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CBs say Ratner "overstates our participation" in Community Benefits Agreement

The three Community Boards around the proposed Atlantic Yards site footprint are not happy with Forest City Ratner, which has been claiming that the CBs participated in crafting the "historic" Community Benefits Agreement.

A new brochure from the developer states, "Three local community boards (CBs 2, 6, 8)... served as advisors in crafting the CBA." A similar statement appears in an 4/6/06 email newsletter from the developer.

Responding to the newsletter claim, the chairpersons of the three CBs sent a letter dated 5/1/06 to FCR President & CEO Bruce Ratner:
We are writing to express our belief that this statement overstates our participation. As you may or may not be aware, we were invited to play a limited role that ended months before the agreement was signed when some eventual signatories barred us from attending the working sessions. Furthermore, we were not given the opportunity to review a final draft of the document despite assurances from Mr. James P. Stuckey, in a letter dated March 23, 2005 to Community Board 2, that FCRC intended to do so.

Given the very limited role played by the three community boards in crafting the CBA and FCRC's overstatement of that fact, we are requesting that you discontinue all mention, in any form, of our participation.


The letter was signed by CB2 Chair Shirley McRae, CB6 Chair Jerry Armer, and CB8 Chair Robert Matthews. It was distributed to several local elected officials, as well as FCR VP Stuckey. (I had asked one of the CBs if they had a comment on the new brochure, and was sent a copy of the letter.)

Bill Batson, chair of CB8’s Atlantic Yards EIS Subcommittee and current candidate for State Assembly, previously commented on the developer's claim:
From my intimate knowledge, in the process, that claim is false. I know that no member of the community board saw the CBA before it was announced publicly. There was an effort to circulate an early draft. It was poorly Xeroxed, blank paper without letterhead. It had just been sent over without any explanation. We got no one to answer questions, and a document that was, quite frankly, insulting.

Comments

  1. The Community has not spoken. The CHAIRS of the Comunity Boards DO NOT SPEAK FOR THE COMMUNITY. Demographics speak to Community! Community Board elections, especially in this region, have NEVER TRULY REFLECTED THE HEARTS MINDS AND ASPIRATIONS of the majority of OUR COMMUNITY!

    "Given the very limited role played by the three community boards in crafting the CBA and FCRC's overstatement of that fact, we are requesting that you discontinue all mention, in any form, of our participation." This statement is a reflection of BUSINESS AS USUAL!

    Although the excerpt above and the letter was signed by CB2 Chair Shirley McRae, CB6 Chair Jerry Armer, and CB8 Chair Robert Matthews, this letter does NOT reflect the participation of the COMMUNITY. I have been a resident, member, neighbor, and community advocate of this Brooklyn arena for MORE THAN 40 years. CB2 Chair Shirley McRae, CB6 Chair Jerry Armer, and CB8 Chair Robert Matthews do not speak for ME.

    I support the HISTORIC CBA, which includes an UNPRECEDENTED agreement to dedicate 50% of the FCRC's Atlantic Yards Residential Units to the community. The Community Boards have done little to ensure that ALL DEMOGRAPHICS of this city remain a vital part of the community's development - I speak from experience - and I AGAIN state that these CB Chairs do NOT speak for the majority of our fair city. I challenge them to prove otherwise!

    Let's do what's RIGHT for our families, our community, our city, and our nation. If the government has relegated the future of our city to the private sector, then our community MUST partner with private developers who have the community's interests at heart.

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