturning of term limits.
  3. Search on “notorious Stephen Witt” on my Atlantic Yards Report blog for a catalog of his misreadings.
  4. Atlantic Yards never had a local vote, as the city let the state override the local land use process. That, as well as numerous indicia of a sweetheart deal, drove the lawsuits. And a judge in November for the second time criticized the Empire State Development Corporation for a lack of transparency.
  5. There is a Brooklyn Daily Eagle, but it’s a small paper that does not pretend to cover the borough.
  6. Yes, the Journal is a fourth daily, My error. But it’s a niche paper for the city as a whole, much less Brooklyn. The Daily News often covers Brooklyn better than its rivals, but the coverage is still pretty thin. Cities (though not metro areas) with Brooklyn’s population–think Philly, Houston, etc.–have their own full-scale newspapers.

I should add that the Municipal Art Society has periodically done some serious work in Brooklyn, on projects like Atlantic Yards and Coney Island, and has supported neighborhood planning efforts. But shouldn’t Brooklyn have its own MAS?

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Related coverage...

The Urban Omnibus, Powerless In Brooklyn

In a biting essay in the New York Times Complaint Box, Atlantic Yards Report blogger Norman Oder decries the lack of local government and local media in the “non-Manhattan” boroughs. Primarily addressing Brooklyn, Oder asserts that the absence of daily borough-wide newspapers and a concentration of city agencies in Manhattan render the other boroughs powerless, resulting in muted citizen voices. His piece inspired debate and commiseration from Brooklynites and other New Yorkers. If you have something to say on the issue weigh in here.

Posted by steve at January 22, 2011 11:37 AM