Sunday, September 24, 2006

Brooklyn Speaks Remains Mute

We've checked back on the Brooklyn Speaks website a few times since its announcement--they were supposed to go live yesterday--if only because we're curious to see what they're up to. As of nine o'clock this morning (Sunday), they're still mute. Although the site's been updated to say they're going live today. (Whether this is because they're still getting their act together or they want to make the Monday morning papers, we don't know.)

Why the interest? Why does it matter? It's always interesting and it always matters when a player enters the game in the fourth quarter, especially one that might be angling to negotiate a change in the rules. Particularly one that claims the name "Brooklyn Speaks," which would seem to include a lot of people who might not want Brooklyn Speaks to speak for them. Which is why we're anxious to see what they're saying.

In this case, we're especially interested in seeing what Brooklyn Speaks is saying and to what extent the groups that are hopping on the bandwagon are repudiating stands they have taken earlier or picking fights with other community groups. Of clear interest here is the group's apparent desire to avoid the messy issue of eminent domain and to, de facto, endorse the end run of the local planning process by vesting control of the project in Albany.

We have said it several times since word surfaced of this effort--which apparently was organized quietly, without letting all the groups working the Atlantic Yards fight in on the party: United fronts work best when opposing megaprojects. Conversely, a divide and conquer strategy works to the benefit of the opposition. When Jane Jacobs was fighting the expressway that Robert Moses would have built across Lower Manhattan, the opposition gathered traction through unity, not civil war. It's an imperfect analogy, at best, but manages to make the broader point.

Maybe, Brooklyn will decide to speak later today so we can see if what they're saying is a good thing. Or not.

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