Testimony by the National Taxpayers Union at the May 4th City Council Hearings.

NY Daily News Sports Columnist, Mike Lupica, Tears Apart the Ratner Proposal


A lot on his mind: NJ honcho takes aim at Nets, Jets and mayor over arena controversies
Michael O'Keefe July 11, 2004 The New York Daily News

Interview with George Zoffinger, president of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, who has led the state in resisting demands from team owners to subsidize arena contracts with taxpayer money: "Brooklyn is not a deal about the Nets. It's a real-estate transaction."


Arena foes smell a Ratner

Mike Lupica June 26, 2004 The New York Daily News

"A huge real-estate deal, riding into Brooklyn behind a Jason Kidd-led fast break, right through neighborhoods we are supposed to hand over to a developer like Ratner."

Mike Lupica does his take on the economic analysis of Ratner's plan and warns tickets buyers that Ratner "didn't want the Nets because he loves basketball. What Ratner is trying to do is pull off one of the sweetheart real-estate deals in the history of this city. To do it, he needed a sports team. We have gone over this before. The Nets were handy."


The Price of Ratner's Hoopla: Brooklyn Stadium Would be a Money Loser for NYC

Johannah Rodgers June, 2004 The Brooklyn Rail

"The much-anticipated report on the financial feasibility of the proposed Atlantic Yards project was released on May 1, 2004, and the message was not only stark, but considering the fact that the study was commissioned by Ratner & Co., rather startling: THE PROPOSED BROOKLYN BASKETBALL STADIUM IS NOT A GOOD INVESTMENT FOR THE CITY AND STATE OF NEW YORK."

How is this possible? This article reviews some startling finds in Andrew Zimbalist's report.


New Brooklyn Arena is a 'Nets' Loss for City
Neil deMause May 25, 2004 Newsday

"If the arena is a dog and the housing a winner, why not ditch the hoops and carpet the rail yards with apartment buildings?"

Neil de Mause, co-author of "Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Profit," examines the absurd details of the report released by Ratner's own "hand-picked economic consultant" and explains how the purchase of the Nets figures into Ratner's plan to bolster his "faltering retail empire."


Council fouls out: Community residents not allowed to speak until press and most officials leave hearing
Deborah Kolben May 8, 2004 The Brooklyn Papers

After battling to have their voices heard in an official public forum, community members were left fuming this week when a City Council hearing on the Atlantic Yards arena proposal left them waiting nearly five hours to testify.


ESPN Page 2: Should We the People Ever Build a Stadium for these Millionaire Owners
ESPN "Writer's Bloc" December 29, 2003 ESPN.com

What usually happens is a couple of rich guys make a pile of money for themselves by selling naming rights to the arena to a corporation that leaves out the name of the city completely. They then sell the team, or raise ticket prices, or ask for more tax money. There are never more jobs, there's not much growth outside the stadium (really, who wants to live near a stadium parking lot?), and there are awful traffic jams. Just ask the people of Milwaukee, Cincinnati or Houston what a boon their new parks have been.


Arena costs us 100s of millions. Ratner exec says taxpayers will pay
Deborah Kolben May 22, 2004 The Brooklyn Papers

Pressed by Manhattan Councilwoman Christine Quinn at the May 5 hearing about how much public money would be needed to build Atlantic Yards, Forest City Ratner Vice President James Stuckey was evasive, first saying only that it would be less than $1 billion and more than $10 million.


A NEW GROWTH WAR
JULIA VITULLO- MARTIN May 24, 2004 New York Post

New Yorkers are beginning to understand this concept of economic infertility - and no neighborhood wants it in their backyard. It's a new, beneficent form of NIMBY: "No economic infertility in my backyard."


Letter to Ratner - May 2004
Johannah Rodgers May, 2004 The Brooklyn Rail

And since, Mr. Ratner, it is clear that you are not very responsive to arguments about community values, I hope that this discussion about financial values has at least made you question whether you and your shareholders really want to invest here in Brooklyn.


Taxpayers will lose on new sports arenas
Raymond J. Keating March 30, 2004 Newsday

This comes on the heels of another proposal recently floated to build a new arena in Brooklyn so the Nets could leave the Meadowlands as well. If these sports dreams become reality, is New York the economic and political winner, and New Jersey the loser? Hardly.


Nets of Plenty: Bruce Ratner wants to turn public funds into private equity with a little help from his friends.
Dan Neel Feb 10, 2004 New York Press

"By leveraging hype over the New Jersey Nets, Ratner wants to use millions in public funds in a clever, pay-us-later bid to execute an unprecedented land grab." The best article yet on the shady finances of this deal.


The Nets Arena Is Not The Real Issue In Development Of Downtown Brooklyn
Tom Angotti April, 2004 Gotham Gazette

Should downtown Brooklyn get a 19,000 seat basketball arena designed by world famous architect Frank Gehry? Developer Bruce Ratner, who proposes to build the arena for the Nets, a team he hopes to own, seems to want everyone to believe this is the question Brooklynites and their elected officials have to answer. Ratner is a principal in Forest City Ratner, downtown Brooklyn's biggest office developer. Forest City built the Metrotech complex in the 1980s and most recently the Atlantic Center Mall.


Ratner Rules: Brooklyn Nets Plan Spares Developer Shaya Boymelgreen's Project
Matthew Schuerman April 5, 2004 The Village Voice

The proposed site plan for Bruce Ratner's central Brooklyn development looks like a saber, with the Nets' basketball arena near the point, where Atlantic and Flatbush avenues intersect. The blade extends two blocks wide and half a mile long to the southwest, much of it made up of office and residential towers. But the sharp edge of the knife has a notch in it, a five-acre parcel that won't be touched.


Protesters need to adjust focus
Ed Weintrob May 22, 2004 The Brooklyn Papers

The soulless utopia Bruce Ratner would impose won't please and won't generate a widening swath of prosperity. For evidence, consider Metrotech and its immediate environs; compare that massively subsidized dead zone in our midst to what has happened throughout such Brownstone Brooklyn neighborhoods as Boerum Hill and Carroll Gardens, just slightly removed from that "urban campus".


Ratner's Brooklyn Nets Blinding the Community?
Vernon Jones February 8, 2004 NYCBasketball.com

The major problem with this half-baked rally is that the kids were used again and anyone that had anything to do with that rally MUST be ashamed of themselves. This is worse than the way the sneaker companies use the kids. Those who supported this rally and anyone who posted this rally on websites should send a written apology to each and every one of those kids and their parents, NOW!!


On Dean St., Ratner a rat
Mike Lupica January 26, 2004 New York Daily News

"This isn't about a basketball team replacing the Dodgers all this time later. This isn't about the Nets being some sort of link to playground basketball. Give me a break. This is about political cronyism, developer greed, and what we believe is unconstitutional action against taxpayers."


Brooklyn Papers: Brooklyn's identity safe without the 'Jersey Nets
Neil Sloane January 31, 2004 Brooklyn Papers

We're getting a basketball team we never asked for to replace a baseball team most of us don't remember - and that's supposed to restore an identity we already havet ask the people of Milwaukee, Cincinnati or Houston what a boon their new parks have been.


'Net' Effect: Ratner Scores Big With Our Dough
Neil deMause January 27, 2004 Newsday

Money is the last thing developer Ratner likes to talk about. In public he's preferred to wax rhapsodic about future hoops glory, while claiming his arena would be "almost entirely privately financed."
Perhaps "almost" has a different meaning to real-estate moguls, though, because, according to published reports, Ratner's arena scheme for the junction of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues would be awash in taxpayer money: an estimated $150 million in city cash to relocate the existing LIRR tracks; the donation of air rights over the MTA's rail yards that might be worth as much as half a billion dollars (money that could otherwise go to holding down bus and subway fares); plus $435 million in tax increment financing to pay for the arena's construction.


'Ratner Opens Pandora's Box...Can He Deal With What's Inside?
Tracey Gaven January 17, 2004 Hoopsworld.com

And while I have not actually stepped foot in this neighborhood, I have had the honor of these eight people sharing a piece of their life with me, both in pictures and in words that invoke mental pictures.


Auto Destruct
Gersh Kuntzman January 28, 2004 New York Post

A new analysis of Downtown Brooklyn's traffic shows the borough's major construction proposals - which include office complexes, warehouse-type stores, shopping centers, a hotel expansion, a movie studio and a new arena for the NBA Nets - would add more than 174,000 cars daily to already overcrowded streets.
"We already have gridlock, but the cumulative result of all these projects will be double- and triple-gridlock," said Brian Ketcham, an engineer with Community Consulting Services, which analyzes traffic and transit impacts.


Arena concerns hit home - Net effect of housing will be road woes, say foes
Hugh Son February 29, 2004 New York Daily News

Crowded intersection of Flatbush, Atlantic and Fourth Aves. will see 9,000 more cars and 40,000 more transit users per day if the Atlantic Yards project goes through.


No Respect For Downtown Brooklyn Residents
Maurice Gumbs January, 2004 Our Time Press

Even if the project had been perfect, and improved the community in every way, Bruce Ratner and the politicians owed these residents the respect of consulting with them through the officials who represent them. Ratner would never dare to pull a stunt like this in the communities where Gifford Miller, or Mike Bloomberg have their homes. It just wouldn't happen, and it shouldn't be happening in downtown Brooklyn.

This Borough President wasn't elected because of substance. He was elected because he is a great entertainer.


Ratner in search of terra firma
Sid Dorfman January 28, 2004 Newark Star-Ledger

There is a revolt today in this country against entrepreneurs sacking the public treasury for sports arenas and then eventually leaving them behind for a new aggression elsewhere.


Arena: Not a Done Deal 'Til People Sing
February, 2004 Our Time Press

"The politicians team up with wealthy businessmen on projects that are sold to the public as engines for economic development", said former Yankee pitcher and author Jim Bouton. Bouton was speaking in the back of Freddy's, a prohibition-era bar on Dean Street.... "But all economic studies have shown that this is not true and in fact, jobs are lost and replaced with jobs at a lower level. The real jobs go to the players and the owners. But the arena overall has a negative impact on the community.BROOKLYN DODGE

NYC Councilwoman Letitia James February 8, 2004 New York Post

MAGICIANS know that the best way to fool an audi ence is to get them looking in one direction while you do your real business elsewhere. The same holds true for the conjuring trick that mega-developer Bruce Ratner is trying to play on New York City.


A City With Five Sports Arenas?
Errol A. Cockfield Jr. January 25, 2004 Newsday

But last week critics and independent analysts questioned whether the city and state can afford to support such projects at a time when they are struggling to balance their books. The state is facing a $5.1-billion deficit, while the city's budget gap is $1.8 billion.
"It's not realistic at all," said E.J. McMann, a senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute, a public policy think tank. "It's politicians spending other people's money to bask in the glow of sports team."


Putting up a fight: Jim Bouton warns Brooklyn not to build arena with taxpayers' money
Michael O'Keeffe January 17, 2004 Daily News

Bouton reminded those in the crowd - most of whom vehemently oppose real estate magnate Bruce Ratner's plans to build a Frank Gehry-designed Brooklyn arena for the New Jersey Nets - that $16 billion has been spent in the last 20 years on new sports facilities across America, mostly tax dollars that he says could have been put to to better use.


60 Minutes: Eminent Domain
December 23, 2003

"It is fundamentally wrong, and contrary to the Constitution for the government to take property from one private owner, and hand it over to another private owner, just because the government thinks that person is going to make more productive use of the land," says Bullock.
"Everyone knows that property can be taken for a road. But nobody thinks that property can be taken to give it to their neighbor or the large business down the street for their economic benefit," adds Berliner. "People are shocked when they hear that this is going on around the country."


A Better Idea...
Theodore Hamm February, 2004 The Brookyn Rail

Can someone explain to me how buying the New Jersey Nets automatically gives Bruce Ratner purchase on the future of downtown Brooklyn? This is decidedly not what democracy looks like.


Time$cam: With government help, the New York Times moves in on Times Square businesses.

Deroy Murdock October 29, 2002 National Review Online

The U.S. and state constitutions allow officials to take private property for public purposes, provided the owners receive "just compensation." This traditionally meant that if private property obstructed a highway, military base or other government project, its owner could be bought out for the public's benefit. The Founding Fathers never envisioned government abusing this authority to transfer one owner's hard-earned land to the private portfolio of another.


Ratner, BP Say Thanks, But No Thanks To Barron`s East New York Invite.
John Doyle 02-13-2004 Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Barron (D-East New York) who recently announced his candidacy for mayor, and an outspoken critic of the downtown arena plan, challenged developer and NBA Nets franchise team owner Bruce Ratner to consider East New York as a possible home for the arena during a public forum last week sponsored by opponents of the arena.


Tha Biz:
Adam Bulger February, 2004 New York Sports Express

The article paints a rosy picture of Ratner-he didn't really want to own an NBA team, you see, he wanted to help the community. During his "I bought the Nets celebration," Ratner was quoted as saying "This is not only about basketball. It's about a vision, about housing, about jobs, and an urban landscape we can all be proud of." The article ended by dismissively noting the presence of a cluster of protesters who demanded Ratner "abandon his dream."


Get the DDDb Information Sheet

Read an Independent Economic Analysis of the Cost to Taxpayers of the Ratner Plan
Executive Summary: Spanish | Chinese

Read the Forest City Ratner commissioned Estimated Fiscal Impact of the Atlantic Yards Project on the New York City and New York State Treasuries written by Dr. Andrew Zimbalist.

 


Untitled Document
Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn's
Position Statement


For ALL the latest news, visit:
No Land Grab.org

Arena M.O.U.s

Memorandums of Understanding have been signed with NYC and NY State.
MOU with NYC & NYS
MTA Letter to Forest City Ratner

Develop-Don't Destroy Brooklyn is advocating to bring greater transparency, government accountability and community involvement to the development of the Atlantic Yards area in Brooklyn. We challenge Bruce Ratner's proposed Nets Arena and 17 Highrise development plan for the area.
What is Ratner proposing?

People in Brooklyn may want the Nets, but no one wants a secret, taxpayer- subsidized sweetheart deal forced on Brooklyn’s communities. We want a development plan that's good for Brooklyn, not simply good for Mr. Ratner and his friends.
What's wrong with Ratner's proposal?

Develop-Don’t Destroy Brooklyn leads a broad-based community coalition fighting for development that will unite our communities instead of dividing and destroying them.
DDDb's list of achievements.



Wednesday, March 16, 12pm. Forest City-Atlantic Yards Informational Luncheon. Gargiulo's Restaurant 2911-15 West 15th Street, Coney Island. POSTPONED.POSTPONED.

The Chamber of Commerce event is billed as "A presentation to formally introduce the Atlantic Yards project to businesses in the outer parts of the borough.  The presentation will cover how the project will benefit all Brooklyn businesses."

Come, let them know the reality and have some good food.

Chamber Members and Non Chambers Members Free.  Contact: Yuk Ling Lo 718-875-1000 ext. 116. More info.

Wednesday, March 16, 7:30pm. Thy Neighbor's House: A Forum on Inclusionary Zoning and Affordable Housing in New York City.
Old First Reformed Church
126 Seventh Avenue (@ Carroll Street) Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Good zoning laws can preserve housing for poor and middle-income people. We want to maintain the economic and cultural diversity of our neighborhoods. What's the way forward? Is there hope? How can we do this?

Featuring Brad Lander, Director, Pratt Institute Center for Community & Environmental Development (PICCED) and David Yassky, New York City Council Member, 33rd District

Sponsored by the Social Action Committee of Old First Reformed Church, the Fifth Avenue Committee and Park Slope Neighbors. .

Thursday, March 17, 7pm. CENTRAL BROOKLYN INDEPENDENT DEMOCRATS: Candidate Forum. Park Slope United Methodist Church, 6th Ave. & 8th Street in the basement (enter through the garden gate on 6th Ave). Candidate Forum
Invited candidates:
-- Gifford Miller, candidate for Mayor

-- Norman Siegel, candidate for Public Advocate

The public is welcome to monthly Club meetings. Refreshments will be served. More info.

PRINT IT! PUT IT IN YOUR WINDOW!
Download the SUPERSIZE POSTER now.
Yup, that's Ratner's plan for residential Brooklyn. (pdf file)

The UNTY Development Plan initiated by Councilwoman Letitia James (PDF)



No Land Grab.net: Archives of news articles and letters from the community

Fans For Fair Play.com: Challenging Bruce Ratner's Brooklyn Atlantic Yards Project

New York Games.org: News and Views on the New York Olympic Bid/And Ratner's Arena Proposal

Field of Schemes: The Source on Stadium Scams/Schemes

Dope on the Slope Blog: Chronicling the Brooklynization of two Tennessee hillbillies

DailyHeights.com: Good Blogging Coverage of Ratner and Real Estate

www.DANDOCTOROFF.com: 'Nuff Said.

Olympic Bloomdoggle

Eminent Domain Watch: A Blog About Eminent Domain in the News

Tenant.net: The online resource for residential tenants


NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS
NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMBERS
NEW YORK STATE SENATORS
Senator Velmanette Montgomery's Website
GOVERNOR GEORGE PATAKI
MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG
BOROUGH PRESIDENT MARTY MARKOWITZ
NEW YORK STATE CONGRESSMEN/WOMEN
SENATOR CHARLES SCHUMER
SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON

Go to: Community Board 2  6  8

Click to Download this Postcard (PDF)
 


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