Monday, June 01, 2009

Brooklyn Day (2008) vs. Perkins hearing (2009); why FCR's operatives got better results

So, why was Brooklyn Day, the Forest City Ratner-sponsored event June 5 at Borough Hall, such a dud, while the FCR-orchestrated response at the state Senate oversight hearing on Friday succeeded in disrupting the event and--in some news accounts--overshadowed more analytical coverage?

(Photo of Borough President Marty Markowitz at Brooklyn Day by Tracy Collins)

Here are a couple of suggestions:

1) It's easier to be against something than to be for something. While the pro-project at the Pratt Institute hearing Friday were ostensibly for jobs, housing, and hoops--even though there would be many fewer jobs than initially promised and housing is in doubt--they were much more against the effort sponsored by State Senators Bill Perkins and Velmanette Montgomery to try to get some information. 

Last year, elected officials and others kept urging that the project proceed, but one of the major obstacles, we were to learn, was Forest City Ratner's cash crunch.

2) The above goal is much easier to accomplish when you're committed to being disrespectful. The whistles, the heckling, and the interruptions Friday should not have been permitted, especially by people of the cloth like the Rev. Herbert Daughtry (at right in photo), head of a community group funded by Forest City Ratner.

 Unfortunately, Perkins allowed the hearing--essentially an effort to evaluate the performance of state agencies--to turn into a public rally.

3) A group is much louder inside a building than outside a building. While many more union members and community members attended the Brooklyn Day rally last year than attended the hearing last Friday, they made a lot more noise at Pratt.

4) Probably the most important witness, at least in volunteering vital information, was George Sweeting of the Independent Budget Office (IBO), and he spoke late in the hearing, which meant some in the press had already checked out.

Brooklyn Day comes on the first Thursday in June, so this year it will be June 4, three days from today.

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