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Majora Carter, speaking tomorrow at BrooklynSpeaks fundraiser, criticizes eminent domain for AY

Sustainable South Bronx founder, Dan Doctoroff critic, and "The Promised Land" radio host Majora Carter is keynoting a benefit dinner tomorrow night in Prospect Heights for BrooklynSpeaks.

The coalition has taken the lead role in the ongoing litigation over whether the state studied the effects of a 25-year project buildout and in calling for a new governance entity to oversee Atlantic Yards.

AY and eminent domain

Carter, who now heads the Majora Carter Group, writes on her firm's website, Eminent Domain, Atlantic Yards Brooklyn, and Beyond (tomorrow Oct 13):
Tomorrow night, I will be speaking at a fund-raiser for Brooklyn Speaks, and it has me thinking about real-estate development – as I begin to enter the field as a practitioner myself.

When the Court of Appeals, approved “eminent domain” to seize private property in the Atlantic Yards footprint in 2009 it made an increasingly unremarkable decision to place control over massive neighborhood development to a small number of well-connected people who are not accountable to any democratic process. There are many similar examples over the last decade or so.

Private property was taken from law-abiding people, and sold against their will to other private interests for the purpose of real-estate development that was argued to be for the public-good (by the same developers who received the land).
The reform-AY BrooklynSpeaks and the stop-AY Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB), now allies on the pending litigation, have long differed over the issue of eminent domain. It was DDDB, not BrooklynSpeaks, that helped organize that court case that culminated in 2009..

The Municipal Art Society (MAS) helped found BrooklynSpeaks, and then-MAS President Kent Barwick explained in December 2007 that they didn't think an eminent domain challenge would work. So a stance on eminent domain was not part of the BrooklynSpeaks platform.

As it turns out, the MAS left BrooklynSpeaks when its member groups, sufficiently radicalized by the failure to gain headway with the state and Forest City Ratner, finally went to court, in a case that paralleled a case brought by a DDDB-led coalition. So two divergent paths converged.

Lots of development talk tomorrow

While I'd be interested to hear Carter speak, I don't think they've invited press. Anyhow, tomorrow night I'll be covering the Roundtable on Brooklyn and Development at Kingsborough Community College.

Tomorrow (and Friday), I'll also be at the second annual MAS Summit for New York City.

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