As a question of civic policy, the plastic-bag debate would seem to be a perfect one for contemporary New York, seeing as it resides precisely at the crossroads of bloodless Bloombergian autocratic problem-solving and de Blasian firebrand progressivism. Yet New York has continually lagged behind other cities and countries on the issue; for example, China, which is not exactly thought of as in the environmental vanguard, banned free plastic bags in 2008. That’s the same year that Mayor Bloomberg floated the notion of a six-cent fee on grocery bags, but it went nowhere. Currently, several City Council members are pushing for a ten-cent fee on plastic bags. But no legislation has been enacted. Bertha Lewis, a consultant to Mayor de Blasio and the head of the Black Leadership Action Coalition, wrote an editorial for the Gotham Gazette arguing that the bag fee “is counterintuitive, and hurts the working class and small-business owners that make our city strong.” Lewis was later asked by Capital New York to account for the fact that her foundation has received payments from the American Progressive Bag Alliance — that’s Mark Daniels’s [bag manufacturers'] group — and she responded, “That’s insulting. I think it is absolutely just the most egregious character assassination ever.Well, Lewis--a prominent Atlantic Yards backer, of course--does have training in theater.
This watchdog blog, by journalist Norman Oder, offers analysis, commentary, and reportage about the $4.9B project to build the Barclays Center arena and 15-16 towers at a crucial site in Brooklyn. Dubbed Atlantic Yards by developer Forest City Ratner in 2003, it was rebranded Pacific Park Brooklyn in 2014 after the Chinese government-owned Greenland Group bought a 70% stake going forward. As of 2018, after the arena and four towers were built, Greenland will own 95% of future construction.