Today’s news:

And from the old-style mailbag…

The Brooklyn Paper

To the editor,

I read your story last week about the three candidates for City Council in my district (“Facing Brad, two foes can’t Lander a punch,” Oct. 23) and I also watched the online video of your endorsement forum with all three — and I have to say that the choice is clear: Brad Lander is the best qualified, smartest one of the bunch.

This is no knock on Green Party candidate David Pechefsky, whose election would shake things up. But in your debate, he came off like a clumsy bull in the china shop that is the New York City Council — he’d be so busy knocking things over that he wouldn’t be able to get things done.

His line of attack on Lander was simply that Lander is too much a party man to be independent of Speaker Quinn and her slush-fund cronies. But my reading of Lander — from your debate, from conversations I’ve had with him and from reading his agenda on his Web site — is that he would find the right mix of cooperating with his fellow lawmakers when he needs to and bucking them when they’re dead wrong.

Plus, even Pechefsky had to admit that Lander’s resume is far deeper than almost any first-term councilman in recent years. He’s actually done something, rather than (like Pechefsky) merely working for people who’ve done something.

The other candidate, Republican Joe Nardiello, was hopelessly mismatched. Worse, he said he was a different kind of Republican and that he’d fight for working people as hard as Lander — but then said he didn’t support the fairly uncontroversial paid sick day bill.

I do think your paper deserves credit for asking good questions and airing the debate on its Web site. I hope people will watch it before voting on Nov. 3.

Jim Tunney, Park Slope

• • •

To the editor,

I wanted to thank you for hosting the only true debate of the 39th Council District thus far. Good, responsive, dedicated government and can only happen with a sea change. I believe that I am that change.

At my heart, I’m a progressive reformer, and maybe some of that came out in the debate. Last month, I upset the GOP, and now I’m focusing on the need for re-examining the one-party (Democratic Party) system that has fallen into a neo-machine that ignores our residents.

I’m out there, and I see the frustration. Part of me may also be a strong Democrat, in a traditional sense — it’s part of my upbringing. I’m a hybrid, I know. Certainly a throwback to another form of Republicanism.

Do our residents want another career-track politician? Five thousand democrats voted for Brad Lander, and 7,000 didn’t. Our residents desperately want to see something new and get a reason to care about elections again. I’d hold anyone’s feet to the fire — senseless development, bureaucrats, both sides of the Superfund debate, anyone. All that matters is working for the Public Good.

In the debate, I was asked how I would work within the Democrat-dominated council, and if partisanship would slow progress. Not on my end; I’d quickly dispel any notion in other elected leaders — especially when they see my plans for a comprehensive urban agenda and the way I’m planning to take the “authority” away from the MTA for the benefit of all.

Please remember, that I’m in the Brooklyn NAACP and see no differences in people, other than what comes out of their mouths and actions.

If there’s any strong point of mine it would absolutely be that I can work with our diverse councilmembers. Remember I had accomplishment in East and West Harlem, in Staten Island, Brighton Beach — and certainly have interacted well across our own district. In fact, it’s the Democrats who see partisan lines, given the hundreds of voters who have said they’d support me in a heartbeat if only I “was a Democrat.”

I’m appealing to voters to look beyond the gay-marriage issue, as my character and experience goes far deeper. People are people to me. I know that I’m not President Obama, nor would ever have his political capital — but our views are the same. I am not an ideologue and do not have any deep-seated opposition to gay marriage. Church and state are separated.

But people need a license prior to even marrying in a church. If New York State allows that license for same-sex couples — and provides protection for people’s belief systems — then there’s no reason why New York State cannot join Iowa and Massachusetts. But that is a state vote. I said if it passes, I will support it.

Joe Nardiello,

Carroll Gardens

The writer is the Republican candidate for the 39th Council District.

Yard work

To the editor,

Finally the lawsuits are piling up on the Atlantic Yards project (“New state-Ratner deal has ‘clause’ for concern,” Oct. 23). And the timing could not be better. This is because of the dishonorable deadline that Forest City Ratner and its state allies are trying to meet.

It turns out the bond scheme involving payments in lieu of taxes have been ruled illegal by the IRS. But an exception has been made for the well-connected Ratner that says he can use the PILOTS loophole, which is illegal for everybody else, until the end of the year. It is like mugging is illegal, but a judge’s son gets to mug people until the end of December before it becomes illegal for him, too. Sounds harsh? Mugging is illegal, and so are Ratner’s PILOTS.

But it’s not just the IRS that helped Ratner break the rules. The Empire State Development Corporation has violated several of the laws governing its procedures to help Ratner mug the public before the deadline.

In the race to help Ratner meet the IRS deadline, the ESDC has put required approval process steps out of order. The law requires a public hearing on the new plan and a public comment period. But that would slow things down, so ESDC literally had the public hearing and comment period first, before even releasing the plan the public was commenting on!

This led Sen. Velmanette Montgomery to say the ESDC was acting as an “outlaw organization.”

The MTA also is helping Ratner meet the preferred-mugger deadline by re-selling the development rights to the Vanderbilt railyards to Ratner at a lower price than it sold it before (tiny up-front payment, subsidized interest rate, and a promise of less track renovations by Ratner that were part of the deal). But there’s one problem: in reselling the yards, the MTA violated the law by not requesting competitive bids!

So I’m pleased that Montgomery and others for suing the MTA over the bidding violation. And I give thanks to Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn and the 19 other neighborhood groups that are suing the ESDC over its villainy.

Whatever you may feel about basketball, or people being thrown out of their homes to give the property to a preferred developer, there are rules governing the conduct of all the parties involved. Ultimately, the government and its agencies must obey the law.

I hope lawsuits continue to pile up. Good development with union jobs will come to the Vanderbilt Yards — if we get past the corrupt Atlantic Yards project and defend the rule-of-law in the process.Steve de Seve,

Brooklyn Heights

• • •

To the editor,

The fans of the Atlantic Yards project have obviously never tried to drive or bus up Flatbush Avenue on any given afternoon.

Creeping up to, through and beyond Atlantic Avenue is a 25-minute production.

Imagine when we have apartment buildings and a stadium to contend with.

It would truly be faster to walk!

Sue Yellin, Fort Greene

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Reader Feedback

Rosemary from Carroll Gardens says:
I enjoy reading Joe Nardiello's comments. Keep up the good work
Oct. 29, 2009, 4:50 pm
Steven Hart from Boerum Hill says:
Since 2003 the sirens of FCRC have argued that AY was inevitable so why fight it? These suits demonstrate exactly why Americans should fight these fights. They are the only means of the general public to retard and even stop egregious government abuse of power, the public treasure and political influence. The comment is sport on that the PILOTS is in Ratner's case, a license to mug the public and most particularly the taxpayer. Not only would Ratopia fail to benefit Brooklyn, it was do serious damage to the viability of daily life here. It would do so while created no single service, dwelling or job for local residents. What we would get is sold out to the highest bidder on Ratner's list of dubious investors, principally the State of NY.
Oct. 29, 2009, 7:46 pm
Steven Hart from Boerum Hill says:
Since 2003 the sirens of FCRC have argued that AY was inevitable so why fight it? These suits demonstrate exactly why Americans should fight these fights. They are the only means of the general public to retard and even stop egregious government abuse of power, the public treasure and political influence. The comment is spot on that the PILOTS is in Ratner's case, a license to mug the public and most particularly the taxpayer. Not only would Ratopia fail to benefit Brooklyn, it was do serious damage to the viability of daily life here. It would do so while created no single service, dwelling or job for local residents. What we would get is sold out to the highest bidder on Ratner's list of dubious investors, principally the State of NY.
Oct. 29, 2009, 7:48 pm
Karen Meara from Park Slope says:
To the editor

Thank you for hosting the endorsement forum for the City Council candidates for District 39. I am writing to urge my neighbors to support David Pechefsky, the most capable and independent candidate, and to set the record straight on his unique qualifications.
One of your readers suggested that David is somehow less qualified than his democratic opponent because David worked for the City Council. Clearly, your reader has been misinformed about the role of a central staffer, and about the invaluable role David played in supporting the City Council’s accomplishments over the last decade. Legislative staff members are problem solvers. They are called on to generate policy ideas, turn vague proposals into workable ones, critique executive branch proposals, offer alternatives, and follow up with agencies to make sure that services promised to a legislator’s constituents are actually delivered.
David was uniquely adept at all these skills. He listened closely to Council Members, then figured out how they could achieve their goals within the constraints of the City’s agency structure. He will no doubt do the same for the residents of Park Slope – listen closely and take effective action. He knows how to get things done -- who to call, how decisions typically get made, and what kind of persuasion is most effective. David’s experience inside city government has taught him volumes. He understands what each agency does in great detail. He has hundreds of contacts in offices ranging from the Health Dept to the Buildings department. He knows which council members share his positions on issues that are important to our neighborhood.
Which brings me to my last point – your reader suggested that David’s commitment to "shaking things up" would cause him to alienate his colleagues. As someone who has seen David in action, I believe that Mr. Tunney underestimates David’s capacity to work with his colleagues. David has finesse – he knows just how hard he can push an issue without alienating his listener. People in government like and respect him. They return his phone calls and listen when he talks. He will no doubt push for change, but not as a lone maverick -- as someone who knows how to listen, both to his constituents, and to his colleagues, and as someone whose extensive experience will enable him to advocate for District 39 from day one.
Oct. 30, 2009, 3:43 pm
Barry Strugatz from Park Slope says:
I watched your excellent 39th Council District forum online. David Pechefsky was like a breath of fresh air. His ideas on how to reform and democratize our city council make a lot of sense. He has extensive experience in city government yet is totally independent since he is running on the Green Party.
Oct. 30, 2009, 9:19 pm

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