Skip to main content

From the Village Voice's Siegel: Sharpton as mayoral king killer (and, I'd add, the knife in Ferrer's back over AY)

Columnist Harry Siegel, in the 8/17/11 Village Voice, offers Sharpton's Racket: The man who will never be mayor could decide who the next one will be:
As much because of as in spite of his sins, [the Rev. Al Sharpton]’s emerged as a national figure and a dominant player in New York City Democratic politics – where he’s kneecapped the party’s last four mayoral nominees.

Think of Sharpton’s approval as one of his protection rackets (many candidates would prefer his silence to his endorsement, given how unpopular he remains with white voters). Most of the candidates who pay tribute to him aren’t nearly as concerned with the support of a man who has never drawn even 150,000 votes in four losing runs for office, as with defending themselves from the negative attention he can summon.

...While he's shown little ability to help friends, his power to punish enemies is unquestioned. In his 2002 book, Al on America, Sharpton titles the chapter on the 2001 mayoral race "Kingmaker?"—but "King Killer" would be more accurate. His decision that year not to back Democrat Mark Green after he beat out Sharpton's then-ally Fernando Ferrer in a runoff for the party's nod was crucial to Michael Bloomberg's surprise win.

...In 1997, Sharpton, without improving his vote total, nearly forced a runoff with eventual nominee Ruth Messinger—and took the primary results to court (his complaint was eventually dismissed), hamstringing her already uninspired bid to unseat Rudolph Giuliani. After damaging Green in 2001, Sharpton effectively split with [Freddy] Ferrer in 2005, giving his former ally a belated and tepid endorsement while making clear he would have no issue with four more years of the mayor who had become his patron... In 2009, Sharpton offered an equally unenthusiastic endorsement of then-comptroller William Thompson, the first African American to have held the office, who ended up falling just 50,000 votes short in his bid to unseat Bloomberg.
The knife in Ferrer's back

Unmentioned is a key episode in the Ferrer campaign, whereupon the candidate belatedly came out against Atlantic Yards, only to have Sharpton--his supporter--immediately issue a statement criticizing him.

Most in the press played Sharpton's knife in the back over Ferrer's policy switch. The New York Times, for example, published a 10/29/05 article headlined Ferrer Is Chided Over Atlantic Yards:
In a statement sent by e-mail to reporters, Mr. Sharpton said that he and Mr. Ferrer "strongly disagree" on the project, which would place a ridge of skyscrapers and a basketball arena at a major Brooklyn intersection and straddle several low-scale neighborhoods where opposition to the project has recently intensified. Mr. Ferrer, he said, "needs to realize that failure to get projects like this done would be a terrible loss for communities of color throughout this city."

"We cannot play politics with something as important as the Atlantic Yards," Mr. Sharpton said.

In a telephone interview, Mr. Sharpton played down the notion of a rift between the two camps, saying that the statement had been issued in response to calls from reporters and was intended "to make it clear that I wasn't playing politics."
That, people, is Orwellian. What was Sharpton doing other than playing politics?

And catch the close to the article:
Bruce Bender, an executive at Forest City Ratner, the development partner in building a new Midtown headquarters for the New York Times Company, accused Mr. Ferrer of misrepresenting the facts.
The trustworthy Bruce ("I don't mind fucking the bridge") Bender accusing someone of misrepresenting the facts?

Ah, the journalism of verification.

I dissected all this in my 11/10/05 /analysis, Freddy’s Fumble: Ferrer mishandled Atlantic Yards, but the press made it worse.

Playing nice with Ratner

And what might have been Sharpton's motivation? As Daily News sports investigatIve reporters T.J. Quinn and Michael O'Keeffe reported 11/6/05:
Not included in Sharpton’s statement or the newspaper articles, however, was one significant fact: Forest City Ratner has contributed thousands of dollars to Sharpton’s National Action Network. Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco acknowledged Ratner’s development company provided financial support last year and this year but declined to say how much money FCR has contributed to the National Action Network’s coffers.

Sharpton, too, would not specify a dollar amount, but he did tell The Score that FCR has been a corporate sponsor of his organization’s annual fund-raising dinner and convention for the past three years.

That money, Sharpton adds, has nothing to do with his support for the $3.5 billion project. He points out that he only jumped aboard in July. “If donations to the Network meant anything,” Sharpton says, “then I would have supported it long before that.”

Shaprton says he lent his support to the Atlantic Yards at the urging of the Rev. Herbert Daughtry, the founder of the Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance and Bertha Lewis*, executive director of ACORN, a housing advocacy group.
Well, the Community Benefits Agreement had been signed only in late June, so it's plausible that only then would signatories like Daughtry and Lewis ask for more backing.

Sharpton kept a low profile during most of the Atlantic Yards debate, only to pop up to denounce anti-AY activist Daniel Goldstein and to twist the truth at the groundbreaking last year.

Playing nice with Bloomberg

Why has Sharpton played so nice with Bloomberg? Siegel suggests it was a trade-off "in exchange for public appearances with the mayor and cash funneled through former schools chancellor Joel Klein."

Comments

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…

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 Matzav.com 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…

Atlanta's Atlantic Yards moves ahead

First mentioned in April, the Atlantic Yards project in Atlanta is moving ahead--and has the potential to nudge Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn further down in Google searches.

According to a 5/30/17 press release, Hines and Invesco Real Estate Announce T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards:
Hines, the international real estate firm, and Invesco Real Estate, a global real estate investment manager, today announced a joint venture on behalf of one of Invesco Real Estate’s institutional clients to develop two progressive office projects in Atlanta totalling 700,000 square feet. T3 West Midtown will be a 200,000-square-foot heavy timber office development and Atlantic Yards will consist of 500,000 square feet of progressive office space in two buildings. Both projects are located on sites within Atlantic Station in the flourishing Midtown submarket.
Hines will work with Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) as the design architect for both T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards. DLR Group will be t…

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…

Not quite the pattern: Greenland selling development sites, not completed condos

Real Estate Weekly, reporting on trends in Chinese investment in New York City, on 11/18/15 quoted Jim Costello, a senior vice president at research firm Real Capital Analytics:
“They’re typically building high-end condos, build it and sell it. Capital return is in a few years. That’s something that is ingrained in the companies that have been coming here because that’s how they’ve grown in the last 35 years. It’s always been a development game for them. So they’re just repeating their business model here,” he said. When I read that last November, I didn't think it necessarily applied to Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, now 70% owned (outside of the Barclays Center and B2 modular apartment tower), by the Greenland Group, owned significantly by the Shanghai government.
A majority of the buildings will be rentals, some 100% market, some 100% affordable, and several--the last several built--are supposed to be 50% market/50% subsidized. (See tentative timetable below.)

Selling development …

For Atlantic Yards Quality of Life meeting Sept. 19, another bare-bones agenda (green wall?)

A message from Empire State Development (ESD) reminds us that the next Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life Meeting--which aims to update community members on construction and other issues--will be held:
Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 6 pm
Shirley Chisholm State Office Building
55 Hanson Place
1st Floor Conference Room
Brooklyn, NY 11217 The typically bare-bones, agenda, below, tells us nothing about the content of the presentation. One thing to look for is any hint of plans to start a new building on the southeast block of the project by the end of the year.

If not, ESD is supposed to re-evaluate a longstanding request from project neighbors to move back a giant wall encroaching on part of Dean Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues. It's said to enclose construction activity, but, in recent months, has significantly served to protect worker parking.

Also, by the way, if you search for Atlantic Yards on Google or the ESD website, it leads to this page for the Atlantic Ya…