Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New 35th District candidate: AY too distracting and James should have been a "facilitator"

If City Council Member Letitia James is a prominent opponent of Atlantic Yards and challenger Delia Hunley-Adossa is a prominent supporter (even if she's not talking about it), third candidate Medhanie Estiphanos is apparently trying to split the difference.

In an interview with the New York Times's blog, The Local, Estiphanos, who doesn't mention AY on his web site, says the project has been "incredibly detrimental to the community" mainly because "it’s taken too much of people’s time and focus" from other, more pressing matters.

Perhaps, but issues he prioritizes like education and affordable housing are also citywide issues, involving a larger number of stakeholders, giving local political officials somewhat less of a voice. Atlantic Yards is a local land use issue--or, at least, should have been, had it not gone through the state process overriding local zoning.

In the middle?

The Times reports:
While Mr. Estiphanos said he shared many of Ms. James’s reservations about Atlantic Yards, for example — “From the get-go,” he said, “I thought the scale of it was much bigger than Brooklyn could handle” — he faulted her for aligning herself as strongly with the project’s opponents as she has.

“I think she could’ve played a much better role being facilitator between Bruce Ratner, Paterson, the residents being affected by this, and really bring people to the table to cooperate,” he said.


That may seem reasonable from the outside, but cooperation depends on leverage, and James didn't have any, because the project did not go through the city's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), which typically gives the local City Council member significant power.

1 comment:

  1. I think the Gehry question is interesting rather than tough, a potential publicity minefield rather than the number one issue for analysts. Perhaps a more immediate one for them is this: "You busted a gut to get a rather pricey extension on your Grammercy loan, your senior debt is now the plaything of vulture funds, and you've got $780 million in corporate debt maturing a year from now. How on earth are you going to get the arena financing done too?

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