The Players

Politicians

Where does your elected representative stand on Ratner's plan? We've asked them all and only received a couple responses. So what is a grassroots movement to do? NoLandGrab's editorial board has evaluated each politician, based upon their official responses, public statements and actions.

Now that the Memorandum of Understanding has been signed, it is time for the politicians who are ducking their constituents' concerns to state whether or not they are for or against this project and to clarify what actions they are prepared to take.

Can't remember who represents you? Click here to go to NYPIRG's searchable database for NYC.

Note to Pols: If you feel like NoLandGrab has unfairly summarized your position, please contact us with your detailed position statement at start@nolandgrab.org. It's never too late to tell your constituents how you really feel.

City Government

Michael Bloomberg,
NYC Mayor

Ratner's Atlantic Yards is another Bloomberg pet project whose fortunes he has hitched to the NYC2012 Olympic bid. While the Mayor has slashed budgets for city services and cut $1.3 billion from schools, $100 million in the City’s next budget has been allocated for the arena development. The $100 million is for starters -- throw in the giveaway of city land, streets & sidewalks and other taxpayer-subsidized "incentives."

Marty Markowitz,
Brooklyn Borough President

Cheerleader-in-Chief of Ratner's plan. No one quite understands his fanatical devotion to Ratner's vision in light of the blight of Metrotech and the Atlantic Center and Terminal Mall.

C. Virginia Fields,
Manhattan Borough President & Dem. Mayoral Candidate

Despite her solid stance against the West Side Stadium, Fields has not taken a position on the Ratner proposal, but feels that it should go through the local land use review process (ULURP). She has publicly stated that she in process of reviewing the entire proposal.

Fernando Ferrer,
Dem. Mayoral Candidate & former Bronx Borough President

Like the other Democratic Mayoral hopefuls (Fields, Miller & Weiner), Ferrer has criticized the Mayor for supporting the Jets Stadium, but of the entire group, he has taken the most lukewarm position on the arena. Ferrer spokesperson Chad Clanton clarified the front runner's position to the Daily News, "There needs to be a full and open public debate before making a judgement."

Charles Barron,
NYC Council (42nd Dist.)

Charles Barron has fought tirelessly against the racial divisiveness of the pro-arena campaign and to give everyone a voice in the community. He has also called for building the arena in his district, which satisfies many of the transportation requirements, is in need of more jobs and is primed for urban renewal.

Tracy Boyland,
NYC Council (41st Dist.)

Her office saw no need to respond to our request for a position statement. However, her 2004 primary run against arena detractor US Congressman Major Owens (see below) was largely developer-funded.

Yvette Clarke,
NYC Council (40th Dist.)

(see Traci Boyland) Also, her mother, Una Clarke, is the Pataki appointee to the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) for Brooklyn. The ESDC is the lead quasi-governmental agency for the project.

Bill de Blasio,
NYC Council (39th Dist.)

"Conditionally supports" the Ratner plan. He holds a lot faith in ACORN's involvement, who, incidentally, would be under contract as the administrative agent for the affordable housing component.

Letitia James,
NYC Council (35th Dist.)

The only City Councilperson who has taken a courageous stance in consideration of her constituents, as opposed to the local political machine.  Sponsor of the Atlantic Yards Development Workshop, which brought together community groups for an alternative vision for the Railyards, and produced the UNITY development plan.

Gifford Miller,
NYC Council Speaker (5th Dist.) & Dem. Mayoral Candidate

Miller recently joined the West Side Stadium opposition, but is hedging on Ratner’s Arena. He is against the use of Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOTs) to finance the Stadium, and has proposed legislation for City Council oversight for PILOT money spent by the city (including NYC’s $100 million tab for Ratner’s arena). Re, Ratner’s Arena: Miller is not against the use of eminent domain and likes the affordable housing component, despite his concerns about the scale of the buildings. He has not publicly called for ULURP.

David Yassky,
NYC Council (33rd Dist.)

He basically supports all of the provisions of the Ratner plan to date except for "the scale of the development" and the lack of a “concrete plan for traffic management.”  Unfortunately the fact that the arena makes no money necessitates the large-scale of Ratner’s plan.

State Government

George Pataki,
NY State Governor

Ratner's law-school chum (no joke). The Pataki-appointed Empire State Development Corporation will be the lead agency on the project, including handling eminent domain condemnations.  His current appointees on the MTA board have, to date, failed to tender top-dollar for the Hudson Railyards -- why should the Atlantic Railyards be any different?

Eliot Spitzer,
NY Attorney General & Dem. Gubernatorial Candidate

In his own words, Spitzer shocked Brooklynites in a speech to the New York Building Congress:
"I'm all for the development in Brooklyn, Bruce Ratner's plan, it is a spectacular development, it needs to be built, it should be built quickly, it will revitalize a critically underused portion of Brooklyn, right now, it'll build housing, it will generate jobs, tax revenue. It is a spectacular project and I think we should move forward on it immediately.

Joseph Bruno,
NY State Senate Majority Leader

No reply to our repeated inquiries. Is he a Pataki lacky or will he stand up for taxpayers?  His support for metro-arena projects is usually contingent upon increased funding for upstate projects and programs.

Sheldon Silver,
NY State Assembly Speaker

Silver has stood firm on the Hudson Yards/Jets Stadium proposal by insisting that part of the plan go through ULURP and the MTA get top-dollar for the railyards.  However, recently he has announced a new public elementary and middle school to be located in a new Ratner development in his district.  Since Silver hasn’t made any statements regarding the Nets arena, public watchdog groups and local reporters wonder if the public-school deal will lead to quid pro quo in a backroom agreement with Ratner.

Carl Andrews,
NY State Senator (20th Dist.)

Andrews ignored our repeated requests for a position statement. All anyone knows is that he is on record for supporting the Jets Stadium to be built over the Hudson Railyards, showing more consideration and concern about the Jets than what is brewing in his home district. He might chime in at the last minute like when he showed up for Park Slope Commerce Bank photo op, even though he never took a stand on that issue one too.

Velmanette Montgomery,
NY State Senator (18th Dist.)

Voice of the people and co-sponsor of the Atlantic Yards Development Workshop with Letitia James.  She is unwavering in her support for real community-based development for the Railyards.

James Brennan,
NY State Assembly
(44th Dist.)

"Likes the arena" but has concerns about the scale. He thinks if it is necessary to build the arena, eminent domain is justified.  He currently favors “contextual zoning protection in order to preserve [the] existing scale and essential character” of neighborhoods in his district.  Hmm…

Roger Green,
NY State Assembly
(57th Dist.)

Green abandoned his assembly seat by resigning when he plead guilty to corruption charges, thus leaving our community without representation for 7 months, until his reelection last November. He then took the position that he will make concessions in order to have "a seat at the table," with Ratner. As Letitia James's mentor, his constituents expect more.

Joan Millman,
NY State Assembly
(52nd Dist.)

Like Brennan, de Blasio and Yassky, Millman has charted an untenable course. She supports an arena, but does not support the use of eminent domain and has concerns about the scale and lack of public process.  Since FCR hasn’t made any concessions or changes in the plan (despite previous claims that they would) it is time for Millman to get off the fence and get involved by supporting her own principles.

Federal Government

Hillary Rodham Clinton,
NY Senator

Clinton has given us no response. The word on the street is that she has taken no position. 

Charles Schumer,
NY Senator

The Park Slope resident is actually in support of the Ratner boondoggle. 

Major Owens,
US Congress
(11th Dist.)

Our highest elected official who is taking a firm stance against the project.

Edolphus Towns,
US Congress
(10th Dist.)

Surprisingly, Townes is for the arena despite his liberal stance on most issues. He states that he "will make sure the current proposal recognizes needs of all Brooklyn residents."  Since, unlike Owens, he has done nothing to date, NoLandGrab feels we can't really take his assurances at face value.

Anthony Weiner,
US Congress
(9th Dist.) & Dem. Mayoral Candidate

Recently Schumer protégé Rep. Weiner was quoted in the Daily News as saying, "I am generally supportive of what Ratner and the city want to do there." Weiner was one of the first Dem. mayoral candidates to publicly oppose the Jets Stadium. He successfully used this stance to differentiate himself from Mayor Bloomberg as well as City Council Speaker Miller, before the Speaker modified his position.