Pol Precinct

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

While Bloomberg 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" and the total runs anywhere from $600 million to $1 billion.

Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough President

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

Betsy Gotbaum, Public Advocate

Gotbaum not only supports Ratner's proposal, she also denies that eminent domain will be used. She apparently has talked to the developer and has his assurances. Of course, everyone else knows differently, which either makes her a liar or naive, but not a strong public advocate.

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.

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.)

De Blasio "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 courageously stood by all of her constituents. James sponsored the Atlantic Yards Development Workshop, which brought together community groups for an alternative vision for the Railyards, and produced the UNITY development plan.

David Yassky, NYC Council (33rd Dist.)

Yassky basically supports all of the provisions of the Ratner plan except for "the scale of the development" and the lack of a "concrete plan for traffic management." Ratner isn't negotiating the scale of the development. Since the arena is a "loss leader" (the projected cost is $555.3 million), Ratner needs the millions of square feet of office space and housing to cover FCR's losses. It remains to be seen if Yassky steps up his criticism of the project in the face of Ratner's lack of concern for neighboring resident's concerns.

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.

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 has ignored our repeated requests for a position statement. As an encore to his public support of the doomed West Side Stadium, Andrews signed a letter of support to the MTA which was included in Ratner's bid package for the Atlantic Railyards in July.

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

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

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

"Likes the arena" but has concerns about the scale. Brennan thinks eminent domain is justified if it's necessary to build the arena. He currently favors "contextual zoning protection in order to preserve [the] existing scale and essential character" of neighborhoods in his own district. Like Yassky, his concerns about the scale of the project is irrelevant because according to Ratner, this is non-negotiable.

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.)

Joan Millman has taken a strong position against the project, after careful consideration of the project’s merits and problems. Milllman cites overscale, eminent domain, traffic, strain on city services, storm water runoff into the Gowanus and the vitality of the Bears Garden as concerns that must be addressed. Read her testimony submitted at the EIS Draft Scope hearing.

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, Towns 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."  That's ironic since, like Carl Andrews and Bill de Blasio, Towns only action to date was writing a letter of support of Ratner's plan that was collected by Forrest City Ratner and submitted with their bid to the MTA.

Anthony Weiner, US Congress (9th Dist.)

Recently, the Schumer protégé was quoted in the Gay City News as saying, "It’s fundamentally a housing deal,” Weiner said. “The amount of housing that is going to be below market rate is substantial... Overall it’s the kind of economic activity that I would like to see." The Daily News quoted him 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 own position.