Monday, July 15, 2013

NYT columnist Keller's generous take on Bloomberg: "occasionally putting too much faith in developers" (how about "Get [Atlantic Yards] done no matter what")

From New York Times op-ed columnist (and former Editor-in-Chief) Bill Keller, in The Bloomberg Legacy
He rezoned not just plots but neighborhoods — a quarter of the city! — promoting growth in transit-rich areas, sustaining local character elsewhere, occasionally putting too much faith in developers but generally imposing order on chaos. 
That's a pretty generous description of Bloomberg's posture toward Atlantic Yards, as described by developer Bruce Ratner:
"As a matter of fact, I remember a day in 2003, in June, I went in to see the mayor to present our project, and he stood there, he looked at it"--Ratner waved his hand as if scanning the room--"he had all the deputies around, he just looked at it and he said, after a while"--Ratner waved decisively--"I want to get it done. And he used a certain extuperative [sic] and said, Get it done no matter what." (I think Ratner meant "expletive.")
And remember that, at a June 2005 ceremony, as captured in the documentary Battle for Brooklyn, Mayor Mike Bloomberg imperiously dismissed questions about promised housing and jobs in the questionable Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement (CBA): “I would add something else that’s even more important. You have Bruce Ratner’s word, and that should be enough."

Four years later, Bloomberg changed his tune. “I’m violently opposed to Community Benefits Agreements,” Bloomberg told The Brooklyn Paper in August 2009. “A small group.”

The CBA has not exactly worked out well. Ratner hasn't even hired the promised Independent Compliance Monitor that was supposed to report on the fulfillment of obligations.

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