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June 11, 2011

Quotes from the BrooklynSpeaks forum on governance: "The ESDC has been the agent of Ratner during this entire time"

Atlantic Yards Report

I'll have more tomorrow (or Monday) on today's forum, sponsored by BrooklynSpeaks, on the effort to reform Atlantic Yards governance, but first, a few highlights.

The governance bill, which would establish an authority to oversee the project, must pass the state legislature by June 20, the end of the session. It has passed two Assembly committees, more than in previous years, despite what Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries called quiet lobbying by developer Forest City Ratner.

Jeffries, Assemblyman Jim Brennan, and State Senator Velmanette Montgomery appeared at the forum, which attracted about 60 people, and all said that phone calls, emails, and other messages were needed to tip the balance, especially in the Republican-controlled Senate.

"We are dealing with an environment where money trumps almost everything," said Montgomery. "It is only the voters who are going to be able to match the leverage" of the developer.

Brennan, a critic though not a forceful opponent of the project like Montgomery or Council Member Letitia James, observed, "The ESDC [Empire State Development Corporation] has been the agent of Ratner during this entire time."

And Jeffries pointed to the bypass of the city's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), the typical land use process: "We weren't allowed to go through the ULURP process, because our mayor was in bed with Forest City Ratner."


Posted by steve at June 11, 2011 10:02 PM