Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tish James, DDDB welcome Bloomberg's PACB comments

Yesterday I wrote about how Mayor Mike Bloomberg's comments criticizing the Public Authorities Control Board (PACB) as undemocratic raised the question about whether he'd criticize the process regarding approval of the Atlantic Yards project.

After all, the PACB would have to approve the project after it passes the board of the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), itself another agency insulated from the democratic process.

Yesterday City Council Member Letitia James, who represents Prospect Heights and environs, including the area slated for the Atlantic Yards project, issued a statement:
I agree fully that the Public Authorities Control Board (PACB) is not a good
example of representative democracy. "Three men in a room" should not have control over development in our city- not at Moynihan Station and not at Atlantic Yards.

The mayor suggested someone might want to "look at" the constitutionality of the PACB. There are many in this community, including myself, who have been doing just that. Of the numerous lawsuits that will be filed in relation to Atlantic Yards, one may very well deal with this undemocratic process, and the near total lack of citizen input.


DDDB's comments

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB) issued a statement, as well.

DDDB said:
Mayor Bloomberg is absolutely correct: three-men-in-a-room control over Ratner’s ‘Atlantic Yards,’ and other enormous development projects in New York City, is clearly undemocratic and, as he suggests, may be unconstitutional. We’ve been saying that for the past three years,” said Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB) spokesman Daniel Goldstein. “We sure hope that the Mayor is not suggesting that he accepts and abets this undemocratic process when it suits his goals, and rejects it when it doesn’t. That would be Machiavellian. Indeed we will be ‘looking at that,’ as the Mayor urges, over the coming months.”

In 2005 Mayor Bloomberg signed over the city’s chartered right to oversight and review of Forest City Ratner’s 8.8 million square foot “Atlantic Yards” development proposal. This decision by the Mayor gave complete control of the largest mixed-use development proposal in the history of New York City to the unaccountable and unelected ESDC and the “undemocratic” (his words) PACB. The agreed to state override took control of the project out of the hands of three community boards, the Brooklyn Borough President, City Planning Commission and the entire City Council. None of those bodies have any official role in the project, and the override of the City’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) bypasses the City Council’s vote on such projects. Instead, the ESDC and the PACB are the only entities that have any official role in determining the fate of the “Atlantic Yards” proposal.

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