Friday, September 08, 2006

Do Atlantic Yards Process Planners Need to Take Public Hearing Management 101?

Reverberations from the "raucous" August 23 Atlantic Yards public hearing in Brooklyn continue, so we're taking in a moment to fill in a bit the rich detail provided by the complaint just filed by the Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods. Clearly, the hearing was not something you'd want to show children in a civics class, unless you wanted to show them what a crude business governance can be.

We will note a handful of the outrages highlighted in the Council of Brooklyn Neighborhood's letter yesterday to Empire State Development Corporation Chair Charles Gargano demanding that no more public meetings are held until ESDC figures out how to run meetings that are fair and don't become quite so unseemly.

We're going to quote a bit from their letter, just because it is so rich in detail that it demands to be read by anyone looking for some insight on the nature of the process:

The ESDC’s decision to hold the sole Public Hearing in a hall with a 900-person capacity was certainly not intended to allow the large affected community to be heard appropriately. Literally hundreds of people were left standing outside once the hearing started...We can obtain affidavits from at least two individuals - one an AP reporter, and both who were near the front of the line - attesting that the hall was half-filled when the doors were finally opened at approximately 4:10 p.m.

In addition, the individuals manning the doors...routinely allowed union members, members of BUILD (an organization funded largely by the Developer), and members of other organizations supporting the project to enter through a side entrance designated for press and electeds.

Chaos ensued in the front of the lines outside as well. We have witnesses who can attest that busloads of children were unloaded and ushered to the head of the line.

Check out the CBN letter in its entirety. It's been posted over at No Land Grab.

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