Tuesday, December 22, 2009

David and the Gargantuan and Growing List of Atlantic Yards Opponents

We just wrote about how Crain’s departing New York Business editorial director Greg David wanted to “personalize” the mega-issues and mega-destruction associated with the proposed Atlantic Yards mega-monopoly. The way he irresponsibly whittled it down was that someone named Daniel Goldstein was the sole personage responsible for holding up the arrival in Brooklyn of an unsigned basketball superstar named LeBron James.

This is the way Atlantic Yards Report wrote up what Mr. David had to say on WNYC’s Financial 411 about Mr. Goldstein and why he would have to “pack his bags” given that Bruce Ratner had been able to find buyers for the bonds he is hoping to issue (Mr. David’s words are those in quotes, the rest is AYR commentary):
“ . . . So Daniel Goldstein, the person who's been holding out against it, had better start packing his bags," David responded, with no small satisfaction in his voice. "Cause this means that Ratner has the money to go ahead with the project. They're going to go ahead no matter how many more lawsuits Goldstein files."

Um, Goldstein isn't the only property owner and tenant resisting eminent domain. He may be the most visible but the Atlantic Yards fight wouldn't have lasted six years and counting if it were just one guy.
(See: Friday, December 18, 2009, Crain's Greg David: "Daniel Goldstein... had better start packing his bags".)

Mr. Goldstein is not by any means the only member of a significant and ever-growing opposition to the project. More and more it seems that the only ones who don’t oppose the project are those on the payroll of developer/subsidy collector Forest City Ratner, and we include some of our least favorite politicians in that reckoning. The other day we wrote a post about how using eminent domain abuse to pile benefits on political favorites (like Pfizer in New London, Connecticut or Forest City Ratner in Brooklyn) is prone to backfire resulting in blighted wastelands. When we did, we noted the long list of eminent domain perpetrators (politicians included) who had exited, some of them ignominiously, from that infamous Connecticut Kelo situation and, similarly, from our own Atlantic Yards fiasco in New York. When we provided those lists of the “not-so-dear departed” we wrote:
Meanwhile, the list of those who are plaintiff parties in lawsuits against Atlantic Yards is an ever-growing one. In particular, we note that more and more politicians have been added to it. If this post wasn’t already more than long enough we would start listing the entire universe of plaintiffs. (The growing list of Atlantic Yards political adversaries also sounds a bit like the “afterward” of the Pfizer Kelo debacle.”)
(See: Monday, December 21, 2009, Eminent Domain Abuse: The Gifts That Keep On Giving and the Gifts That Don’t.)

This post will supply what we did not supply in that post, a starting list of the plaintiffs, groups and individuals who have mobilized to oppose the horrific and tragically corrupt Atlantic Yards megadevelopment.

We should begin by observing a couple of things. First, while Mr. David was touting LeBron James as a reason to go forward with Atlantic Yards, (“because the play . . . is to get LeBron James to come to Brooklyn"), Mr. David might find, as we pointed out, that LeBron James is amongst those with reasons to oppose Atlantic Yards. Second, as Atlantic Yards Report and No Land Grab reported, Mr. David’s own daughter is apparently already in the ranks of those opposing eminent domain abuse. Mr. David may have forgotten, but by his own admission, her opposition almost swung him over to eminent domain abuse opposition as well.

Now let us get on to our list of the list. There is some repetition in the list but Mr. Goldstein’s name appears only once. Since the list begins with the plaintiffs in the eminent domain lawsuit it necessarily begins with the names of individuals but as you read through it you will see the astounding number of groups that are represented, reflecting the neighborhood and broader concerned communities. The list is long that it is easy to forget that there are many others who oppose these abuses as well. For instance, we almost forgot to mention that Noticing New York can also be added to the list of those firmly opposing Atlantic Yards.

Here then is the list that Greg David whittled down to just Mr. Goldstein:

1. Daniel Goldstein
2. Maria Gonzalez
3. Jerry Campbell
4. Yesenia Gonzalez
5. David Sheets
6. Jackie Gonzalez
7. Aaron Piller
8. Peter Williams Enterprises, Inc.
9. 535 Carlton Ave. Realty Corp.
10. Pacific Carlton Development Corp.
11. Chadderton’s Bar and Grill, Inc. dba Freddy's Bar and Backroom
12. Rockwell Property Management, LLC.

Amicus (Friend of the Court) Briefs:
1. Institute for Justice
2. Group Brief by:
a. Fifth Avenue Committee
b. Pratt Area Community Council
c. Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council
3. Willets Point United, Inc.
1. Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, Inc.
2. Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods, Inc
3. NY Public Interest Research Group/Straphangers
4. Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats (CBID)
5. Sierra Club
6. Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association
7. The Brooklyn Bear’s Gardens Inc
8. Bergen Street-Prospect Heights Block Association, Inc.
9. Boerum Hill Association
10. Brooklyn Vision, Inc.
11. Carlton Avenue Association
12. Carroll Street Block Association (5th to 6th Ave), Inc.
13. Crown Heights North Association, Inc.
14. Dean Street Block Association, Inc. (4th to 5th Ave)
15. East Pacific Block Association
16. Fort Greene Association
17. Fort Greene Park Conservancy
18. Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus
19. Park Slope Neighbors
20. Park Place-Underhill Avenue Block Association
21. Prospect Heights Action Coalition
22. Prospect Place-Brooklyn Block Association
23. Society for Clinton Hill
24. South Portland Avenue Block Association
25. South Oxford Street Block Association
26. Zen Environmental Studies Institute
1. 535 Carlton Avenue Realty Corporation
2. Pacific Carlton Development Corporation
3. Henry P. Weinstein
4. Gary H. Silver
1. Eliselle Anderson
2. Ronald Parrish
3. Robert Jackson
4. William A. Lashley, Jr.
5. Allison Sniffin
6. Jonathan Willner
7. Robin Weil
8. Daniel Saks
9. Nikkia Reveillac
10. Yvonne Chak
11. Joel Weiskopf
12. Marina DeFranza
13. Adam Radbell
1. Develop Don’t Destroy (Brooklyn), Inc.
2. Council Of Brooklyn Neighborhoods, Inc.
3. Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association, Inc.
4. Brooklyn Bears Community Gardens, Inc.
5. Brooklyn Vision Foundation, Inc.
6. Carlton Avenue Association, Inc.
7. Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats
8. Crown Heights North Association, Inc.
9. Dean Street Block Association, Inc.
10. Democracy For New York City
11. East Pacific Block Association, Inc.
12. Fort Greene Association, Inc.
13. Fort Green Park Conservancy, Inc.
14. Friends And Residents Of Greater Gowanus
15. Park Slope Neighbors, Inc.
16. Prospect Heights Action Coalition
17. Prospect Place Of Brooklyn Block Assoc., Inc.
18. Society For Clinton Hill, Inc.
19. South Oxford Street Block Association
20. South Portland Block Association, Inc.
1. State Senator Velmanette Montgomery (18th District)
2. Assemblymember Jim Brennan (44th District)
3. Assemblymember Joan Millman (52nd District)
4. NY City Councilmember Letitia James (35th District)
5. NYPIRG/Straphangers Campaign
6. Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn filed the lawsuit
1. the Atlantic Avenue LDC
2. the Brooklyn Heights Association
3. the Boerum Hill Association
4. the Fifth Avenue Committee
5. the Park Slope Civic Council
6. the Pratt Area Community Council
7. the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council
8. State Senator Velmanette Montgomery
9. Assemblyman Jim Brennan
10. City Councilmember Letitia James
11. Alan Rosner
12. Eda Malenky
13. Peter Krashes
14. Judy Mann
15. Rhona Hestrony
16. James Greenfield
17. Michael Rogers
18. Anurag Hena
19. Robert Puca
20. Salvatore Raffone
21. Eric Doeringer
22. Jillian May
23. Doug Derryberry
The Brooklyn Speaks Lawsuit grew out of the coalition of the following groups:

1. Atlantic Avenue LDC
2. Boerum Hill Association
3. Brooklyn Heights Association
4. Fifth Avenue Committee
5. Municipal Art Society (See MAS’s helpfully informative Atlantic Lots website.)
6. National Trust for Historic Preservation
7. Park Slope Civic Council
8. Pratt Area Community Council
9. Project for Public Spaces
10. Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council
11. Scenic America
12. Tri-State Transportation Campaign
1. 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement
2. Boerum Hill Association (BHA)
3. Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats (CBID)
4. Coalition for a Livable West Side
5. Committee For Environmentally Sound Development
6. Creative Industries Coalition (80 local businesses, galleries and collectives)
7. Democracy for New York City (DFNYC)

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn Coalition, comprised of:
8. Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association (AABA)
9. Boerum Hill For Organic Development
10. Brooklyn Bears Community Garden
11. Brooklyn Vision
12. Cambridge Place Action Coalition
13. Carroll Street Block Association (5th-6th Ave.)
14. Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, Inc. (DDDb)
15. East Pacific Block Association
16. Fans For Fair Play
17. Fort Greene Association (FGA)
18. Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus (FROGG)
19. Kings County Greens
20. New York Preservation Alliance
21. North Brooklyn Greens
22. Park Slope Greens
23. Revel Arts
24. The Society for Clinton Hill
25. South Oxford Street Block Association
26. South Portland Block Association
27. Times Up!
28. Warren St. Marks Community Garden
Downtown Brooklyn Leadership Coalition (DBLC), comprised of:
29. Black Veterans for Social Justice (Job Masharaki)
30. Church of the Open Door (Rev. Mark V.C. Taylor)
31. Brooklyn Christian Center (Rev. Dennis Dillon)
32. Brown Memorial Baptist Church (Rev. Clinton Miller)
33. Emmanuel Baptist Church (Rev. Anthony L. Trufant)
34. Hanson Place Central United Methodist Church (Rev. Patrick Perrin)
35. Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church (Rev. David Dyson)
36. Old First Reformed Church (Rev Daniel Meeter)

37. The Fifth Ave Committee
38. Friends of Yankee Stadium
39. Good Jobs New York
40. Kings County Affiliate, Libertarian Party of New York
41. National Taxpayers Union
42. NYCBasketball.com
43. Park Slope Civic Council
44. Park Slope Neighbors
45. Pratt Area Community Council (PACC)
46. Pratt Institute Center for Community and Environmental Development (PICCED)
47. Prospect Heights Action Coalition (PHAC)
48. Prospect Place Block Association
49. Save Our Parks (Bronx)
50. Senior and Retirees Committee of Willoughby Walk Cooperative Apartments
51. Sierra Club, Atlantic Chapter
52. Rooftop Films, Inc.
1. Mr. Pheeroan akLaff – Musician
2. Ms. Jo Andres – Artist
3. Mr. Jim Bouton – Athlete, Author, Activist
4. Ms. Dominique Bravo – Attorney
5. Mr. Marshall Brown – Professor of Architecture
6. Mr. Steve Buscemi – Actor, Filmmaker
7. Ms. Burnley Duke Dame – Community Activist
8. Reverend Dennis Dillon – Chief Executive Minister, The Brooklyn Christian Center
9. Mr. Chris Doyle – Artists and Architect
10. Reverend David Dyson – Pastor, Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church
11. Ms. Jennifer Egan – Author and Journalist
12. Mr. Sean Elder – Professor and Journalist
13. Mr. Jonathan Safran Foer – Author
14. Ms. Marian Fontana – Author and Activist
15. Dr. Mindy Fullilove – Author and Professor
16. Mr. Peter Galassi – Museum Curator
17. Mr. Nelson George – Writer, Filmmaker and Cultural Critic
18. Ms. Myla Goldberg – Author
19. Ms. Christabel Gough – Preservationist
20. Mr. Philip Gourevitch – Author and Editor
21. Ms. Sheri Holman – Author
22. Ms. Melissa Kantor – Author
23. Ms. Susette Kelo – Homeowner, Lead Plaintiff in Kelo v. City of New London
24. Ms. Nicole Krauss – Author
25. Mr. Clem Labine – Entrepreneur and Preservationist
26. Ms. Jhumpa Lahiri – Author
27. Mr. Bob Law – Entrepreneur and Community Activist
28. Mr. Jonathan Lethem – Author
29. Mr. Phillip Lopate – Author, Critic
30. Mr. Sean Meenan – Entrepreneur
31. Reverend Doctor Daniel Meeter – Pastor and Teacher, Old First Reformed Church
32. Mr. Rick Moody – Author
33. Mr. Francis Morrone – Author and Literary Historian
34. Mr. David Nachman – Attorney
35. Ms. Peggy Northrop – Editor, Readers Digest
36. Mr. Everett Ortner – Preservationist, Author
37. The Honorable Major Owens – United States Congressman
38. Ms. Rosie Perez – Actor
39. Ms. Toshi Reagon – Brooklyn Singer
40. Mr. David Salle – Artist
41. Mr. Ron Shiffman, FAICP, Hon. AIA  Urban Planner
42. Mr. Michael Showalter – Comedian, Actor
43. Ms. Martha Southgate – Author
44. Mr. Wes Stace (aka John Wesley Harding) – Musician and Author
45. Mr. Robert Sullivan – Author
46. Ms. Susan S. Sullivan – Artist, Urban Planner
47. Mr. Harry Tarzian– Businessman, Photographer
48. Ms. Michelle Williams – Actor
49. Ms. Martha Wilson – Artist and Founding Director, Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc.
50. Mr. Dan Zanes – Musician
51. Mr. David Zirin – Sports Commentator


In Memorium

52. Mr. Heath Ledger – Actor
53. Ms. Evelyn Ortner – Preservationist
And then there is the fact that the candidates for the pertinent public offices were all lining up as opponents against the mega-project. See: City Council candidates don't support AY project, May 08, 2009

One day we could add Greg David’s own name to the list if his daughter talks some sense into him. Maybe it would help for him to read the Appellate Division’s decision holding against Columbia University’s abuse of eminent domain to take over West Harlem. Mr. David says he has read it but we don’t believe him. The reasoning of the judges holding in the Columbia case against the same government agency-perpetrators using the same pretexts they’ve used with Atlantic Yards: “the blight designation in the instant case is mere sophistry. It was utilized by ESDC years after the scheme was hatched to justify the employment of eminent domain but this project has always primarily concerned a massive capital project for Columbia.”

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