Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Yes, Atlantic Yards is a (small) part of the race to succeed Rep. Towns

Yes, Atlantic Yards popped up yesterday as a small factor in the 8th Congressional District race to succeed Rep. Ed Towns, who has endorsed (despite their differences) relative underdog and radical Council Member Charles Barron against the better-funded, more widely endorsed, and more mainstream fellow Democrat, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries.

From NY 1:
In the debate that was moderated by NY1 Political Anchor Errol Louis, Barron accused Jeffries of changing his position on several key issues in the community, including the Atlantic Yards development.

Barron: “Why should we trust you? You flip-flop on Atlantic Yards. You flip-flop on charter schools so you can get money from the hedge funds. So…why should we trust, if you do all this flip-flopping…why should we trust you when you go to Congress?”

Jeffries: “You have no evidence that I’ve flip-flopped on any of those issues. In fact, this is just another example of the reckless type of charges that you have been making for the last 10 years on a wide variety of people from President Obama to Governor David Paterson on down.”
Well, I wouldn't say that Jeffries has flip-flopped on Atlantic Yards, but he has muddled about the center, early on more positive than not, these days more negative than not.

Barron has been a staunch opponent, despite his longstanding ties (former Chief of Staff to the National Black United Front Daughtry headed) to the Rev. Herbert Daughtry, a prominent project supporter and signatory of the much-criticized Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement.

And, despite Jeffries' response, on the NY 1 clip you can see him blinking uncomfortably at Barron's charges. Then again, presumably Jeffries could get Barron on the defense by bringing up the latter's curious support of strongmen Robert Mugabe and Moammer Qadaffi.

In Fort Greene

Last night in Fort Greene, the Fort Greene Association sponsored a not-quite-debate, as Jeffries (and media sponsor The Local) dropped out when the FGA agreed to add Green Party candidate Colin Beavan and Republican Alan Bellone.

The Local's Gersh Kuntzman has a report on the event, which ranged well beyond questions within the purview of local Congressman.

I'll add that both Beavan and Barron took swipes at Atlantic Yards. Barron likened the Barclays Center arena to two new stadium built with public assistance and said "they should've never built the Nets and arena here." Later, he added, "We should continue to fight against it, even when they finish it."

Republican Bellone, who as Kuntzman pointed out doesn't sound too Republican, moved on to a new topic when it was his turn to answer a not very on-point question about how the arena would "create jobs."

Here's Patch's live blog.

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