September 29, 2012
Under Barclays Center oculus, groups challenging Atlantic Yards call for reform, joined by Occupy and two who "drank Ratner's Kool-Aid" but changed their minds
Atlantic Yards Report
Five groups challenging the Atlantic Yards project, bolstered by some Occupy Wall Street participants and two former project supporters, held a press conference this morning on the Barclays Center plaza, moving under the oculus (which dripped somewhat) to get out of the rain.
"Welcome to the tale of two Brooklyns," said Candace Carponter of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, leading off the event and citing the arena as an example of "crony capitalism." The groups' goals include a plan that prioritizes "the creation of housing affordable to working families in Brooklyn" (for which, however, Ratner's modular plan may be billed as a solution) and to reform project oversight.
"Many Brooklynites may attend events here," Carponter declared, but profits will be reaped by the developer Forest City Ratner and the retail chains. She didn't mention Mikhail Prokhorov, majority owner of the Nets and 45% owner of the arena.
(Videos by Jonathan Barkey.)
Drinking "Ratner's Kool-Aid"
Carponter introduced two people she described as having drunk "Ratner's Kool-Aid," including "my friend" Kathleen Noreiga, who demonstrated for the project as a supporter of BUILD (Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development), the controversial job-development organization.
Noreiga (video start) is one of seven people (of 36) who went through BUILD's highly competitive 15-week, pre-apprenticeship training program lawsuit and filed suit last November regarding what they say were guaranteed jobs and union cards at the arena.
"Instead of providing us with jobs and training, we were made to do heavy labor, including demolition and debris removal, at a private house in Staten Island for our instructor's private company," she said. The seven plaintiffs have sued for payment for their unpaid training.
A message to Jay-Z from a Marcy neighbor
Umar Jordan, he of the dramatic pro-project testimony in August 2006--"If you haven't been to the Marcy Projects, you haven't been to Brooklyn"--was introduced by Carponter as having "since determined that Brooklyn has been played."
Jordan was forceful but brief: "I need you to call the police and tell them that we've been robbed. Brooklyn's been robbed. This is not a personal attack on you, Jay-Z. We've been robbed, and I've seen people go to jail for less."
NoLandGrab: You know what they say if you haven't somehow been screwed by Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards boondoggle, you ain't from Brooklyn.
Posted by eric at September 29, 2012 12:29 PM