Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The NYC Power 100 and Atlantic Yards: many intersections (and Ratner behind Markowitz?)

City and State just published its list of the 100 most powerful people in New York City politics, and it's inevitable that many, many of them have touched on the Atlantic Yards project--at least one-third, by my count.

Some of the rankings are understandably debatable--Bruce Ratner is less powerful than Marty Markowitz!--but these efforts are inevitably imperfect.

Given the brief annotations, there's little room for any skepticism. Ratner gets described as such:
59. Bruce Ratner
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Forest City Ratner Companies
Ratner is a former city commissioner and one of the city’s leading developers, with a new arena in Brooklyn—now home of a professional sports team and another one coming soon—at his Atlantic Yards development.
All true, and yet there's so much more to say. In fact, even the New York Times belatedly pointed to his "reputation for promising anything to get a deal, only to renegotiate relentlessly for more favorable terms."

The names, and my annotations:

1) Mayor Mike Bloomberg; vigorous AY supporter
2) Gov. Andrew Cuomo; quieter but steady AY supporter, receiver of Bruce Ratner campaign cash
3) Council Speaker Christine Quinn; AY supporter; never green-lighted an oversight hearing regarding the project
4) Sen. Chuck Schumer; steady, sometimes vocal AY supporter
5) Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver; steady, crucial AY supporter
12) Attorney General Eric Schneiderman; recipient of Bruce Ratner campaign cash; quiet about AY
15) Daily News publisher and developer Mort Zuckerman; over-the-top AY supporter (via his paper), partner on Barclays Center plaza
17) Working Families Party Executive Director Dan Cantor; officially neutral on AY, but likely neutralized from criticism due to ties with ACORN
19) Partnership for NYC CEO Kathryn Wylde; the voice of the business community, steady supporter of AY
23) SKDKnickerbocker Managing Director Jennifer Cunningham; company has worked for Forest City on its brochures
27) NYC Economic Development Corporation President Seth Pinsky; strong supporter of AY, partner with Forest City
28) Public Advocate Bill de Blasio; steady supporter of AY; incapable of skepticism about the Community Benefits Agreement
29) NYC Council Finance Chair Dominic Recchia; AY supporter
37) NY Times Metro Editor Carolyn Ryan; responsible for coverage that's all over the map
38) NYC OMB Director Mark Page; carried Bloomberg's water in urging acceptance of 2009 MTA deal revision
40) Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz; AY's biggest cheerleader
42) NYC Department of City Planning Director Amanda Burden; AY supporter; may have been responsible for getting rendering leaked that led to SHoP being hired
43) Court of Appeals Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman; wrote decision upholding eminent domain for AY, left out inconvenient facts
45) NY1 Inside City Hall host Errol Louis; at Daily News, was vocal AY supporter
54) Real Estate Board of NY President Steven Spinola; AY supporter
58) NYC Department of Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri; supports modular construction for AY and beyond
59) AY developer Bruce Ratner
60) Kasirer Consulting President Suri Kasirer; firm works for AY developer
64) Assemblyman and Congressman-elect Hakeem Jeffries; on and around AY fence
65) Former City Comptroller and Mayoral candidate Bill Thompson; AY supporter, though vague
71) Assemblyman and former Brooklyn Democratic Chair Vito Lopez; managed legislation to ensure tax breaks for AY housing
72) Senate Minority Leader John Sampson; had campaign fundraiser at Ratner offices
73) Met Council on Jewish Poverty Executive Director William Rapfogel; wife Judy is Silver's chief of stuff; son Michael works for Forest City
75) Former lieutenant governor Richard Ravitch; neutralized on AY because son Joseph worked on deal to sell Nets to Mikhail Prokhorov
77) Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert Steel; by virtue of office, AY supporter
84) NYC Building Congress President Richard Anderson; AY supporter
86) Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater NY President Gary LaBarbera; AY supporter; made deal for modular factory with lower union pay
89) National Action Network Founder Al Sharpton; Orwellian AY supporter

Update: more from Michael D. D. White

In his Noticing New York blog  Michael D.D. White adds several more Atlantic Yards connections to the list, some a bit more detached, some I definitely should have included, such as:
92. Martin Golden- State Senator Golden is one of very few Republican state senators in the city and a close ally of Bloomberg and unions. (And he conspicuously testified in support of Atlantic Yards at hearings.)
34. Thomas DiNapoli, State Comptroller. (DiNapoli has the power and obligation to investigate misconduct at state public authorities and has not exercised it with respect to the excess and improprieties respecting Atlantic Yards. DiNapoli also do not insist, as he could have, that Atlantic Yards receive no state financing without a new approval of the altered mega-project by the Public Authorities Control Board, which approval his office must bless.)
 31. Patrick Foye- Executive Director, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (Foye was previously in charge of the Empire State Development Corporation, the state agency agency theoretically in charge of Atlantic Yards during an important period when it continued to advance.)
26. Joseph Lhota- Chairman and CEO, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Lhota was recently interviewed and featured in a Daily News article about the opening of the so-called Barclays Center, supplying quotes that helped create the misimpression that Forest City Ratner was supplying the public with free subway station improvements. As noted by Mr. Oder the Daily News is partnering with Ratner and Prokhorov in the arena.)
6. Patricia Harris- First Deputy Mayor (Not only does Ms. Harris, as noted above, oversee the handing out of Bloomberg charity with political strings attached; she also oversees the city Landmarks Commission. All indications are that Ms. Harris had a hand in signing the death sentence for Ward Bakery- to clear the site for Ratner and improve the odds of approvals he needed- when she and Mayor Bloomberg met with Bruce Ratner in a meeting that bore evidence of a quid pro quo arrangement of contributions to Bloomberg charities in exchange for project approvals.)














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