Skip to main content

At inaugural, de Blasio cites required affordable housing, James says government had prioritized a "new stadium" (but then faces backlash)

 The big news at the city inauguration yesterday, according to the media consensus, was the advance of new Mayor Bill de Blasio and the surprisingly harsh criticism, notably by new Public Advocate Letitia James and some invited speakers (Harry Belafonte, the Sanitation chaplain), of recent ex-Mayor Mike Bloomberg, stonily taking it in.

de Blasio, according to his speech, doubled down on his campaign pledge:
So let me be clear. When I said we would take dead aim at the Tale of Two Cities, I meant it. And we will do it. I will honor the faith and trust you have placed in me. And we will give life to the hope of so many in our city. We will succeed as One City. We know this won’t be easy; It will require all that we can muster. And it won’t be accomplished only by me; It will be accomplished by all of us — those of us here today, and millions of everyday New Yorkers in every corner of our city.
You must continue to make your voices heard. You must be at the center of this debate. And our work begins now. We will expand the Paid Sick Leave law — because no one should be forced to lose a day’s pay, or even a week’s pay, simply because illness strikes. And by this time next year, fully 300,000 additional New Yorkers will be protected by that law. We won’t wait.
We’ll do it now. We will require big developers to build more affordable housing. We’ll fight to stem the tide of hospital closures. And we’ll expand community health centers into neighborhoods in need, so that New Yorkers see our city not as the exclusive domain of the One Percent, but a place where everyday people can afford to live, work, and raise a family. We won’t wait. We’ll do it now.
How de Blasio "will require big developers to build more affordable housing," and how much help he gives Atlantic Yards--or uses it as a positive example--remains to be seen.

Wrote Daily News columnist Dennis Hamill:
“All the working-class neighborhoods of Brooklyn are gone,” one friend said. “Windsor Terrace rents are through the roof with yuppies and hipsters willing to pay top dollar. In fact, the hipsters refer to us natives as ‘leftovers.’”
“Five single hipsters move into a three-bedroom pad kicking in $600 a month each so they can afford $3,000 rent,” said another pal. “A couple with two kids can’t pay that. And I’m talking an apartment in Bushwick!”
James takes on stadiums, and arena

New Public Advocate Letitia James, in her speech, took aim at sports facilities:
The wave of progressive victories our city has recently enjoyed was, in some ways, inevitable - The fabric of our city, of our nation is made strong by the untold sacrifices of so many who are left defenseless, unrepresented, unspoken for, -- but at some point in history the tide must turn - the policies that made them voiceless must give way to a government that works for them - that speaks for them - that cares more about a child going hungry than a new stadium or a new tax credit for a luxury development that a majority of New Yorkers can’t afford. To live up to that challenge and to be centered in our decisions is the task before those of us who think of ourselves as the progressive wing of our city.
Given that James used the term "stadium" rather than "arena," and given that there were more stadiums than arenas built during the Bloomberg years, I thought she James was being inclusive, not simply talking about the Barclays Center, built in her district.

I thought it was semi-oblique RT @AndreaWNYC James disses @deBlasioNYC chum Ratner in swipe at Barclays stadium deal @azi

— Norman Oder (@AYReport) January 1, 2014

On NY1

That said, in an interview last night on NY1 with Road to City Hall Errol Louis, a Brooklyn constituent and sometime rival, James at 5:20 said she's been speaking all along about homelessness, poverty, inequality, and the crisis in affordable housing, "and what do we get? we get an arena."

"The arena--we'll agree to disagree about the arena," Louis responded, as James chuckled, knowing her host's strident advocacy for Atlantic Yards.

"Go Nets," added the host.

James was asked about her invitation to and deployment of of 12-year-old Dasani Coates, the protagonist of the New York Times's "Invisible Child" series, who held the Bible during her swearing-in.

James told Louis she had a role in calling the New York Times's attention to the situation at the homeless shelter at issue, in her district. (She wasn't mentioned in the series, though.)

The backlash

Capital New York reported:
"I was aware of it and had a little bit something to do with it," said James, who had Coates join her on stage at her swearing-in on Wednesday afternoon. "And in fact I had established a task force on Auburn, and the conditions continued. And so we decided to work together to basically put on the front page of the New York Times, the face of poverty in the city of New York. "
But the Times says James wasn't a source for the paper's reporting.
"Andrea Elliott met Dasani in the course of interviewing residents outside the Auburn shelter, and exposed conditions there by following the family. Andrea never talked to Ms. James nor was she a source for the story," said Matt Purdy, an assistant managing editor for the Times, in an emailed statement.
The article cited other examples of James's stretching the truth: a meeting with Gov. Cuomo, and her age.

The Times opined:
Too bad the speakers on stage with him didn’t get the unity part, marring the event with backward-looking speeches both graceless and smug. Worst among them, but hardly alone, was the new public advocate, Letitia James, who used her moment for her own head-on attack: on the 12 years of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. In doing so, she made a prop of a 12-year-old girl named Dasani, who had to hold the Bible and Ms. James’s hand as Ms. James called for a government “that cares more about a child going hungry than a new stadium or a new tax credit for a luxury development.”
Dasani was profiled in a recent series of articles in The Times illustrating how bad things get for homeless families in the shelter system. Ms. James turned her into Exhibit A of an Inauguration Day prosecution: the People v. Mayor Bloomberg.... Mr. Bloomberg had his mistakes and failures, but he was not a cartoon Gilded Age villain. He deserved better than pointless and tacky haranguing from speakers eager to parrot Mr. de Blasio’s campaign theme. 
Some commenters disagreed.

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…

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 …

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…

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

Click on graphic to enlarge. This is post-dated to stay at the top of the blog. It will be updated as announced configurations change and buildings launch. The August 2014 tentative configurations proposed by developer Greenland Forest City Partners will change, and the project is already well behind that tentative timetable.


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 …

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…