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Release: May 8, 2006
Destroy Brooklyn Announces Formation of Advisory Board
Brooklynites Including Rosie Perez, Steve Buscemi, Jonathan Lethem,
Heath Ledger, Jhumpa Lahiri, David Salle, Dan Zanes, Nelson George, Congressman
Major Owens and Supreme Court Eminent Domain Lead Plaintiff Susette Kelo
Join the Fight Against
Bruce Ratner's "Atlantic Yards" Behemoth and For
Sensible, Democratic Development
BROOKLYN, NY -- Question: What
do Brooklyn residents such as author Jonathan Lethem (Fortress
of Solitude), actor and filmmaker Steve Buscemi (Fargo,
The Sopranos), actors Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams
(Brokeback Mountain), actor Rosie Perez (Do
the Right Thing, Lackawanna Blues), artist David Salle,
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri (Interpreter
of Maladies and The Namesake), musician Dan Zanes, filmmaker and cultural
critic Nelson George (Everyday People), author
Jonathan Safran Foer (Everything Is Illuminated),
activist and radio personality Bob Law, and Congressman
Major Owens know about Bruce Ratner's "Atlantic Yards" development
proposal that has compelled them to lend their names and support to the
fight against itand for democratic, sensible, sustainable, and community-based
Answer: That "Atlantic Yards", the largest single-source
development proposal in the history of New York City, would cost
taxpayers at least $1.6 billion; is wholly out of scale and character with
the historic, low-rise residential communities that surround it; has no
local legislative oversight or genuine community input; would create a traffic
nightmare at Brooklyn's crossroads of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues; relies
on an unconstitutional use and abuse of eminent domain; and places the greed
and profit of one wealthy developer above the real needs of the communities
it would affect.
After more than two years of advocating for community-based planning' accountable
and transparent processes, sustainable and contextual development, and fighting
against Forest City Ratner's "Atlantic Yards" proposal, Develop
Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB) today announced the formation of its Advisory
Board. The board is comprised of 33 prominent individualspredominantly
New Yorkers and Brooklynitesfrom diverse fields and areas of expertise,
including the heroic lead plaintiff in the lightning-rod Supreme Court eminent
domain case, Susette Kelo.
Board members' involvement with DDDB will range from lending their names
in support of our efforts to actively working on fundraising, outreach,
political outreach, public relations and education.
The Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn Advisory Board members are:
Mr. Pheeroan akLaff
Jo Andres - Artist
Marshall Brown - Professor of Architecture
Steve Buscemi - Actor, Filmmaker
Dennis Dillon - Chief Executive Minister, The Brooklyn
Dyson - Pastor, Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church
Egan - Author and Journalist
Mr. Sean Elder
- Professor and Journalist
Jonathan Safran Foer - Author
Marian Fontana - Author and Activist. Founder, 9/11
Dr. Mindy Fullilove
- Author and Professor
Peter Galassi - Museum Curator
Mr. Nelson George
- Writer, Filmmaker and Cultural Critic
Christabel Gough - Preservationist
Sheri Holman - Author
Susette Kelo - Homeowner, Lead Plaintiff in Kelo
v. City of New London
Nicole Krauss - Author
Clem Labine - Entrepreneur and Preservationist
Jhumpa Lahiri - Author
Mr. Bob Law
- Entrepreneur and Community Activist
Heath Ledger - Actor
Lethem - Author
Morrone - Author and Literary Historian
Peggy Northrop - Editor, More Magazine
Evelyn Ortner - Preservationist
Major Owens - United States Congressman
Rosie Perez - Actor
David Salle - Artist
Robert Sullivan - Author
Michelle Williams - Actor
Wilson - Artist and Founding Director, Franklin Furnace
Mr. Dan Zanes
David Zirin - Sports Commentator
DDDB spokesman Daniel Goldstein said, "Ratner's ‘Atlantic Yards' proposal
is the largest single-source development proposal in the history
of New York City. Such a massive scheme, with its multitude
of controversies, enormous public cost, potential impacts and ramifications,
deserves much greater scrutiny from our elected representatives, from the
press, and from the public. The astounding diversity and prominence of the
members of our Advisory Board is conclusive evidence of deeply important
issues at stake and of the strength and breadth of the opposition to Ratner's
undemocratic, destructive and costly plan. Mr. Ratner and his political
supporters wish to marginalize us, but with the formation of our Board it
is clear that the opposition is bigger and stronger than ever."
"Our DDDB Advisory Board members were recruited because they predominantly
hail from or reside now in Brooklyn. They respect and appreciate the Brooklyn
that we do, and have chosen to join with us and the community so that our
collective voices resonate even more clearly in the cacophony," said DDDB
President Eric Reschke.
"We are very concerned about the scale and
scope of Ratner's 'Atlantic Yards' proposal. The lack of transparency,
the absence of genuine community input, and the bypassing of political
oversight is very troubling. We are proud to join and support the work
of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn in the struggle they are leading to
protect our communities from proposed overdevelopment and in their advocacy
for sensible, community-friendly development that can work for all of
Jo Andres, Artist and Steve Buscemi, Actor and Filmmaker
"Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Dan Doctoroff is our new Robert
Moses, the unelected destroyer of neighborhoods, the man who gets his
way through eminent domain and public authorities. But who is our new
Jane Jacobs? Will it be citizen groups like Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn?"
Christabel Gough, Preservationist
"To my mind Ratner's plan does not respect what is unique, inherent
and crucial to Brooklyn's landscape and history. The ‘Atlantic Yards'
proposal is completely out of character with the existing scale and mocks
Brooklyn's beautiful diverse cultures. His vision will increase traffic,
pollution and asthma. Heath and I moved to Brooklyn for light and space
and air. If Mr. Ratner lived here he would understand what we love about
it and why we want to preserve our open skies."
- Michelle Williams, Actor
"As a firefighter widow, we cannot overlook the myriad issues concerning
the safety and security of the Ratner project. Not only have skyscrapers
been proven unsafe, but terrorism preparedness is a key issue the development review
process has not addressed. In the past two years, numerous firehouses
have been closed in the area surrounding the 'Atlantic Yards' site, increasing
response times and overwhelming an already depleted fire department."
Marian Fontana, Author and Activist
"Ratner's plan doesn't belong in Fort Greene. It suffers from gigantism
and would cast a long shadow over our community. This is a vibrant, historic neighborhood
that has been steadily growing and improving from within; the last thing
it needs is to be so radically altered in the name of development."
Jhumpa Lahiri, Author
"I've lived in Fort Greene over twenty years and seen it pull itself
up out of the hole red-lining banks and crack dealers put the neighborhood
in. It has grown and matured into one of the most attractive communities
in the city. The ‘Atlantic Yards' development would not only destroy Fort
Greene's progress, but put a big, sun-blocking, traffic-clogging, subway
station-taxing boondoggle amid the beauty of brownstone Brooklyn. It won't
benefit the current residents or enhance the quality of life in the area.
This is a Trump-sized mistake in a borough that doesn't need or deserve
'development‘ like this."
Nelson George, Writer, Filmmaker & Cultural Critic
"The fact that this proposal has proceeded as far as it has without
adequate public debate or vote is just an obscene abuse of power."
David Salle, Artist
"I have signed on to help in the efforts of Develop Don't Destroy
Brooklyn to fight Forest City Ratner's over-development plan for the ‘Atlantic
Yards' project in Brooklyn. The project is an urban planning disaster
and should be stopped in its tracks. For the longest time I wasn't paying
enough attention to this situation. I thought that it was far enough away
from my house that it wouldn't affect me to any great degree. I thought
that it was inevitable. I was completely wrong on both counts!! This is
a critical time for those of us who live in Brooklyn to become engaged.
Sixteen skyscrapers and a sports arena is more than our communities can
handle, but this plan can be defeated!"
Dan Zanes, Children's and Family Musician, International Pop
"Sports is supposed to be most fundamentally about fair play. The
Ratner stadium ploy is not fair play for the people of Brooklyn, but a
battle of power and money against the will of a proud people. Whatever
side wins will say a great deal about the future of Brooklyn and the entire
city of New York."
Dave Zirin, Sports Commentator
"Development that is out-of-scale, conceived without public input,
and built for the well-to-do threatens the health and well-being of the
neighborhood and the city. The Atlantic Yards development is such a project.
We must go back to the drawing boards in order to protect the citizens
of New York."
Dr. Mindy Fullilove, Author and Professor
"The work and mission of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn is truly commendable
and worthy of support and validation. Where injustices exist, the voices
of reason and "rightness" must seek to rise above the chatter. DDDB is
one such voice that shouts with clarity and the kind of integrity and
potency that must drown the billowing public relations noises of a developer
and government leaders dead set on misleading our community, distorting
objections and derailing the very keen government system established to
embrace equitable development."
Reverend Dennis Dillon, Chief Executive Minister, The Brooklyn
"As a person raising a family in Brooklyn, I already expend a fair
amount of effort trying to circumvent the ugly, thoughtless and intrusive
constructions that have resulted from top-down projects (many created
by Bruce Ratner) and are oblivious to the communities in which they've
been placed. The last thing that Brooklyn needs is one more of these.
I will do everything in my power to stop the Atlantic Yards project, not
only because it is a monstrous eyesore that will disrupt and hobble a
community I've grown to love, but because of the bullying, backdoor manner
in which it is being foisted upon a population that doesn't want it, and
would be forced to live with it."
Jenny Egan, Author and Journalist
"New development at the Atlantic Yards must
serve the people and culture that have made downtown Brooklyn the world-class location that
it is today. Instead of selling out for short-term profit, development
at the Atlantic Yards should be an investment for the long term."
Marshall Brown, Architecture Professor and Lead Architect on
the UNITY Community Development Plan
Children's/family music icon Dan Zanes,
in a rare Brooklyn performance, will headline a benefit concert for Develop
Don't Destroy Brooklyn on June 3rd, at 11 AM, at Hanson Place Central United
Methodist Church, 144 St. Felix Street at Hanson Place, Brooklyn. Tickets
can be purchased online at www.dddb.net (TicketWeb)
and can be bought on the day of the event. Tickets: $12 for children (13
and under), $15 for adults. All ages welcome, babies in arms enter free.
Doors will open at 10:15 AM.
DON’T DESTROY BROOKLYN
leads a broad-based community coalition
fighting for development that will unite our communities instead of
dividing and destroying them.
We oppose Forest City Ratner's "Atlantic Yards" proposal in Prospect
Over 5,000 members.