Friday, July 14, 2006

The 3 pm lineup and more on the AY affordable housing session

I learned a telling fact about the 6:30 pm Atlantic Yards affordable housing information session Tuesday: the line started at 3 pm! That shows how desperate the need is for affordable housing, and also that Forest City Ratner and ACORN should have stressed that the information session would not give people a leg up on the future units.

As for the audience's skeptical response to the timing and cost of the units, The Brooklyn Papers found FCR's Jim Stuckey acknowledging, “Maybe I will explain the answers to their questions better next time.” And the Papers nailed the event as A dog-and-pony show, sharing my interpretation that the timing was keyed to the upcoming protest rally and environmental impact statement for the project.


Real Deal distortion

Meanwhile, The Real Deal, bumping up the Times's coverage, which was less skeptical than some rival coverage but hardly cheerleading, summarized it as Atlantic Yards supporters hail rental units. Not at all.

Daily Eagle undiscerning

And an article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, headlined Forest City’s Affordable Housing Plan: Here’s How It Would Work, reported that more than 1000 people attended the second session, which is contrary to an eyewitness report.

The article states: All the meetings brought home the fact that to many people, the plan to create 2,250 low- and moderate-income rental units, not the sports arena or the new office building, is the centerpiece of the development.

True, but they also brought home the fact that many in the audience were frustrated that the units would not be available for several years, at best, and that a good number were seen as quite costly. The article stated blandly:
Some dates were made public. If the approval process goes as expected, construction on the first residential buildings will begin next year. A lottery will be held in early 2009, meaning that the first tenants will be able to move in that year.
There are government-prescribed preferences for where people now live and what they do. ACORN and Forest City are trying to modify some of those rules to create more fairness in the process, they say.


It noted:
In an information sheet handed out at the meetings, Forest City says “There will be 600-1,000 additional affordable home-ownership units on or off site.”

The article didn't cite Stuckey's conditional language at the session: “We will be working on putting [it] together.”

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