Sunday, April 15, 2007

A letter to the Times on Ratner, the library, and eminent domain

I've given up on writing letters to the New York Times about Atlantic Yards, but Ron Shiffman hasn't, and Shiffman has a letter in the Times City Section today making points similar to those I made last Sunday in Why Bruce Ratner is not like a public library.

Shiffman writes:
Re “Flexing Big Muscles for a Little Library” (April 8):

Equating the use of eminent domain for a public library with a private development and calling them both for “the public good” is equivalent to comparing a public school teacher to a Donald Trump.

The Brooklyn Public Library is a not-for-profit organization established to provide a public service while Forest City Ratner is a private corporation established to maximize profits for its investors. The fact that Forest City is adept at wrangling public subsidies for its private enterprises out of the city and state treasuries does not mean that its activities fulfill a public purpose.


Shiffman doesn't get an ID for this letter, but he has several: community planner, founder of the Pratt Institute Center for Community and Environmental Development, former City Planning Commission member, faculty member at the Pratt Institute, and member of the Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn Advisory Board.

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