An imaginary dialogue between Bruce Ratner and Bruce Bender: how talking up transit (vaguely) might distract from the Ridge Hill case
Maybe they've had another conversation recently.
BB: I have an idea.
BR: I'm listening--
BB: Did you hear about Richard Ravitch? Last week he said that the city's crumbling transit infrastructure is a huge problem, and business leaders lack public spirit, and I quote, "keeping the Bush tax cuts, keeping the government from regulating them and making sure they’re too big to fail."
BR: And what's wrong with that?
BB: Nothing's wrong with that, of course. (Chortles) That's what we do too, more or less. The last part, at least. (Beat) But we need the transit system.
BR: We're an urban company.
BB: Damn straight. We have offices and malls that rely on the subway. And--
BR: --an arena.
BB: An arena that needs subways and buses running well, more of them, in fact. And the LIRR.
BR: Especially the LIRR.
BB: We're not talking about the Islanders yet.
BR: Who said anything about the Islanders?
BB: So this is what we can do.
BR: I'm listening.
BB: Forest City Ratner comes out for transit.
BR: Of course we're for transit. (Beat) But what does that mean?
BB: We keep it fuzzy.
BR: Are you saying increase the payroll tax? That could piss off the Republicans in the Senate.
BB: I'm not saying--
BR: They could hold oversight hearings.
BB: They're not gonna hold oversight hearings. Marty Golden will manage it. He will be a firewall. (Chortles) Unless someone finally gets him for his catering hall business.
BR: Marty's against residential permit parking.
BB: Are we against residential permit parking?
BR: We're not sure. Tish James is for it, so--
BB: We're not going to back her. She's running for something.
BR: We muddle through one season, see how it goes. If the local electeds are screaming bloody murder, they can overcome Marty Golden.
BB: So this is what you can say.
BR: You're writing my speeches now? I like that.
BB: You say that "Forest City supports a robust transit system and is willing to work with all stakeholders."
BR: I like that. Very statesmanlike. But when do I say this?
BB: Well, that Ridge Hill trial is coming up.
BR: I know. And that Times guy Powell kinda put it back on the agenda.
BB: "Between legal clouds." Nice image. (Beat) But also a little icky. So glad Betsy Gotbaum set things straight: "highest ethical standards and behavior."
BR: I wasn't involved in any of that, it was all you.
BB: I know. But we're in this together.
BR: (Mutters) That was what Lipsky and Kruger said.
BB: What did you say?
BR: Nothing. (Beat) Yes, we're in this together. We'll pull through. We didn't get indicted. We didn't do anything wrong. We will say as little as possible.
BB: Except about the transit system. (Beat) Which reminds me...
BB: Ravitch, we lucked out there, too.
BR: That we did.
BB: I don't think he really loves Atlantic Yards. I mean, he's never said anything nice.
BR: He's never said anything negative, either. And aren't we lucky that--
BB: --his son worked on the sale of the team to Prokhorov.
BR: He sure did. A very good deal it was, I might say.
BB: Exactly. We got the Russian, and we neutralized Ravitch.
BR: Now he just talks about transit.
BB: And we support transit.
BR: Just not with specifics.