Tuesday, September 12, 2006

On 9/12, a day for an election--and a hearing

Yesterday Lumi Rolley of No Land Grab observed:
Many Brooklynites are wondering why Bruce Ratner plans to build:
a glass and steel skyscraper,
towering above an arena,
at one of the busiest intersections in Brooklyn,
over a transit hub that has already been targeted by terrorists.


I wonder less about Ratner's motives than whether our government regulators will assess the security risks. Given that post-9/11 security is not within the scope of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), that responsibility--and the responsibility remains--will fall to our elected officals.

Whether they support Atlantic Yards or not--and Atlantic Yards Vote and NLG will let you know--our elected officials (and that includes ones not in races today) owe the public a responsible analysis.

I wonder how many will be at the community forum (not an actual public hearing, so let's consider the term "hearing" in the headline colloquial) this afternoon on the Atlantic Yards plan. And I wonder how many of the people will address the DEIS, or simply rally for/against the project.

We know that a lot of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn followers won't be there, so does that mean that ACORN and BUILD and the unions will instead spend their time in the political process as well?

Harsh words for planning--at Ground Zero

Yesterday, in an essay headlined At Ground Zero, Towers for Forgetting, New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff wrote:
The designs unveiled last week for three sleek glass towers at ground zero rise above the mediocrity we have come to expect from a planning process driven by political opportunism, backdoor deal-making and commercial greed.

Couldn't that also be said about Atlantic Yards? That passage reminded me how much civic and journalistic attention has been paid to Ground Zero. The attention is legitimate, but the pool is finite.

In the absence of the Ground Zero controversy, or the West Side Stadium controversy (in which community groups found their voices amplified by the deep-pocketed Cablevision, owner of Madison Square Garden), wouldn't Atlantic Yards have popped up on the radar screen of more New Yorkers?

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