Sunday, May 14, 2006

ACORN's Lewis vs. three Community Boards: is one side lying?

In an article this week in the Courier-Life chain, headlined CBA Expert Casts Doubt On Atlantic Yards Deal With Local Groups, Bertha Lewis, head of the New York affiliate of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), defended the Community Benefits Agreement signed by eight groups that negotiated with developer Forest City Ratner. The article stated:
She also disputed that any group has been deliberately excluded from the process.
“People who say that groups were hand-picked are just dead wrong,” said Lewis. “People self selected in, and self selected out, as far as the Atlantic Yards is concerned.”


That's not what others say. The three Community Boards (2,6,8) in the area around the proposed project footprint on May 1 sent a letter to FCR President Bruce Ratner requesting that the developer stop claiming that the CBs participated in "crafting" the CBA. Their statement contradicts Lewis's claim of self-selection:
As you may or may not be aware, we were invited to play a limited role that ended months before the agreement was signed when some eventual signatories barred us from attending the working sessions.

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