Monday, November 14, 2011

FUREE, elected officials ask Downtown Brooklyn Partnership to allow community input on search for new president

FUREE (Families United for Racial & Economic Equality), along with State Senators Velmanette Montgomery and Joe Lentol, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, and City Council Member Letitia James (but not Steve Levin), has sent a cordial letter requesting community input in the search for the new president of the private-public Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP):
The development model advanced under the previous leadership of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership often appeared to prioritize maximizing investment returns for developers over maximizing community benefits like affordable housing or the creation of living wage jobs for area residents. Over the past 5 years since the DBP’s inception, we’ve witnessed the loss of over 100 local small businesses and a dramatic rise in luxury housing, high-end hotels, and an emphasis on attracting large national chain stores to Downtown Brooklyn. While there have also been definite neighborhood improvements, overall the $3.4 billion of private and $200 million in public investment have not resulted in the kinds of community enhancements many long-time residents and small business owners rightfully expected.
With these concerns in mind, we propose that the board of the DBP include at least one community representative on the search committee for its new president and that top candidates be given the opportunity to share their vision for our neighborhood with the community before a new president is chosen. These steps could help strengthen the DBP’s relationship with neighborhood stakeholders and advance a more transparent and inclusive development model for the area.
We also reiterate our support for FUREE’s policy recommendations around jobs and fair development delivered to the DBP this past July 27th, 2011 and hope that they will beOne  incorporated into the vision of the DBP.
Asking for one community representatives and some public discussion are fairly modest demands.

Ball in the DBP's court

Let's see if there's any response from the DBP, which receives private and city funds (and has been a reliable booster of Atlantic Yards, thanks in part to the influence of Forest City Ratner).

The position opened up after Joe Chan left for a job at Empire State Development. According to Crain's New York Business:
DOWNSIDE Dealing with political pressures from various stakeholders, constituencies and city agencies

UPSIDE Shaping the future of an emerging retail, residential and business community

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