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Atlantic Yards bitterness, take 2: the Bertha Lewis diatribe against DDDB's Goldstein

Bertha Lewis, Forest City Ratner's partner in the Atlantic Yards affordable housing agreement, on Wednesday night "unleashed a vitriolic diatribe against Mr. [Daniel] Goldstein, the public face of opposition group Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, painting him as an obstructionist who masked self-interest with local activism," to quote Eliot Brown in the Observer.

It's a far cry from the tame excerpt quoted in the New York Times today.

There's a thread of logic--Goldstein will continue to be asked, even by some Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn supporters, whether he'll contribute some of his seemingly generous settlement to the larger cause he has represented. And until he does that, he'll be vulnerable to criticism that he was representing only himself. (Others, of course, don't question his decision.)

Credibility questions

But Lewis is hardly credible in claiming she represents "low and moderate income people" (perhaps 40% of the subsidized AY housing would be market-rate) or that DDDB's opposition obstructed affordable housing (affordable housing depends on subsidies, and there were long problems with volume cap).

She's silent on the Development Agreement, which provides ample opportunity for delays in subsidized housing, thanks to an Affordable Housing Subsidy Unavailability.

She doesn't acknowledge that she's contractually obligated to support the project.

And she doesn't acknowledge that, when ACORN was reeling from an embezzlement scandal, Forest City Ratner bailed it out with a $1.5 million grant/loan.

Put those aside, as well as a few typos and some unusually personal rhetoric, and Lewis can be taken seriously.

(Goldstein's response, in part: "And it is really a shame that supposed housing advocate does not care one bit about the abuse of eminent domain.")

Lewis's statement
Finally, the itch that was Daniel Goldstein has been scratched and scratched out. After almost seven years of flawed strategies, smear campaigns, stupid tactics, disingenuous rhetoric and total disregard for people who have lived in the downtown Brooklyn community for years before he even thought about coming here; finally he got what he really wanted. A Deal. Not for the community he claimed to love so much, but for the only beneficiary of his community of one, himself, Double Dealing Danny Goldstein. How utterly despicable for him to be in the newspaper today whining that he did not have enough time to move, and had nowhere to go because he was being stiffed by the State and Forest City Ratner, when low and behold, all the time, he was negotiating, not for the community , but for himself. Well good riddance and don't let the door hit ya'. Low and moderate income people have had to wait years for housing while he obstructed the Atlantic Yards Project that could have been well over half done by now. He never had to worry about housing so he did'nt care how long other people had to wait. Behold, the Gentrifier. He has slandered and denigrated not only me but my organization and my members relentlessly. What benefit has he delivered to the community? None except for his own pocket. Well, the housing at Atlantic Yards will be built, and the day after he moves out, which I hope will be sooner rather than later, the building that he squatted in these past years should be razed to ground immediately, and salt poured into the soil, so that never again can the likes of one of the biggest shakedown artists in Brooklyn return. We will still be here, we will still be fighting for the all the people that Danny spurned and used for his own enrichment. We hope that now everyone in Brooklyn and New York can see him for what he really is and can see what his actions cost Brooklyn. I hope whatever he settled for was worth the pain and misery he caused to so many people who just wanted a decent place to live in Brooklyn and who just wanted a decent job and a place for their family. Now that the flim flam man is gone, they can finally see it on the horizon.


  1. Is Lewis troubled that Daniel settled, or that he received fair compensation?

    Would she have respected Daniel more if he had been handcuffed in front of his daughter and carried out of the building, and paid next to nothing?

    Why isn't Lewis upset that Bruce bought out Rent Stabilized tenancies for $30,000 - $80,000.00?

    Lewis' despicable, ignorant and cowardly rant will not build one more unit of affordable housing.

    Dan Goldstein introduced the word democracy to the Atlantic Yards Project. Bertha Lewis and her deals can't survive in an open and democratic environment.

  2. Daniel Goldstein has a lot to be proud about that Ms. Lewis doesn’t. For one thing, Daniel didn’t sell his first amendment rights to Forest City Ratner: As this post notes, Ms. Lewis did precisely that. Daniel can say whatever he honestly thinks about Forest City Ratner or about Ms. Lewis. Ms. Lewis contracted away her right to say anything critical about Forest City Ratner or to urge a better, corrected or amended project. It is not clear she even has the right to say positive things about Daniel. She may find all this rankling inside her contractually confining cage. For more about how she signed away her right to defend the community see the two links at the end of this comment.

    Next, Daniel didn’t sell out the community and shill for Forest City Ratner’s plan to do only the bare bones minimum that the tax code requires combined with what for economic reasons the market would pretty much dictate that Forest City Ratner would pretty much do anyway in terms of renting apartments. Ms. Lewis did essentially that: Bottom line, she negotiated for the community to get nothing at all. Mr. Goldstein fought for and achieved a lot for the community and it is very important that he, unlike Ms. Lewis, can still be a voice to criticize Ratner on the community’s behalf to achieve more. BTW: Had Mr. Goldstein been able to get an even higher price for his apartment from Ratner it would have been that much better for the community because keeping the price paid high is what it takes to make eminent domain abuse less attractive.

    Saturday, June 28, 2008

    Thursday, July 24, 2008


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