Wednesday, February 03, 2010

CNG Watch: Coverage of the Atlantic Yards condemnation hearing is 1) absent and 2) secondhand

Can we depend on the two major weeklies in Brooklyn to cover Atlantic Yards carefully? Nope.

In the Brooklyn Paper

The Brooklyn Paper actually sent a reporter to the condemnation hearing last Friday. But no article has appeared yet, either about the hearing itself--which put the condemnation on hold, news even for the Times--or the confusion regarding street closings.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Paper has informed us about possible dormitories in Red Hook, a new new sex toy shop in Williamsburg, and a green gym in Bushwick.

In the Courier-Life

The Courier-Life didn't send a reporter, but today offers us this news brief, headlined Judge studies AY condemnation papers, almost certainly penned by the notorious Stephen Witt:
State Supreme Court Judge Abraham G. Gerges last week delayed a final approval ruling for the state’s planned seizure of property to make way for the $4-plus billion Atlantic Yards project.

Gerges told lawyers for both property owners and the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) that he will look over all the submitted papers and documents and rule “expeditiously.”

Sources closes to the project said the ruling should come within two weeks.

The project includes the Barclays Center Arena that would bring the borough the NBAs Nets.

Upon final build out, it also includes thousands of units of both market rate and affordable housing.

The project will also bring thousands of jobs at a time when unemployment in the borough is over 11 percent.

Opponents of the project argue that the seizure of the property is to the benefit of private developer, Forest City Ratner.

The court hearing came as several streets were expected to close last week around the Flatbush/Atlantic Avenues intersection to accommodate ongoing construction of the project.

ESDC told the judge that it would delay closing the street until the matter is settled.
(Emphases added)

Why do I attribute it to Witt? Because he previously has cited unnamed "sources" close to the project.

He's careless enough to ignore the confusion over the street closings and to write generalities about the "thousands of jobs" it might bring.

And he's sloppy enough to write "closes" and to rely on a boilerplate description of the opponents' argument.

Actually, the argument raised in court Friday by potential condemnees was less that the project benefits Forest City Ratner but that the benefits, as described by the Empire State Development Corporation, had changed so much that the eminent domain findings from 2006 were no longer valid.

Also see Eric McClure's comment on NoLandGrab: Funny, we don't recall seeing a Courier-Life reporter in the court room. Perhaps one of the folks sporting "Jobs, Housing & Hoops" buttons was working as a stringer.

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