Atlantic Yards: Creating the next terrorist target?
A Brooklyn reader sends me his open letter to incoming Governor Eliot Spitzer regarding his concerns about Ratner's gigantic plan for Central Brooklyn creating a new target for terrorists:
It is clear that the State run Atlantic Yards Development Project is headed for quick approval by the PACB. Once that occurs, rapidly followed by Governor Patakiâ€™s exit, you will become the highest elected official responsible for the outcome of the project. Given that PACBâ€™s decision will be based on materials prepared by the ESDC, which you have long criticized, it is equally clear that knowledge of the full impact of this project will not be available when they make that decision.
Unconscionably the ESDC has chosen to ignore all too many of the documented concerns of the communities surrounding this project. One area of profound consequence they have refused to address regards issues of public safety and security. Since the attacks of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina this has become a major focus of attention at all levels of government, yet any such consideration here was disregarded.
Beyond having just been overwhelmingly elected as Governor, this issue matters in terms of your current position as Attorney General. The decision of the ESDC to omit safety and security concerns, apart from violating common sense, also violates recent federal court decisions. For this reason it is likely that the state will be drawn into unnecessary litigation regarding the ESDCâ€™s decision to prepare its Final Environmental Impact Statement as if concentrating three known terrorist targets at a single location will have no consequences and therefore need not be acknowledged.
Until there is a thorough examination of Post 9/11 and Katrina implications we ask you to join with the many politicians, community groups and individual citizens who have already asked that the PACB hold off voting on this project until after you have assumed office and can participate in the process. If you do not, you will nevertheless become responsible for all the â€œunintendedâ€ but certainly anticipated consequences and costs associated with these issues, but without ever having had any input into the approval process of a project that is almost the size of Ground Zero.
Now I am in no way in favor of letting terrorists dictate how we build and what we build, but it does seem to me that in NYC, being one of the world's prime terrorist targets, this is an issue that needs to be considered in the planning stages of any project. The lack of such consideration is just another example of how the approval process of Ratner's project has been sloppy, rushed and, quite possibly, corrupt. Brooklyn will face the consequences of such rushed sloppiness for decades to come.
This, along with the recent statements by Assemblyman-elect Hakeem Jeffries and Assembly members Joan Millman, Jim Brennan and Anette Robinson, as well as the pending lawsuit regarding eminent domain abuse all suggest that this project should be put on hold and reconsidered. Remember, there are three other plans proposed that have never been given the same consideration as the plan proposed by Pataki crony Ratner. Development should and will go forward in Central Brooklyn. But it should not be rushed or sloppy or dominated by cronyism. Due consideration for infrastructure (including sewage, impact on the Gowanus canal, impact on schools and firehouses, traffic, etc.), greenspace (we are losing greenspace to Ratner), true affordable housing (must be long-term affordable and guarantees must be in place) and security/emergency preparedness have to be taken into account, and to date they have not.