Saturday, August 25, 2012

In NY1 debate, Assembly candidate Alabi challenges rival Mosley about Atlantic Yards, but there's more heat than light

Atlantic Yards came up last night in a NY1 debate between 57th District Assembly candidates Walter Mosley and Olanike Alabi, but it generated more heat than light.

It begins at about 7:20 (and excerpted incompletely in Patch, which has broader coverage), when Alabi had a chance to address her rival: "You're also been cited as being on both sides of the Atlantic Yards issue, for and against.... How can we trust you? Where do you stand on Atlantic Yards?"

(Here's some coverage of his positions.)

Mosley responded with a slip at first: “I was the only candidate in this race to support this project--to take a stance on this project. It was a project that dealt with creating affordable [sic] jobs, it was a project that dealt with the issue of housing, as it relates to our middle-class families, our working-class families. Now this project has broken its promises. But I do believe that because I was supportive of it at the very beginning doesn’t mean I gave up my opportunity to be critical of it, and as a result, I understand that these promises that have been broken, as it relates to housing, as it relates to construction jobs, are promises that we're going to fight for as we go forward."

Alabi didn't say anything about Atlantic Yards during the debate, though she has been supportive of the Atlantic Yards opposition, for example showing up at a 2008 walkathon for Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn.

Other issues take precedence

Then again, issues and alliances other than Atlantic Yards, including political and union connections, surely take precedence in this race.

Given Alabi's record, you'd think she'd gain the endorsement of Council Member Letitia James, an Atlantic Yards opponent. But James, who's running for Public Advocate, has endorsed Mosley. Then again, state Senator Velmanette Montgomery supports Alabi.

Mosley has been endorsed by his friend, current Assemblyman and (almost certainly) future Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, who's also had a variable stance on Atlantic Yards. Mosley's also been endorsed by Borough President Marty Markowitz, an AY booster.

What they say about AY

Actually, both candidates seem to be avoiding the opportunity to make concrete statements about the complex issue of Atlantic Yards. There's nothing about Atlantic Yards on Mosley's web site or Alabi's web site.

Alabi's "Issues" page states:
DEVELOPMENT
• Oppose Eminent Domain Abuse.
• Support project-labor agreements and landmark proposals to preserve the character of our neighborhoods.
Note that project-labor agreements have to do with employment. The Local's profile of Alabi reported:
She has issues with the use of eminent domain for the project and is also weary [sic] of the Atlantic Yards Governance Act, legislation intended to ensure oversight of the project through the Atlantic Yards Development Trust.
Mosley's Issues page states:
On Housing
I’ve seen first-hand how residents are being pushed out as the real-estate boom continues to wreak havoc on Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights, and Prospect Heights. Our community has for generations been home to hard working families and as your Assemblymember, I will continue the fight for affordable housing. I will make sure any new development caters to the needs of our residents, and the character of our neighborhoods.
A Mosley campaign flyer stated:
Walter will introduce legislation to guarantee Brooklynites receive their fair share of the jobs created, and shine a spotlight on the need for more oversight as the project continues to develop in Prospect Heights.
I'm not sure legislation can provide that guarantee. As for governance, the actual power of such an entity is up in the air.

More about the debate

The candidates clashed on who had support from Congressman Ed Towns, Mosley's explanation for his purchase of Alabi's domain name, whether scandal-embroiled Kings County Democratic Chair Vito Lopez should resign (Lopez supports Mosley), and more.

The third candidate, Martine Guerrier, was not part of the debate.

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