Wednesday, February 21, 2007

DDDB, BrooklynSpeaks, and "Brooklyn Matters"

A reader took issue with my recent shorthand formulation distinguishing "the generally hard-line opposition and legally focused battle by Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB)" from "the lobbying effort by BrooklynSpeaks to change the project."

The point, the reader said, was that BrooklynSpeaks wasn't conceived in a vacuum, but rather in recognition of DDDB's strategy. Indeed, when launching the group last September, BrooklynSpeaks principals said they didn't consider the groups contradictory and offered some cautious praise for DDDB.

My correspondent commented that the answer to "which strategy is best?" is not one or the other but both. That may be so.

Still, while the two coalitions share some members, they haven't publicly coordinated their efforts nor cross-endorsed each other. So the relationship could be closer.

Brooklyn Matters

Interestingly enough, from the perspective of Isabel Hill's documentary film Brooklyn Matters, which is showing tonight at Bishop Loughlin High School (and elsewhere in the future), there's little difference between the two groups.

In the film, representatives of both DDDB and BrooklynSpeaks roundly criticize Atlantic Yards; the question of strategic differences seems a far smaller issue.

Does developer Forest City Ratner think of the groups differently? It's hard to know, since FCR has not made any public gestures in rapprochement with BrooklynSpeaks, but it's possible.

Do local politicians, some of which might have some influence in the local development corporation that BrooklynSpeaks would like to oversee Atlantic Yards, think of the groups differently? That's more likely.

Lawsuit worries?

Meanwhile, as prep work for the Atlantic Yards project began yesterday, the eminent domain lawsuit filed by DDDB--which was cited in several but not all press accounts--may the developer's biggest immediate concern.

According to the New York Observer, "Neither [MTA spokesman] Mr. [Sam] Zambuto nor Forest City spokesman Joe DePlasco would say whether the company was waiting until lawsuits were resolved before closing" on the deal to purchase the MTA's Vanderbilt Yard. Zambuto did "add that there was no written agreement that stipulated that deal would have to wait until the lawsuits are resolved."

Still, there's reason to believe that the lawsuits are on their mind.

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