Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Hagan testimony on Draft SEIS: "I'm here to share my cynicism about the whole... charade"

Prospect Heights activist Patti Hagan, the first person to protest the nascent Atlantic Yards project in July 2003 before it was announced, shared her testimony on the Draft Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement, which she was unable to give in person.

Some excerpts:
Understanding that this is yet another futile exercise in unaccountable government, I’m here to share my cynicism about the whole ESD/Ratner/Prokhorov/Chinese Communist Gov. charade.
Of course you don’t want to hear from me or anyone else in this community -- it’s just that the court has forced this “hearing,” has forced you to sit and “listen” to hoi polloi kvetch. Of course you’ve already Greenlighted Ratner’s Way, pretending to hold him to account, going along with his endless stream of promises, endlessly broken....
You’re not the only official association playing along with Ratner, playing along with political correctness. The august Municipal Art Society has bestowed its Jackie Onassis Medal on him and selected the rusty turtle -- d/b/a Barclays Arena -- “Best Neighborhood Catalyst.” Declared award-winning developer Ratner in 2007: “We are seeking out every possible way to make Atlantic Yards as eco-friendly as possible.” Forest City Ratner Companies followed up the Chief’s words in a CYA (cover-your-ass) footnote: “SAFE HARBOR LANGUAGE” ** particularizing Ratner’s statements as “important to [understand] the Company’s actual results could differ materially from those projected in such forward-looking statements.” FCR might have inadvertently told the truth for the first time with the second statement.
Fast forward-looking to 2014 & FCR Sr. VP Ashley Cotton’s “Dear Community Members” letter that claims “We have worked hard to be responsive to community concerns and inquiries throughout this lengthy process. This will continue throughout the build out of Atlantic Yards. We are a part of this community and will always work to be Good Neighbors.”

We beg to differ. Good Neighbors do not proclaim themselves the accountable developer of Atlantic Yards, a high-rise city imposed on the lowrise Prospect Heights Historic District -- only to metamorphose into the “minority developer” by selling US Citizenship via EB-5 Green Card sales to the ruthlessly unaccountable Chinese Communists. Good Neighbors do not threaten people out of their homes and pulverize Landmark buildings. Good Neighbors do not deliver acres of blight where homes and businesses once flourished, grab subsidies, go broke, and turn their grub stake over to the ruthlessly unaccountable Chinese Communist Government, which, by the magic of cultural correctness, becomes both majority & minority developer! Good Neighbors do not engage in government-sanctioned ESD-OKed Eminent Domain Abuse, a tried-&-true government technique for stealing private property popular in Communist China & Russia. Good Neighbors do not throw Americans out and put Chinese and Russians in. Good Neighbors do not engage in the Culture of Cheating, also popular in Communist China and Russia. Good Neighbors do not lie relentlessly about AY environmental impacts and secret decades-extended build-outs. Good Neighbors do not use race-baiting to alienate neighbors from one another. Good Neighbors do not set up and bankroll phoney “community groups” of minorities to stand in the back and smile in photo-ops with Caucasian Bruce Ratner. Good Neighbors don’t compose phoney “Community Benefits Agreements” to be signed by the smiling phoney community groups. Good Neighbors do not cross their fingers and promise these AY minorities thousands of jobs, jobs training, thousands of affordable apartments. Good Neighbors do not take the MTA for a cheap ride, get the Authority to practically give away the Vanderbilt Yards: Almost nothing down and an eternity to pay.
Though Hagan expressed hope the U.S. Treasury Department would reject Forest City Ratner's effort to sell 70% of the project going forward to the Chinese government-owned Greenland Group, it has already given its OK, given that its review is limited to security issues.

She ended by wondering if " the cash-strapped MTA can take a forward-looking leaf from the Ratner playbook: start selling EB-5 Green Cards/US Citizenship, too."

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