Today’s news:

Yards foes extend hand to critic of Ratner and DDDB

The Brooklyn Paper

To the editor,

We’re responding to Leon de Augusto from Bushwick whose letter was published earlier this month regarding the fight to stop Atlantic Yards (“This guy faults Bruce Ratner and Atlantic Yards foes,” Letters, May 17).

Leon, we agree with your desire for the broadest coalition possible against the Atlantic Yards proposal and to find common ground on related issues such as housing, open space and city services.

We’d like to invite you, your family and neighbors and all friends to join us in our continued effort to bring together all the communities negatively affected by Forest City Ratner’s past and current plans. Together we can make a difference!

We all live in this community whether we’re public housing tenants, rent-stabilized tenants, renters, co-op owners, condo owners, or home-owners. Don’t let people divide us!

Our committee of Brooklyn residents includes people of color, housing project residents and rent-stabilized tenants.

We also agree with your analysis of Bruce Ratner’s track record of broken promises and the Community Benefits Agreement.

However, let us respond to your perception that our support and our supporters are limited. For over four years, we have struggled on the street and in the courts without the massive economic resources of Bruce Ratner; our forces are all community volunteers. Despite our limitations, we have held well-publicized events, posted detailed Web sites and blogs, reached out to media outlets, delivered tens of thousands of informational fliers, produced low-budget videos and documentaries, and enjoyed the support of many elected officials.

The community’s efforts have delayed this disastrous project to the point where we are close to defeating it, halting the displacement of rent-stabilized and rent controlled tenants and “instant gentrification” in the name of so-called “affordable housing.”

Our political support includes Rep. Major Owens (now retired), state Sen. Velmanette Montgomery, Councilmembers Letitia James and Charles Barron, as well as former candidates for public office such as Chris Owens and Bill Batson — all of whom are African-American.

Develop Don’t Destroy’s board of directors includes Bob Law and Rev. Dennis Dillon, community leaders who need no introduction to the African-American community.

Has our outreach been as good as we would like? No, but we have tried hard and will continue to do so. We have tabled numerous times at Atlantic Terminal Public Housing across from the proposed project. We’ve also gone door-to-door there, getting signatures on our petitions and listening to the tenants speak of how they are being hoodwinked once again.

The response has been very good and shows the widespread concern about this project — the rip-off of our tax dollars for a billionaire who seeks only to enrich himself while our community suffers from a lack of affordable housing, living-wage jobs and a healthy environment where we can all breathe and prosper.

The entire community does not accept the false stories being spread by Ratner, Bloomberg and company. People are making the connections.

We reach out to you, Leon, and the entire community. The developers and corporations have succeeded for years in dividing us along racial, economic and union or non-union lines. We reject those divisions and urge everyone to join us in our fight to save public housing, provide union living-wage jobs to our youth and community and build real affordable housing.

Claudia Massa, Chris Owens, Beverly Corbin, Mona Fafarman, and Daniel Goldstein

The writers are members of United Neighbors of Brooklyn.

Trouble with Harry

To the editor,

Who does Harry Steinberg think he is, Miss Gould? (“Watch your language,” Letters, May 17).

He wrote with some complaints about The Brooklyn Paper’s florid use of language, but Miss Gould would never — jamais! Nie! — have allowed a sentence with the term “less-than-completely” in the pages of The New Yorker.

And whatever did Steinberg mean when he wrote that he reads The Brooklyn Paper to keep up with “how many virgins Bruce Ratner defiled that week”? Such violent imagery!

But maybe he is speaking metaphorically?

Is Professor Steinberg’s — like Rev. Chasuble’s — metaphor “drawn from bees”?

Schellie Hagan, Prospect Heights

A fine mess!

To the editor,

I’m note sure why you were “breathless” in your exclamation of “‘Park’ Slopers Rejoice!” (May 17) about the alternate-side-of-the-street parking ban, but I was not rejoicing at the news that street cleaning has been suspended for the summer.

As it is, it is hard enough to keep our neighborhood streets clean — with the suspension of alternate-side rules, the streets will be dirtier.

And to top it off, the suspension is happening during the hot summer months, when there is more garbage generated and the unpleasant smells associated with the hot summer in the city.

I think it is irresponsible for the Department of Transportation to take all summer to change the signs and adjust the timing of the regulations to allow for street sweeping.Jed Meyer, Park Slope

• • •

To the editor,

I’m the overwrought guy circling endlessly looking for that fabled parking space you assured us would be there once alternate-side-of-the-street parking rules were suspended.

But the suspension has turned into parking hell. We now compete with drivers from other neighborhoods who figured out that Park Slope is now just one big, long-term parking lot. So pardon me if I don’t “rejoice.” I’m too busy looking for a spot.

Bob Begleiter, Park Slope

Happy B-day

To the editor,

Congratulations to Brooklyn and the city of New York, and the many sponsors, for providing a first-rate event birthday party for the Brooklyn Bridge — complete with birthday cake for all attendees at the May 22 celebration at Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park (“Happy birthday, Great Bridge,” online, May 24).

Jack Taggart, Pennsylvania

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qwerty from crooklyn says:
Regarding "Yards foes extend hand to critic of Ratner and DDDB":

It is instructive to note that Mr. Goldstein has previously "insinuate[d] that two African-American groups that supported Mr. Ratner's project were slaves serving 'wealthy white masters'..."

More importantly, in this letter DDDB has finally admitted that the true intent of the string of losing lawsuits is to delay the project to death:

"The community’s efforts have delayed this disastrous project to the point where we are close to defeating it..."
May 30, 2008, 11:25 pm
brooklynite from park slope says:
It's a surprise that DDDB is trying to kill Atlantic Yards? To who?

anyway, your ellipsis is interesting, here's the full sentence:

The community’s efforts have delayed this disastrous project to the point where we are close to defeating it, halting the displacement of rent-stabilized and rent controlled tenants and “instant gentrification” in the name of so-called “affordable housing.”
May 31, 2008, 10:32 pm
qwerty from crooklyn says:
Brooklynite --

It should surprise no one that DDDB has continued to pursue its baseless lawsuits simply as a "delay tactic" -- indeed, the developer's representatives have made that point for years. DDDB has, however, steadfastly insisted that their lawsuits are not designed as "delay tactics":

"Goldstein responded that it’s their right to file a lawsuit. 'This is the United States of America and we believe that the law has been broken,' he said. 'We’re not trying to delay their project, we’re trying to stop it. We’ve been clear on that for four years.'"

Indeed, he was quoted in this very paper to the same effect:

"A lawyer for the MTA, arguing for [the] project, insisted in court on Friday that the legal battle was having 'a chilling affect' and was simply a stalling tactic. A spokesman for Develop Don’t Destroy told the Brooklyn Paper, 'Our lawsuit was not ‘designed’ for anything. It was filed in order to make sure that a state agency follows state laws.'”

This new letter, co-authored by Mr. Goldstein, is an important admission of DDDB's true motives -- to delay the project to death.
June 1, 2008, 3:10 am
brooklynite from park slope says:
My understanding is that DDDB is opposed to the Atlantic Yards project. The quotes you post don't seem to counter that. Nor do they show that the purpose of the suits are to delay the project. And the passage you seem so bothered by in the the letter above also says nothing about lawsuits filed to delay the project.

the letter above, the passage you point to, says:

"The community’s efforts have delayed this disastrous project..."

Is that not true? How is that an admission of trying to delay the project, as opposed to a stating of fact that, as it says, the community's efforts have delayed the project. Have they not? Doesn't even mention lawsuits anyway.

How does the letter contradict your quotes above? There doesn't seem to be any contradiction.
June 1, 2008, 10:39 pm
qwerty from crooklyn says:
Interesting use of ellipsis.

The quote in question states that "[t]he community’s efforts have delayed this disastrous project to the point where we are close to defeating it, halting the displacement of rent-stabilized and rent controlled tenants and 'instant gentrification' in the name of so-called 'affordable housing.'"

And in the prior paragraph the writers refer to the subject of the quote, including the "struggle on the street and in the courts..."

If they had previously admitted that their lawsuits and appeals were designed to "delay the project to the point" of defeating it, there would be nothing to talk about. However, they have specifically denied any such purpose, even in the face of 11 or 18 losses in a row (depending on who you listen to). Most likely, they are aware that the courts would look unfavorably on any such admission.
June 2, 2008, 12:02 am

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