Thursday, February 25, 2010

Brooklyn Paper FOIL request on arena security generates one (redacted) email exchange from ESDC; that day, the setbacks issue was in the news

In an article headlined Deadly silence? Officials have had one e-mail exchange over Yards security, the Brooklyn Paper looked into the Empire State Development Corporation's unlikely claim that "its officials have had just one e-mail exchange over security outside the proposed 18,000-seat arena."

And the one document the newspaper did receive was an 11/13/07 exchange of two email messages, with all text redacted.

Now it's plausible that the ESDC hasn't made security a priority, since it's the job of the New York Police Department (NYPD), which has been meeting with the developer. But it's hard to believe that there was only one email exchange.

And that exchange captured in the FOIL request was not a communication with the NYPD. Rather, it was an internal communication.

What was on their mind?

Could they have been discussing my post that day, headlined State secret? ESDC stonewalls on arena setbacks, but graphics hint building's near street?

I noted that the ESDC was unwilling to offer some basic information: how far would the arena be from the street?

I pointed out that, despite the arguments for secrecy, there was a difference between security measures and architectural plans that show the distance from a building to the street, information that eventually would be disclosed.

And, I noted, the ESDC or the developer could have put the setbacks issue to rest, but they didn't. It was just a few days later that we learned that the situation in Brooklyn was much like that in Newark, where police had begun closing the streets bordering the new Prudential Center arena.

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