Skip to main content

Manhattan BP Stringer criticizes Columbia CBA implementation for lacking public notice, formal process, protocols for selection. Such transparency is not only missing from Atlantic Yards CBA, it was never expected.

The mainstream press and public officials are interested in critiquing the Columbia University Community Benefits Agreement (CBA), linked to the university's West Harlem expansion, even as the Atlantic Yards CBA is vulnerable to more criticism.

In a 10/30/11 exclusive headlined Harlem group sitting on Columbia-aid cash, the New York Post reported:
Columbia University gave a West Harlem group $3.5 million, and all the community got for its money were some consultants and a temporary job program for teens.

The money is part of a $76 million pot of cash Columbia has pledged to the community to ease the burden of its controversial $6.3 billion expansion in the Manhattanville neighborhood. 
But organizational problems continue to plague the group in charge of doling out the money.

The West Harlem Local Development Corp. was set up in 2006, but the group still has no executive director, no Web site and no means for the community to apply for the money.

“In these desperate economic times, it is crucial these funds be disbursed for the benefit of Harlem residents,” said Vincent Morgan, a Harlem resident and former congressional candidate.
The Post quoted Donald Notice, chairman of West Harlem LDC’s board, as saying all would be well in a month, and that group spent $302,000 last summer on a jobs programs for 200 teens and about $400,000 on consultants.

Here's much longer coverage from and the Columbia Spectator.

I took a look and found that a web site bearing the name West Harlem LDC is just a link farm. Here's the Columbia CBA (thanks to the Columbia Spectator).

Manhattan BP comments

In a statement yesterday, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said:
I continue to be greatly concerned that the West Harlem Local Development Corporation (LDC) has not moved quickly enough to transition to its successor entity, the West Harlem Development Corporation (WHDC). As I stated in February 23 and March 5, 2010 letters to the LDC board of directors, important work remains to be done in creating the WHDC’s governance structure and establishing it as a legal entity. Today, the situation remains largely unchanged.

I am especially dismayed that LDC’s executive committee continues to disburse funds. I pointed out in my letter last year that they have done so without a formal application process, without public notices, without protocols for selection, without advice from a community advisory committee and without adequate, transparent discussion by the LDC as a whole. These fundamental issues have yet to be addressed.

Given these concerns, it is essential that the LDC devote itself fully to the transition process, and halt any further disbursement of funds. Anything less runs the risk of violating the public trust and jeopardizing the work we have all done to strengthen and revitalize the West Harlem community.
AY is less transparent

With the Atlantic Yards CBA, there's no formal application process, no public notice, no protocols for selection, no a community advisory committee, and no "adequate, transparent discussion."

The CBA hasn't even created an entity with a budget. Forest City doles out money to the CBA signatories as it sees fit--along with the few specific provisions regarding job training, provided by CBA signatory BUILD (Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development).

Borough President Marty Markowitz has rather saluted CBA signatories. "What I can say today, to the residents that are here, thank you for keeping the faith. Thank you for keeping the faith," he said at the 9/26/11 Jay-Z media event. "I know the taunts that you receive, and that's saying it nicely. I know. You kept the faith and you realized what this would be for the future of Brooklyn and New York. And I congratulate each and every one of you."


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…