Saturday, November 17, 2007

On "brownstone-bourgeois" policy wonkery and New York magazine

How journalism gets made... an item on the New York magazine web site (and perhaps coming in the next issue), headlined Housing Advocate Brad Lander to Run for DeBlasio's Council Spot, offers the following line:
A savvy political operator, Lander is also popular with the brownstone-bourgeois crowd — the Atlantic Yards Report quotes him approvingly.

The link to my blog is from an August 2007 post headlined Beyond gentrification: the contributing factors to the housing crisis, a pretty wonky exploration of housing issues, taking off from a discussion held in June 2006 on housing displacement, sponsored by the Center for the Study of Brooklyn at Brooklyn College.

The New York magazine article could just as easily have said that "Lander is also popular with the policy wonk crowd." (Is it brownstone-bourgeois to spend most of your weekend, as I did recently, at a conference about affordable housing titled "Priced Out"?)

The original query

The writer of the article, Alec Appelbaum, asked me via e-mail "how effectively you think Brad Lander has made the Pratt Center influence the city's oversight, disclosure and management of Atlantic Yards and Brooklyn rezonings."

Given that I didn't know the context of the story and that I haven't scrutinized the Pratt Center's work, I responded, "I can't evaluate such a broad topic, but I can say that I think the Pratt Center's report on Atlantic Yards, Slam Dunk or Air Ball? A Preliminary Planning Analysis of the Brooklyn Atlantic Yards Project, contained within it a significant critique of the Atlantic Yards economic projections put forth by the developer's paid consultant and promulgated by the developer--and, as far as I know, that critique was ignored at the time."

Obviously that was way too granular for the brief article that was published.

Looking ahead

The race to succeed de Blasio should be interesting. Needless to say, I am not endorsing anyone and expect to occasionally look at the contest, especially when it intersects with Atlantic Yards.

Other candidates, according to the Courier-Life chain, are expected to include Craig Hammerman, district manager of Community Board 6; Bob Zuckerman, executive director of the Gowanus Canal Community Development Corporation; and Josh Skaller, president of the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats.

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