To the editor:
[Brooklyn Papers Editor Neil Sloane] was right to ask what Brooklynites get out of this massive stadium and adjoining towers [“Brooklyn’s identity safe without the ‘Jersey Nets,” Jan. 31]. None of the people who worked on the plan have any connection to the existing communities, so the only agenda is money, money, money. It’s time to set an agenda that Brooklyn citizens in adjoining neighborhoods can get behind. Personally, I’d like to see:
1) A state-of-the-art post office with motivated workers committed to excellence to replace the surly, dysfunctional one on Atlantic Ave.
2) High-speed, Internet-ready arts magnet middle school and high school, possibly in the same building complex as the police department. (MS 51 went from barely used to dangerously overcrowded in four years.)
3) Dog walk specific for dogs.
4) Green space, quiet zones.
5) Park space that is large enough for children to play in and adults to jog, bike and skate around all year.
6) Pedestrian traffic issue at Atlantic, Flatbush and Fourth avenues must be solved to prevent further disasters (pedestrian bridge?) like the one that happened earlier this winter.
7) Parking will go the way of the dodo if this is not addressed in a competent, compassionate way.
I’ve studied the right of eminent domain and nowhere in it can I find why a sports arena constitutes the application that would dispossess people of their homes. The use has to be a government necessity, and I don’t see how pro basketball qualifies (I suspect a cynical legal maneuver that sites rail beds somehow). And 620 feet of tower is so completely out of scale, it would no doubt serve to dissect the neighborhoods instead of joining them.
There is a well-known technique in “The Art of War” that was most successfully applied in World War II that comes to mind: divide and conquer. The first phase of this is already in place because, apparently, none of the community boards communicate with one another. Since this vast amount of development falls into quite a few different neighborhoods, most citizens of Brooklyn that could level a collective, powerful and organized voice and agenda are already isolated. May I suggest a class-action lawsuit by the homeowners of Boerum Hill, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights and Fort Greene that challenges the use (or misuse) of eminent domain?
The Schermerhorn-Pacific Urban Renewal is something to watch, too, by the way. It’s the largest piece of undeveloped inner city real estate slated for “urban renewal” in this nation’s history — larger than downtown Los Angeles, larger than downtown Houston. What hair-brained scheme is already being concocted for that space which will (no doubt) be shoved down the community’s throats after the fact? We need to ask.
The borough president, City Planning Commission and City Council all have a say in what gets designated for “urban(e) development,” so please visit www. nypirg.org, put in your address to find out relevant reps and addresses and please write letters against urban renewal and for maximum accountability.
As for the stadium itself, Downtown Brooklyn Councilman David Yassky and Assemblywoman Joan Millman have no official position, and letters count for a lot.
—Sue Montgomery, Boerum Hill
©2004 Community News Group
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