Jeffries changes tune, calls AY "vital to the economy," wants meeting with Prokhorov; also, PHNDC Town Hall with electeds on Thursday
Once upon a time (actually 5/3/08) Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries said publicly, "Let's give Governor Paterson a chance to say no to eminent domain."
Now, along with legislative leaders John Sampson (beneficiary of a fundraiser held at Forest City Ratner offices) and Nick Perry, he's calling for a meeting with Bruce Ratner and prospective Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov.
(Last week he said that, while the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has breached its fiduciary duty, he couldn't join a suit against the agency because it would compromise "my ability to forcefully and candidly advocate on behalf of the community.")
"Economic development venture"
Note that the letter calls Atlantic Yards "a major economic development venture that is vital to the economy and the future of Brooklyn." That's debatable, given the New York City Independent Budget Office's conclusion that the arena would be a money-loser for the city. (And remember, they didn't mention blight removal, ostensibly the purpose of eminent domain.)
But Atlantic Yards--heck, just the arena--surely would distribute some jobs and job training and minority contracting, which is why the legislators want to make sure that "all covenants previously executed in the 'Community Benefits Agreement' (CBA)... remain in force, and are fully implemented."
Well, the CBA is not exactly enforceable, and Jeffries himself in May raised questions about it. The affordable housing mentioned in the letter might be even more of a stretch.
Town Hall Thursday
Is Jeffries contradicting himself? Well, ask him Thursday night at a Town Hall (7-9 pm) sponsored by the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council at P.S. 9, 80 Underhill Avenue, along with State Senator Eric Adams and City Council Member Letitia James.