Friday, August 11, 2006

Hakeem's Inclinations

Where does Hakeem Jeffries stand on "Atlantic Yards?"

The simple answer is: when push comes to shove, Hakeem stands in support of the project.

He has said as much in the most in-depth mainstream news article to date on the race. See Atlantic Yards, Still but a Plan, Shapes Politics in Brooklyn , by Nicholas Confessore, from the July 3rd New York Times :
"I spent six hours at two meetings with him," said Daniel Goldstein, the spokesman for Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, an umbrella organization for community groups opposed to Atlantic Yards. "After six hours, it was unclear to us where he stood on the project."

In late May, Mr. Jeffries took out an advertisement in The Brooklyn Downtown Star (which the Atlantic Yards Report had troupble parsing), a local newspaper, in order to "make sure there was a clear position on where we stood," he said in an interview.

"Essentially, yes to affordable housing, no to eminent domain abuse, no to commercial skyscrapers, and yes to an open process," Mr. Jeffries said.
Now Daniel Goldstein, of course, has his own clear position against the project. But you don’t need to believe him. As the article continues on, his description is played out in Jeffries' tortured circling around until he finally comes to his truth:
His critics found the explanation unilluminating, since the project as currently designed would involve both eminent domain and soaring commercial skyscrapers. Pressed on whether he would support or oppose the project as it stands, Mr. Jeffries first said it was "an interesting question." After some prodding, he said he would "be more inclined to support it than not," in large part because the project includes a large component of below-market housing.
As we said from the start of this post, push has come to shove, and we take Hakeem’s word for it, he supports the project.

If he’d like to contact us or anyone else and clearly state his position we’d be happy to post it, but we believe that we are at the point where middle ground doesn’t seem to exist and for or against are the only positions the public takes seriously. A politician or candidate who can’t come out clearly on the project at this point or suggests unrealistic modifications or conditions for which they will not go to the mat, to our mind, is a supporter of the project.

But let's look at that again:
After some prodding, he said he would "be more inclined to support it than not," in large part because the project includes a large component of below-market housing.

With the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) released, and its identification of numerous unmitigable adverse impacts, is a relatively small amount of truly affordable housing worth it all, or is there a better way to achieve the goal of affordable housing? Blogger/architect Jonathan Cohn suggests the calculation comes out short for the developer. For Hakeem as well.

How much eminent domain would Hakeem accept (he says he’s against it but stops short of opposing the project on that issue)? How much of an undemocratic process does Hakeem accept? How much public financing without political oversight and community input does Hakeem accept? How much environmental degradation does Hakeem accept? How much corruption does Hakeem accept?

Sure, Hakeem has 32 days to change his mind or clarify his view, and we would applaud that. But with three years to think about this project his view shouldn’t be a mystery to anyone, he’d “be more inclined to support it than not.”

What would change his mind at this late date?


At 9:09 PM, Anonymous Jay said...

I will concede that Hakeem has not been as clear as anyone would like him to be. My impression though, after seeing him speak at a recent community board meeting against many aspects of the project was that after the Environmental impact study was released, it became pretty clear to Hakeem just how flawed this project is.

So with that said, is Batson clearly the Anti-Ratner candidate? Sure. But I wouldn't go so far as to say Hakeem supports the project.

At 10:17 PM, Blogger atlanticyardsvoterguide said...

Well until we hear Hakeem say he opposes the project, he supports it. Granted he has stated valid crticisms, but he still supports it.

It should not have taken the DEIS to know that the project will likely have disasterous impacts.

At 9:08 AM, Blogger Dope on the Slope said...

The question should always very clearly be stated as "Do you support THIS proposal as it CURRENTLY stands?"

Not "Do you support affordable housing?" or "Do you support FCR?" or "Do you support development of Atlantic Yards?"

Hakeem can't equivocate on this question. There is no "on the other hand." You either support the project described in the DEIS and the process, or you don't.

There are no do-overs folks, and the only possible relief is in the courts if this thing goes through.

At 2:39 PM, Anonymous SteveFtGreene said...

I was at the recent CB2 meeting where Hakeem spoke seemingly aganst the project. But I did notice something else: There were sign-up sheets for everyone who wished to speak. There as a "For" and an "Against" sheet. Hakeem signed on the "For" sheet.

Also, if you paid close attention to what he's said, he states that he is against eminent domaing "for an arena".

This is why people hate lawyers.

At 2:49 PM, Blogger atlanticyardsvoterguide said...

What DOPE WROTE is correct and what we say in the post. At this late date picking around the edges are within parts of the project is meaningless.

Are you for or against this proposal is the only question and answer or non-answer that means anything now.

At 12:07 AM, Anonymous Miss Lee said...

Hakeem Jeffries was flyering outside my building on Ocean Ave. early one morning a couple of weeks ago: cars were bumper-to-bumper in both directions, honking, blocking traffic to make the red light out of the park, exhaust fumes thick in the air. I broached him on the subject of the "stadium" and needed only to point out to the traffic jam to illustrate my point which was my neighborhood is already chocking, we are between the Prospect expressway and the "stadium," and the "stadium" is between us and the city, where do you think the new traffic is going to go? His answer was that the rise in the price of gas is gonna take care of that problem! On the subject of the skyscrapers, his answer was so circumvoluted that I still have not been able to figure out where he stands even though I was intently listening...

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