Sunday, September 10, 2006

God, Hoops, and Hakeem

We have an earwitness report that campaiging and preaching at Brown Memorial Baptist Church in Clinton Hill today Hakeem Jeffries said:

You have a God-given right to go to a ball game in your own neighborhood.
(Reports are now coming in that it was Reverend Al Sharpton, campaiging with Hakeem, who said this at their church stop.
More reports that the Hakeem Jeffries entourage, and we are not sure if it was Hakeem or Reverend Sharpton, said:
Some folks in this neighborhood want to keep you from being able to watch basketball in your own neighborhood.)

Now, we love hoops as much as the next person. We cried when Starks went dry in Game 7. But we don't think God has got anything to do with ball or hoops at all. Which is interesting because "Atlantic Yards" really has got not much to do with hoops either. We also know that nobody is trying to stop anyone from watching basketball.

But much more interesting is how this utterly contradicts Hakeem's two recent mailers co-opting the fight against "Atlantic Yards": the one with the bullet point about "protecting our communities from the abuse of eminent domain" and the one which says "I do not support the use of eminent domain by a private developer to build a basketball arena."

Let's be clear on one thing that some people seem to be having trouble understanding. Bruce Ratner cannot build an arena OR his luxury housing at his chosen location (which is an incredibly valuable piece of real estate, thus the eminent domain) without the use of eminent domain. Simple as that.

Now, we wonder, who trumps who in Hakeem's world: God or the abused power of monarchs? Does the God-given right to watch ball outweigh Hakeem's purported position against the "use of eminent domain by a private developer to build a basketball arena."

Bill Batson has no such contradictions. He has consistently been against the use and abuse of eminent domain and its threatened use for "Atlantic Yards" from the beginning. He has also led the fight against the use of eminent domain that would destroy and Underground Railroad site in Downtown Brooklyn.

In God We Trust. Hakeem not.


At 7:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At 7:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at brown today and hakeem did say something along those lines, but he also said after that statement that he wanted to represent the district to ensure that the congregants of brown could afford to live in the district where the ball games would be played. its unfair to take the comment out of context. Also, rev miller is against the project and has publicly endorsed hakeem from the day of his announcement and is on a mailer for hakeem with a testimonial (I received it in the mail), so you should be accurate with your reporting.

At 8:26 PM, Blogger atlanticyardsvoterguide said...

thanks. We are well aware that Reverend Clinton Miller has endorsed Hakeem AND is against the project. We have no problem with that, especially as they are old friends.

BUT, as stated, we have a big problem with Hakeem talking about being "against eminent domain for an arena" but for the "right" to watch basketball. Unfortunately, with the Ratner plan, in order to build an arena, eminent domain must be used.

which was the point of our post.

We had no intention of being accurate. its true, Reverend Miller opposes Atlantic Yards. Hakeem Jeffries doesn't.

At 8:28 PM, Blogger atlanticyardsvoterguide said...


"We had no intention of being accurate"

was meant to be:

"We had no intention of being INACCURATE."

At 8:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I just think that whoever gave you the information should have given you the full context of the remark because the way you wrote it, it implies that hakeem was saying something that he hasn't always said. If your point is to say that eminent domain must be used to build out the project, then okay, but to put quotes around the statement is irresponsible. Look, I haven't necessarily decided on who I'm going to vote for. Truthfully, I like hakeem because I find him intelligent and he knows the district very, very well, having grown up in central brooklyn. And he was raised in the same church, the same baptist church where he was baptized and married...and that's important to me (my mom has photos of hakeem as a 6 year old boy in a church play for christmas). And the fact that my pastor has strongly endorsed him is obviously a plus. Batson at times seems a bit aloof to me. I've only spoken with him at church (he has also spoken at brown in the past) and he just seemed uncomfortable in his skin. But, he's worked in albany, so that's a plus. And, even though I don't always agree with his statements, he is passionate, that's for sure. But, I'd like it if my legislator could sit down at a table and negotiate a better deal for the community. Not just for atlantic yards, but for any other issue that may arise. When I saw batson that time at church, he just seemed unwilling to move from his position of "no atlantic yards" and I don't think that, as a legislator who is supposed to represent everyone in the district, he should have such a hard line in the sand. But tuesday is just around the corner so I'll have to decide.

At 11:55 PM, Blogger atlanticyardsvoterguide said...

thanks for the thoughtful comment. we have spent time with both Hakeem and Bill. We think they are both good men. We are displeased with Hakeem's equivocating over his Yards position. We also take issue with what you say. We think that if the time comes to "negotiate" on behalf of the community over Atlantic Yards or anything else, that Batson will be the stronger negotiater. Both candidates know the district very well, though we'd argue that as an activist who has been in government, labor, the arts and education, Batson has a depth of knowledge of the district, Brookln and Albany that Hakeem does not have.

Both are intelligent men. Batson has more passion and compassion from our knowledge of the two.

On Atlantic Yards it is our view that that project, borne from a corrupt process, needs to be scrapped and a new process and development plan started all over again.

Its our point of view that negotiating with a corrupt process will not reform that process.

At 11:32 PM, Anonymous Erik Engquist said...

How could Batson have negotiated when he refuses to budge from his position? I could see voting for him if you don't want to negotiate with Ratner, but not if you do.

Also, it's hard to imagine him knowing the district better than Hakeem Jeffries, who's lived there his whole life (though he was redistricted out of it in 2002). Batson was in Park Slope until fairly recently.

Erik Engquist


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