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FFFP
Fans For Fair Play
Challenging Bruce Ratner’s Brooklyn Atlantic Yards project

Monday, February 28, 2005

Bruce Ratner's Hopes 

Hopes...

That's what Bruce Ratner's plans for Brooklyn are based on.

Hopes.

Ratner hopes you buy the lie that his project is a done deal, when in fact there are dozens of high hurdles for Ratner to get over.

Ratner hopes that the Nets will play well.

Ratner hopes that Vince Carter will be the lynchpin that makes the Nets a contender.

Ratner hopes that the Nets make the playoffs.

Ratner hopes that Richard Jefferson will come back in time for the playoffs.

Ratner hopes that Richard Jefferson and Vince Carter won't compete for Jason Kidd's feeds.

Ratner hopes that hiring a former NASCAR executive will make the Nets more palatable to Jersey fans Ratner spent all of 2004 alienating.

Ratner hopes you buy the lie that his project is a done deal, when in fact there are dozens of high hurdles for Ratner to get over.

Ratner hopes that no one notices how little he understands Brooklyn's culture. Bruce hopes that today's Brooklynites stop being Brooklynites and become suburban strip-mall Chucky Cheese-frequenting Starbucks-drinking lovers of crass NASCAR promotions.

Ratner hopes that the dozens of community groups opposed to his 17-building, one-arena project don't keep fighting his disastrous plan.

Ratner hopes that poor Brooklynites don't notice that 4 of every 5 apartments Ratner's offering will be priced out of reach of families earning the area's median income.

Ratner hopes that Brooklynites fed up with traffic and congestion don't catch onto Forest City Ratner's own estimate that the proposed arena will have 20,000-capactity events five nights every week.

Ratner hopes that Brooklynites believe his lie that FCR controls 80-90% of the land he needs for his arena and 17 buildings -- when it's actually no more than 30%.

Ratner hopes you buy the lie that his project is a done deal, when in fact there are dozens of high hurdles for Ratner to get over.

Ratner hopes that he can convince the MTA to sell him the Atlantic rail yards for next to nothing, the same deal Jets owner Woody Johnson wants the MTA to offer him for the Hudson rail yards in Manhattan.

Ratner hopes that Brooklynites don't notice he can't tell the difference between a Boston Red Sox cap and a Brooklyn Dodgers cap.

Ratner hopes that the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of the wealthy developers and the city managers who are defendants in the Kelo v. City of New London -- because if the SC finds in favor of homeowners who refuse to let the city's eminent-domain abuse take their homes for a private developer, Ratner's Brooklyn project is dead.

Ratner hopes you continue to believe that the area he wants to build on top of is "blighted." It's not -- rents there are skyrocketing, property values are through the roof, and both started happening years before Ratner's project was public knowledge. If the footprint area is "blighted," then so is the Upper West Side, Greenwich Village, Park Slope and Bay Ridge.

Ratner hopes you buy the lie that his project is a done deal, when in fact there are dozens of high hurdles for Ratner to get over.

Ratner hopes that the construction unions don't figure out that his promise of 15,000 construction jobs really means 1,500 jobs a year -- and not 1,500 new ones year after year, either. He also hopes they don't figure out that that meager offering will be further split between unions, minority- and women-owned firms.

Ratner hopes that his project will create precious few jobs for Brooklynites desperate for work, since the vast majority of commercial space is planned for office jobs, not retail -- office jobs that already exist in Manhattan's financial sector.

Ratner hopes you haven't heard his latest figures, which restructure the project to create 1,100 more aparmtents -- adding more luxury and market value units to the thousands already in the plan -- while slashing the number of jobs Ratner's previously promised our communities.

Ratner hopes you don't figure out that this downscaling of jobs demonstrates the utter failure of his ability to bring real jobs and careers to Brooklyn.

Ratner hopes you don't notice that he has no tenants yet for this project -- tenants being the ones who can really offer jobs, not the developer. In fact, FCR and their partner, The New York Times, don't have an anchor tenant yet for the gleaming tower they're buidling together in Times Square.

Ratner hopes you buy the lie that his project is a done deal, when in fact there are dozens of high hurdles for Ratner to get over.

Ratner hopes his racial divisiveness does the trick, dividing Brooklyn neighbors and pitting them against each other -- all to build his buildings.

Ratner hopes that you buy his lies that FCR is the only company that's ever been interested in developing the Atlantic rail yards (which in and of itself doesn't require the taking of peoples' homes and jobs). He hopes you don't know that a few years ago LIU wanted to entirely fund a dorms-and-classrooms development if the city would pay for a platform over the rail yards. The city said "no" to the same platform they're now willing to construct for both Ratner and Johnson. Or that other developers have tried over the years to build atop the Atlantic rail yards.

Ratner hopes you don't know about the UNITY plan, a development for the rail yards that a) doesn't put people out of their homes or take their property, b)is in scale with the neighborhood, c) has the same residential density as Ratner's plan, d) won't hide the Williamsburg Bank Building, e) will provide construction and commericial jobs, f) is 50% low and moderate housing, not the 20% in Ratner's plan, g) connects the communities of Fort Greene and Prospect Heights instead of building a wall between the two like Ratner would, and h) was developed in consultation with the community before the first drawing boards went up.

Ratner hopes you don't realize he designed what he wanted and then took it to the community.

Ratner hopes that the New York City Council continues to abdicate its responsibility to oversee this project.

Ratner hopes that his old Columbia Law School buddy, Governor Pataki, convinces Joe Bruno and Sheldon Silver up in Albany to okay the Jets' insane stadium deal.

Ratner hopes that his other new best friend, Mayor Bloomberg, survives this fall's election.

Ratner hopes you buy the lie that his project is a done deal, when in fact there are dozens of high hurdles for Ratner to get over.

See, here's the problem. Based purely on hopes, Bruce Ratner goes to the city and state and asks for a secretive political process that will pry loose undisclosed but certainly a huge bank vault's worth of public dollars for his private development, all the while making pollyanna promises of jobs, affordable housing and the greatest glory Brooklyn has ever experienced while at the same time destroying the character and physical infrastructure of several neighborhoods, all the while using racially-divisive tactics.

And it's all based on a tangled, convoluted tapesty of hopes. Not facts. Not guarantees.

Hopes.

Hopes run-through with daggers frought with lies, obfuscations and generalizations.

These daggers, no matter how they're aimed, will cause Brooklyn's internal bleeding.

All for one rich man's obsessive quest.

If all you have is hopes, you'll always come up short.
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