Sunday, January 10, 2010

Now Public Advocate, de Blasio maintains cognitive dissonance on Atlantic Yards

The Courier-Life reports on Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, in an article headlined Bklyn’s in the house: De Blasio takes new Advocate position by storm, and No Land Grab's Lumi Rolley observes that Atlantic Yards "still represents the cognitive dissonance in Bill de Blasio's efforts to advocate for the community."

The Courier-Life reports:
"Community planning is something I have spent a lot of time working on,” he said. "It’s how we think about our neighborhoods that ensures how we preserve what’s best about them. Bringing in affordable housing and preserving and protecting small business is a very large part of that.”

Yet some of de Blasio’s friends from the old neighborhood may not be applauding his moxie for long, especially since he sees the Atlantic Yards project as an example of a good government/community partnership.

"[The Atlantic Yards project] is a good example of a community benefits plan, that’s why I supported it,” he said. “The process, however, has been horrendous. It needs to be scaled down and some serious changes have to be made.
Scale tied to community benefits

What de Blasio doesn't understand--despite many opportunities to improve on his due diligence (as noted in October 2007)--is that the project's scale was premised on the community benefits.

In other words, his supporter Bertha Lewis of ACORN agreed to support the project at the scale Forest City Ratner sought in exchange for the promised affordable housing (and contracts to administer it)> Later, Forest City Ratner delivered a grant/loan of $1.5 million to bail out ACORN.

And, as Lewis famously declared in February 2006, "I can't do environment. I can’t do traffic." And it was people who supported the Community Benefits Agreement who supported the "horrendous" process and even interfered with a state Senate oversight hearing last May.

Meanwhile, de Blasio, simply by virtue of his office, joins Comptroller John Liu as a potential candidate for city mayor in 2013. (Former Comptroller Bill Thompson, who lost to Mayor Mike Bloomberg in November, has already put his hat in the ring, though the Village Voice raised serious questions about his "mirage" race.)

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