Some don’t get a say

The Brooklyn Paper
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Scores of people hoping to testify about Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project never got their three-minutes of fame, despite signing up before Wednesday’s hearing even got under way at 4:30 pm.

The scheduled four-hour public hearing was expanded to seven, but about 300 people who signed up did not get a chance to speak.

“Only 100 people spoke, less than 20 percent! It’s not fair,” said Timothy Logan, chair of the New York City chapter of the Sierra Club.

Those who did not get time at the microphone were invited to submit their speeches in writing or attend a second hearing on Sept. 12.

“I’ll send in my piece,” said Steve Sullivan, a project opponent who got on line at 4:30 and left, frustrated, at 10:30. “I would’ve really loved to speak.”

At one point in the waning hours, members of the overflow crowd started yelling out, “I’ve been here since 3!”

Evangelina Porter, a project supporter from Crown Heights, was one of the unlucky ones who showed up early, but left empty-throated.

“I have to get up early to go to my job,” she said. “I can’t wait around here all night.”

Many project opponents complained that the hearing should not have taken place in the summer, when many people are on vacation. But plenty of people crowded the 880-seat Klitgord Auditorium on Jay Street to make their feelings known.

Officials with the Empire State Development Corporation refused to allow people in the auditorium until someone from inside left, leaving hundreds of people waiting in line as the hearing went on.

“I have to get inside,” said Elaine McNeil, a self-described “Ratner girl,” who supports the project. After several hours, she did.

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