Friday, April 23, 2010

DDDB statement: "we wholly and unequivocally support [Goldstein's] decision" and will continue to fight against the project

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn's leadership, without former spokesman and steering committee member Daniel Goldstein, has issued a statement of unequivocal support for Goldstein's decision to reach a settlement regarding property he had already lost by eminent domain.

According to the statement, DDDB is not giving up what has "never been a fair fight."

The statement suggests business as usual:
That's why we will continue to press the fight in court, pursuing the Article 78 lawsuit seeking to compel the Empire State Development Corporation to issue new Determinations and Findings for the Atlantic Yards project, along with the suit seeking to overturn state approval of the Modified General Project Plan, for which we filed a motion to reconsider on April 8th based on clear evidence that the state intentionally omitted critical evidence from the public record. And it's why we will continue to push state and city officials to find the political will to stop or alter the project. And why we'll continue to work with elected leaders like state Senator Bill Perkins to pass legislation that fundamentally protects the rights of home and business owners in New York State from eminent domain abuse.
Still, it remains unclear how DDDB will staff and fund such endeavors.

The longshot Article 78 lawsuit, as I've noted, is weakened by Goldstein's departure, as well as the departure of two other plaintiffs that reached settlements with Forest City Ratner: Peter Williams Enterprises and Freddy's Bar & Backroom. Will the remaining plaintiffs--essentially one couple and one business--stay in?

Note that one Steering Committee member, Scott Turner, moved to Seattle in February.

The statement

The following is a statement from Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn's Board of Directors and Steering Committee:
As many of you know, our colleague, Daniel Goldstein, co-founder and spokesperson for Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, reached an agreement on Wednesday with New York State and Forest City Ratner to vacate his home by May 7th. With little leverage - a state Supreme Court judge had already allowed the state to take title to his home on March 1st - Daniel was forced to relinquish his role as spokesperson for DDDB in order to secure a reasonable settlement for his family. While we are saddened to lose him as a spokesperson, we wholly and unequivocally support his decision.

As Daniel made clear in the statement he issued yesterday, however, he will continue to play a key role with DDDB as we fight on against the Atlantic Yards project, and he refused - at the risk of scuttling the settlement entirely - to agree to the gag order that Forest City Ratner so badly wanted him to accept. And most of you will not know this: over the past 6 years Daniel rejected four attempts by Ratner to get him to drop the two key eminent domain lawsuits on which he was lead plaintiff.

It is impossible for us to adequately express our admiration for, and our gratitude to, Daniel for the incredible work he's done over the past six-and-a-half years on behalf of DDDB and the broad coalition of property owners, tenants and community groups fighting Atlantic Yards. While he has certainly not been alone in this fight, he was the only one among us who owned a home on the spot on which Bruce Ratner wanted to build center court. Without Daniel and his principled desire to stay in his home, this fight would likely have been over long ago. Thanks in large part to Daniel's steadfastness, and to your efforts and financial support, our battle for justice goes on.

While Daniel has played a critical and tireless role, he'd be the first to say that the fight against Atlantic Yards is much, much bigger than Daniel Goldstein, and about so much more than one man trying to save his home. It's about putting a stop to eminent domain abuse, backroom deals, the squandering of public assets, transparency in government and the workings of democracy - and making sure something like Atlantic Yards never, ever happens again, anywhere. The thousands of you who have donated your hard-earned money and your time to DDDB to fight Atlantic Yards have done so to save a neighborhood, and a borough, a city, and a state, from eminent domain abuse and the ugly corruption of public process.

That's why we will continue to press the fight in court, pursuing the Article 78 lawsuit seeking to compel the Empire State Development Corporation to issue new Determinations and Findings for the Atlantic Yards project, along with the suit seeking to overturn state approval of the Modified General Project Plan, for which we filed a motion to reconsider on April 8th based on clear evidence that the state intentionally omitted critical evidence from the public record. And it's why we will continue to push state and city officials to find the political will to stop or alter the project. And why we'll continue to work with elected leaders like state Senator Bill Perkins to pass legislation that fundamentally protects the rights of home and business owners in New York State from eminent domain abuse.

DDDB and Daniel have stood for, and continue to stand for responsible development. We continue to stand by our principles. We have never opposed development and never opposed affordable housing. We have advocated for responsibly developing the rail yards—through a democratic process with real community input—with affordable housing and truly accessible open space. We have fought against the abuse of power that subverted the City's democratic land use review processes, and misused the power of eminent domain that resulted in the taking of Daniel's home and the homes and businesses of many others. It was a misuse of a power that in the past—and in this instance—victimized many, especially people not as fortunate as Daniel to have had the ability to wage a fight against the abuse of that power.

All of us are sick and tired of Bruce Ratner and the ESDC and Atlantic Yards, with good reason. It's never been a fair fight, and the deck has been stacked in Ratner's favor from the very start. But fights worth fighting are worth fighting to the end. Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn is not giving up the fight, Daniel Goldstein isn't giving up the fight, and we know that you're not willing to give up the fight, either. As Daniel wrote yesterday: see you at the next meeting.


DDDB Board of Directors:
Reverend Dennis Dillon
Ruth Goldstein
Jezra Kaye
Bob Law
Ron Shiffman

DDDB Steering Committee:
Candace Carponter
Lucy Koteen
Gloria Mattera
Eric Reschke
Scott Turner

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