Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Brutally weird: a CBA block party on Pacific Street in the AY footprint

Permits for block parties in the city must be acquired 60 days ahead of time, so let's assume that the Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement BLOCK PARTY! was scheduled well before the Supreme Court decision Monday not to accept the AY eminent domain appeal. Still, the event was not announced until late Monday afternoon.

That's curious. Stranger still, and brutally weird, is the location of the party: Pacific Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues in the AY footprint, opposite the under-demolition Ward Bakery, where a stop-work order exists and where the handful of residents left are, as far as I know, plaintiffs in the eminent domain case or their relatives. As Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn comments, "Call us crazy but we thought block parties were thrown by PEOPLE LIVING ON THE BLOCK."

In other words, the "community" celebration is on a block scheduled for Phase 2 of the project, without start date or deadline, threatened by "condemnation blight." (And, as I've been reminded, the block will be demapped for the project, so it won't exist.) An email informs us that the organizer is Delia Hunley-Adossa, who also MC'd the strained "Brooklyn Day" rally.

2 comments:

  1. Brutally weird, and pretty desperate and pathetic. It might even be funny if it not for the fact that FCR will leave our community in shambles for the next 20 or 30 or ?? years.

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  2. Eerie

    “Eerie” is in the title of the other most excellent AYR post of this date but perhaps it should have been in the title of this post as well.

    This is a story complete with a ghost town and other wandering phantoms as well.

    The block where this “block party” has been called for a by phantom non-residents is a ghost town slated for non-existence under the Ratner plan. How appropriate that it is to celebrate another phantom, the “community benefits agreement” set up in all it curled-parchment-promoted glory as if it is a real thing!

    Anyone thirsting to find benefit in the community benefits agreement will find themselves extremely “parched” indeed.

    Housing is probably the most important theoretical benefit provided for under the community benefits agreement but the agreement obligates Ratner to provide virtually no housing at all. Though lots of people who should know this, they apparently don’t. The housing components of that “agreement” negotiated by Bertha Lewis and ACORN afford an instrument for Ratner to provide only the most minimal housing conceivable. I think this has gone largely unappreciated. If anything, the agreement can be an instrument for Ratner to escape what would normally be his obligation to provide affordable housing as is his demonstrably wont (Remember his lobbying to escape housing obligations under the 421-a law?)

    For a detailed analysis of the virtual nothing that ACORN and Bertha Lewis negotiated in terms of housing under the “Community Benefits Agreement” see my extended comment at: “As groups lobby against tax-exempt bonds for sports facilities, is WFP hamstrung by ACORN's AY deal?” http://atlanticyardsreport.blogspot.com/2008/06/as-groups-lobby-against-tax-exempt.html)

    The other “eerie” AYR post of today includes a quote from Betha Lewis in the film “Brooklyn Matters”- “They had their bean counters and we had our bean counters.” - In my comment I mention the same quote pointing out that “Bertha Lewis obviously doesn’t know beans about counting beans.”

    As for being able to count, I find it ironic that delivery of other public benefit under the agreement is heavily dependant on Darryl E. Greene of the one-time Darryl E. Greene & Associates whom, not only from the headlines, but also because of work with him we know to have a suspicious amount of trouble when it comes to counting. (See: New York Times, “Lawyer Is Accused of Bilking City Agencies” Published: December 5, 1997 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B02EFDF103DF936A35751C1A961958260 and City of New York Department of Investigation Press Release “Government Contract Attorney-consultant Pleads Guilty in $500,000 Theft of Public Monies” http://www.nyc.gov/html/doi/pdf/pr022499.pdf)

    On whose side is the Darryl Greene who has a record of conveniently mangling numbers to take home a check? His relationship to Ratner apparently goes back to at least 2004. That makes it before the May 17, 2005 day that Bertha Lewis and ACORN signed away their right to speak credibly about Atlantic Yards.

    In an article in the Brooklyn Rail “Ratner Applies Full-Court Press on the Downtown Arena” (http://www.thebrooklynrail.org/local/nov04/ratner.html) which also includes information about BUILD and ACORN the following appears:

    “Specifics relating to terms of the agreement are few and far between. Its intention is to bind Forest City to certain standards that would ensure that Brooklyn Atlantic Yards would benefit Prospect Heights and the surrounding areas. At an October 26 BUILD meeting, Darryl Greene, a consultant for Forest City, laid out some of the points to expect.”

    The complicated reporting of important community benefit numbers is being handled and can only be seen through the fishily suspect eye of reports for which Greene is responsible- For a little on this see: Thursday, April 10, 2008: Errol Louis and the "Atlantic Yards pork pool"
    http://atlanticyardsreport.blogspot.com/2008/04/errol-louis-and-atlantic-yards-pork.html

    AYR has some information about Greene in a previous post: (See: Friday, December 01, 2006
    “The Darman Group (AY minority contracting coordinator) and the Malcom Smith connection”
    http://atlanticyardsreport.blogspot.com/2006/12/darman-group-ay-minority-contracting.html.

    **

    Back to housing- Maybe in honor of its ghost-town theme the block party should be attended exclusively by families with incomes between $38,407.00 and $46,086.20 eligible to reside in the “affordable housing”- Phantoms again!- Because the ACORN MOU with Ratner specifically provides that no such families shall be eligible for “affordable” housing (monthly rents of $2,880.45 for abnormally small apartments) though families (of four) earning much more ($122,899.20) and, under the federal tax code requirement, some families earning less will be eligible. Why were the families in this precluded income range consigned to phantomhood? Do you think that Ratner is in the business of negotiating benefits that might actually affect his bottom line?

    Michael D. D. White
    Noticing New York

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