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In North Brooklyn, Julia Salazar challenges incumbent state Senator Martin Dilan (an early Atlantic Yards backer)

Forgive me for looking at political races through the lens of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, but that's often a simple way to decide who represents the establishment and status quo and who doesn't.

So, Rep. Yvette Clarke, a project defender, was challenged--and almost beat--by Adem Bunkeddeko in the Democratic primary. (And he partly made Atlantic Yards an issue.)

In a key state race, when the primary is in September, we have Republican state Senator Marty Golden, whose ethical deficits are legion, serving as a bulwark for Atlantic Yards (and gaining $5,000 in 2016 campaign funds from Bruce Ratner).

He'll be challenged by a Democrat, either Ross Barkan, a journalist/insurgent, or lawyer Andrew Gounardes, who has more mainstream party support.

A challenger in North Brooklyn

And, thanks to Newsday's Mark Chiusano, I learn of another state Senate candidate, Julia Salazar, who deserves attention in the district that includes Bushwick, Cypress Hills, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint, since she's challenging eight-term incumbent Martin Malave Dilan:
So far, Salazar's gotten little publicity, such as this Brooklyn Daily Eagle short when she announced her candidacy in April. Looks like she'll get some more.

Dilan's record re the "fantastic Atlantic Yards"

How well the DSA (Democratic Socialists of America) agenda can translate into governance in a legislature with a range of ideologies is a question to be tested in the future, but we do have some clarity on the incumbent.

Sure, Dilan's record on issues like lead-paint protections is more important than Atlantic Yards, but, again, the project offers an easy shorthand.

On Atlantic Yards, Democrat Dilan was almost as fawning as Golden.

In 2005, he wrote a "letter to the editor" for the debut publication of The Brooklyn Standard, the short-lived, two-issue "publication" that served as a promotional vehicle for Atlantic Yards. (Even the New York Times eventually called it out.)

Dilan's letter claimed:
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from a lifetime of living here, it’s that there’s no shortage of exciting things to be found. Brooklyn is a bubbling cauldron of life and excitement, and the fantastic Atlantic Yards project will only increase it for decades to come.
So for news on all that and more, I’ll be looking to The Brooklyn Standard to help fill me in.
The Brooklyn Rail, when Brian Carreira was covering such things, followed up in July 2005:
When asked if he was aware that The Brooklyn Standard was a release of Forest City Ratner for the purpose of promoting the Atlantic Yards, State Senator Dilan replied, “No, I was under the impression that it was a newspaper.” As to whether he would still have written his welcome, had he known better: “I don’t think I would have written a letter, no,” the Senator conceded.
He probably didn't even write the letter, but put his name on one ghosted for him.

Promotion after contributions

A year later, Dilan appeared in a promotional flier for the project, validating the project by claiming, "Brooklyn families and seniors badly need the housing that Atlantic Yards will provide. I am particularly appreciative of the developer's commitment to providing so many affordable units for low- and middle-income tenants."

Could he perhaps have been influenced by four early 2006 contributions of $2,500 by Michael Ratner, Bruce's brother, and Michael's wife, with two of them from Forest City's MetroTech address (where Michael kept an office)?

Of course, Dilan hasn't said anything critical about the not-so-affordable housing. Two "100% affordable" buildings have seen middle-income units marketed outside the housing lottery, because there were so few takers.

As I wrote in 2006, Dilan won his 2004 race by a more than 8 to 1 margin and faced the same Republican again, with no Democratic primary. He didn't need the money. But he didn't turn it down, either. Instead, he delivered.

More recently, in the 18th District, Dilan has faced two relatively competitive primaries. It looks like there's another coming.

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