Saturday, November 02, 2013

Atlantic Yards: not quite a left-right issue, as Lhota's criticism diverges from fellow Republican Golden's support for the project

Remember the very, very strange experience of watching left-wing organizer Bertha Lewis and right-wing Republican state Senator Marty Golden together championing Atlantic Yards, at this 7/29/09 hearing?

Well, Republican commenter Galewyn Massey (a pseudonym, I suspect) pointed out another irony, writing 10/29/13:
Did the Republican-Conservative Candidate for Mayor Joseph Lhota clear his Atlantic Yards attack against [Democratic nominee Bill] deBlasio with his strongest GOP supporter in Brooklyn, State Senator Martin Golden ?
One of the headlines: “Lhota Says Developers Have ‘Bought’ de Blasio’s Silence on Atlantic Yards” — Another: “De Blasio ‘ignoring’ affordable-housing delays because pal is in charge” — Still another: “Joe Lhota slams Bill de Blasio over being quiet on affordable housing in Atlantic Yards”

Isn’t it somewhat hypocritical that one of Lhota’s biggest supporters, Marty Golden, was similarly “Bought” by Forest City Ratner, the developer of the Atlantic Yards ? — AND the Bill of Sale for Golden obviously was for more than “Silence” about the whole Atlantic Yards project
Massey pointed to several reporters, including this one, failing to make this connection:
What Oder, Smith, Barkan, Lamire, Gonen and DeFalco, and apparently even Joe Lhota himself, obviously missed was that Lhota’s biggest supporter in Brooklyn, State Senator Martin Golden, is completely locked into Bruce Ratner and the Forest City Ratner project to develop the Atlantic and Vanderbilt Avenue Yards adjacent to the Long Island Railroad Depot near the intersection of Atlantic, Flatbush, 4th and Flatbush Avenues. Several of those reporters, especially Mr. Oder, have reported on the Golden connection several times themselves. Over the last few years both Golden and his adversaries have made a very big deal about Golden’s support of the mammoth project ( Remember Golden shouting, “Jobs, baby, jobs....” at the “Acorn” rally ? )
Several questions immediately suggest themselves – Did Lhota really not know about the Golden connection to Ratner and the Atlantic Yards project ? If Lhota did know about the Golden connection, why did he think it wasn’t going to come up and boomerang on his own campaign – doesn’t the Golden-Ratner connection make the Lhota Atlantic Yards attack on deBlasio look at least a little hypocritical ? Did Marty Golden or his staff know that Lhota was going to do his PR stunt at the Barclay Center – after all it was a Brooklyn event, and wouldn’t Golden’s Chief of Staff, Jerry Kassar, know about it in his capacity as Brooklyn Conservative Party Chairman ?
Trying for an assessment

It's fair to point out the ironies. As I've suggested, Atlantic Yards is less a left-right issue than one of good government and accountability. 

Did Lhota clear his statement with Golden? Unlikely. 

Does it make a difference? Lhota's so far behind it doesn't. 

Does Lhota have a streak of independent thinking? Sure. 

Is Lhota consistent in his criticism of corporate deals? No. (See MSG tax break.)

Could Lhota pursue more accountability than Bill de Blasio? Perhaps, but it's not likely will see him get a chance.

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