Skip to main content

Atlantic Yards bitterness, take 2: the Bertha Lewis diatribe against DDDB's Goldstein

Bertha Lewis, Forest City Ratner's partner in the Atlantic Yards affordable housing agreement, on Wednesday night "unleashed a vitriolic diatribe against Mr. [Daniel] Goldstein, the public face of opposition group Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, painting him as an obstructionist who masked self-interest with local activism," to quote Eliot Brown in the Observer.

It's a far cry from the tame excerpt quoted in the New York Times today.

There's a thread of logic--Goldstein will continue to be asked, even by some Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn supporters, whether he'll contribute some of his seemingly generous settlement to the larger cause he has represented. And until he does that, he'll be vulnerable to criticism that he was representing only himself. (Others, of course, don't question his decision.)

Credibility questions

But Lewis is hardly credible in claiming she represents "low and moderate income people" (perhaps 40% of the subsidized AY housing would be market-rate) or that DDDB's opposition obstructed affordable housing (affordable housing depends on subsidies, and there were long problems with volume cap).

She's silent on the Development Agreement, which provides ample opportunity for delays in subsidized housing, thanks to an Affordable Housing Subsidy Unavailability.

She doesn't acknowledge that she's contractually obligated to support the project.

And she doesn't acknowledge that, when ACORN was reeling from an embezzlement scandal, Forest City Ratner bailed it out with a $1.5 million grant/loan.

Put those aside, as well as a few typos and some unusually personal rhetoric, and Lewis can be taken seriously.

(Goldstein's response, in part: "And it is really a shame that supposed housing advocate does not care one bit about the abuse of eminent domain.")

Lewis's statement
Finally, the itch that was Daniel Goldstein has been scratched and scratched out. After almost seven years of flawed strategies, smear campaigns, stupid tactics, disingenuous rhetoric and total disregard for people who have lived in the downtown Brooklyn community for years before he even thought about coming here; finally he got what he really wanted. A Deal. Not for the community he claimed to love so much, but for the only beneficiary of his community of one, himself, Double Dealing Danny Goldstein. How utterly despicable for him to be in the newspaper today whining that he did not have enough time to move, and had nowhere to go because he was being stiffed by the State and Forest City Ratner, when low and behold, all the time, he was negotiating, not for the community , but for himself. Well good riddance and don't let the door hit ya'. Low and moderate income people have had to wait years for housing while he obstructed the Atlantic Yards Project that could have been well over half done by now. He never had to worry about housing so he did'nt care how long other people had to wait. Behold, the Gentrifier. He has slandered and denigrated not only me but my organization and my members relentlessly. What benefit has he delivered to the community? None except for his own pocket. Well, the housing at Atlantic Yards will be built, and the day after he moves out, which I hope will be sooner rather than later, the building that he squatted in these past years should be razed to ground immediately, and salt poured into the soil, so that never again can the likes of one of the biggest shakedown artists in Brooklyn return. We will still be here, we will still be fighting for the all the people that Danny spurned and used for his own enrichment. We hope that now everyone in Brooklyn and New York can see him for what he really is and can see what his actions cost Brooklyn. I hope whatever he settled for was worth the pain and misery he caused to so many people who just wanted a decent place to live in Brooklyn and who just wanted a decent job and a place for their family. Now that the flim flam man is gone, they can finally see it on the horizon.


  1. Is Lewis troubled that Daniel settled, or that he received fair compensation?

    Would she have respected Daniel more if he had been handcuffed in front of his daughter and carried out of the building, and paid next to nothing?

    Why isn't Lewis upset that Bruce bought out Rent Stabilized tenancies for $30,000 - $80,000.00?

    Lewis' despicable, ignorant and cowardly rant will not build one more unit of affordable housing.

    Dan Goldstein introduced the word democracy to the Atlantic Yards Project. Bertha Lewis and her deals can't survive in an open and democratic environment.

  2. Daniel Goldstein has a lot to be proud about that Ms. Lewis doesn’t. For one thing, Daniel didn’t sell his first amendment rights to Forest City Ratner: As this post notes, Ms. Lewis did precisely that. Daniel can say whatever he honestly thinks about Forest City Ratner or about Ms. Lewis. Ms. Lewis contracted away her right to say anything critical about Forest City Ratner or to urge a better, corrected or amended project. It is not clear she even has the right to say positive things about Daniel. She may find all this rankling inside her contractually confining cage. For more about how she signed away her right to defend the community see the two links at the end of this comment.

    Next, Daniel didn’t sell out the community and shill for Forest City Ratner’s plan to do only the bare bones minimum that the tax code requires combined with what for economic reasons the market would pretty much dictate that Forest City Ratner would pretty much do anyway in terms of renting apartments. Ms. Lewis did essentially that: Bottom line, she negotiated for the community to get nothing at all. Mr. Goldstein fought for and achieved a lot for the community and it is very important that he, unlike Ms. Lewis, can still be a voice to criticize Ratner on the community’s behalf to achieve more. BTW: Had Mr. Goldstein been able to get an even higher price for his apartment from Ratner it would have been that much better for the community because keeping the price paid high is what it takes to make eminent domain abuse less attractive.

    Saturday, June 28, 2008

    Thursday, July 24, 2008


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

No, security guards can't ban photos. Questions remain about visibility of ID/sticker system.

The bi-monthly Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Community Update meeting June 14, held at 55 Hanson Place, addressed multiple issues, including delays in the project, a new detente with project neighbors,concerns about traffic congestion, upcoming sewer work and demolitions, and an explanation of how high winds caused debris to fly off the under-construction 38 Sixth Avenue building. I'll have more coverage.
Security issues came up several times at the meeting.
Wayne Bailey, a resident who regularly takes photos and videos (that I often use) of construction/operations issues that impact residents, asked representatives of Tishman Construction if the security guard at the sites they're building works for them.
After Tishman Senior VP Eric Reid said yes, Bailey asked why a guard told him not to shoot video of the site, even though he was on a public street.

"I will address it with principals for that security firm," Reid said.
Forest City Ratner executive Ashley Cotton, the …

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what might be coming + FAQ (post-dated pinned post)

This graphic, posted in February 2018, is post-dated to stay at the top of the blog. It will be updated as announced configurations change and buildings launch. Note the unbuilt B1 and the proposed--but not yet approved--shift in bulk to the unbuilt Site 5.

The August 2014 tentative configurations proposed by developer Greenland Forest City Partners will change. The project is already well behind that tentative timetable.

How many people are expected?

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park has a projected 6,430 apartments housing 2.1 persons per unit (as per Chapter 4 of the 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement), which would mean 13,503 new residents, with 1,890 among them in low-income affordable rentals, and 2,835 in moderate- and middle-income affordable rentals.

That leaves 8,778 people in market-rate rentals and condos, though let's call it 8,358 after subtracting 420 who may live in 200 promised below-market condos. So that's 5,145 in below-market units, though many of them won…

The passing of David Sheets, Dean Street renter, former Freddy's bartender, eminent domain plaintiff, and singular personality

David Sheets, longtime Dean Street renter, Freddy's bartender, eminent domain plaintiff, and singular personality, died 1/17/18 in HCA Greenview Hospital in Bowling Green, KY. He was 56.

There are obituary notices in the Bowling Green Daily News and the Wichita Eagle, which state:
He was born in Wichita, KS where he attended public Schools and Wichita State University. He lived for many years in Brooklyn, NY, and was employed as a legal assistant. David's hobby was cartography and had an avid interest in Mass Transit Systems of the world. David was predeceased by his father, Kenneth E. Sheets. He is survived by his mother, Wilma Smith, step-brother, Billy Ray Smith and his wife, Jane all of Bowling Green; step-sister, Ellen Smith Alexander and her husband, Jerry of Bella Vista, AR; several cousins and step-nieces and step-nephews also survive. Memorial Services will be on Monday, January 22, 2018 at 1:00 pm with visitation from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm Monday at Johnson-Vaughn-Phe…

Some skepticism on Belmont hockey deal: lease value seems far below Aqueduct racino; unclear (but large?) cost for LIRR service

As I wrote for The Bridge 12/20/1, The Islanders Say Bye to Brooklyn, But Where Next?, the press conference announcing a new arena at Belmont Park for the New York Islanders was "long on pomp... but short on specifics."

Notably, a lease valued at $40 million "upfront to lease up to 43 acres over 49 years... seems like a good deal on rent for the state-controlled property." Also, the Long Island Rail Road will expand service to Belmont.

That indicates public support for an arena widely described as "privately financed," but how much? We don't know yet, but some more details--or at least questions--have emerged.

An Aqueduct comparable?

Well, we don't know what the other bid was, and there aren't exactly parcels that large offering direct comparables.

But consider: Genting New York LLC in September 2010 was granted a franchise to operate a video lottery terminal under a 30 year lease on 67 acres at Aqueduct Park (as noted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo).


Barclays Center event June 11 to protest plans to expand Israeli draft; questions about logistics

At right is a photo of a poster spotted in Hasidic Williamsburg right. Clearly there's an event scheduled at the Barclays Center aimed at the Haredi Jewish community (strict Orthodox Jews who reject secular culture), but the lack of English text makes it cryptic.

The website explains, Protest Against Israeli Draft of Bnei Yeshiva Rescheduled for Barclays Center:
A large asifa to protest the drafting of bnei yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel into the Israeli army that had been set to take place this month will instead be held on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 11, at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. So attendees at a big gathering will protest an apparent change of policy that will make it much more difficult for traditional Orthodox Jewish students--both Hasidic (who follow a rebbe) and non-Hasidic (who don't)--to get deferments from the draft. Comments on the Yeshiva World website explain some of the debate.

The logistical questions

What's unclear is how large the ev…