Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Happy Days for Dems in DC, but What About Brooklyn?

It's the happiest morning after in years for Democrats, as they have finally managed to put an end to the total Republican control of Washington. The House is back in Democratic hands and the Senate is still hanging in the balance, with the final outcome contingent on sure-to-come recounts. Dems also scored a clean sweep in Albany.

What does this mean for Brooklyn? We're tempted to say not much in terms of the projects that really matter. Governor-Elect Eliot Spitzer supports the most contentious projects with state involvement, namely the Atlantic Yards Proposal and the Brooklyn Bridge Park development. While he may tinker at the margins of both, he does not seem likely to work major changes in either. Candidates with opposing positions were dispatched during the September primary.

Long-term change, however, is a real possibility. A shift in Albany that would create a real state affordable housing strategy would have significant implication locally. A move toward more responsive state agencies (like the Empire State Development Corp.) would also have signficant implications. (Whether the changes come in time to impact ongoing projects is another matter.) A push to do something about horrors like the Greenpoint Oil Spill or to better enforce environmental regs as more and more developments go up on environmentally-challenged sites are also possibilities.

Norman Oder in Atlantic Yards Report offers the following insight today (among many):
...Old ways of doing business will change, and the state's many public authorities, including enormous ones like the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), will face new oversight and perhaps consolidation.

But will Spitzer heed Ron Shiffman's call, repeated yesterday, for a time-out on major development projects like Atlantic Yards and Columbia University's Manhattanville expansion?

Spitzer's campaign told The Real Deal that Spitzer seeks more transparency for the Atlantic Yards project, which is proceeding under the auspices of the ESDC. What that would mean exactly is unclear.
Of course, broad Federal policies that impact life locally--from the minimum wage and spending on critical programs like affordable--will change too.

Even changes at the margins could have some impact on Brooklyn projects like Atlantic Yards if they go forward.

2 Comments:

Blogger Gringcorp said...

I hate to bang on cynically about it, but Spitzer's family fortune is in real estate. I think he'll be good for shaking up huge parts of the city's government, but I'd be gobsmacked if much happened to the way these developments get done.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Sunset Parker said...

One way this election (not to mention Marty Markowitz' huge victories running on a single issue: bringing a team to Brooklyn)demonstrates once and for all that the vast majority of Brooklynites favor the Atlantic Yards and bringing the Nets to Brooklyn is that of all the Green Party Candidates running in the election, the one who got the least votes was the one running against Spitzer. The other Green Party Candidates got a hundred thousand votes each in NY -- running against less secure Democrat candidates (still looking online for Brooklyn numbers), but Malachy McCourt (the guy running against Spitzer) only got 40,000.

Spitzer was a known proponent of the Atlantic Yards. It was also very obvious he was going to win. One way Brooklynites could have spoken up about their feelings about the Atlantic Yards (the ones against it) would have been to vote for the Green Party Candidate (who I actually did vote for, though for different reasons) for Governor, versus the guy who supports the project. They didn't.

This is an honest question, not meant to antagonize anyone, but do the anti Atlantic Yards folk actually believe that the majority of Brooklyn voters/residents would vote against bringing a team here and building this housing if it were put to some sort of referendum? (an argument could be made that this and previous elections serve as that very referendum and that the people of Brooklyn have spoken on this issue- something you point out today and on previous posts.)

I'm not here crowing or trying to piss anyone off and have a lot of respect for you and your blog (best in Brooklyn, most would say)but considering candidates who run on a purely pro Atlantic Yards ticket (Markowitz) win big and ones who run on a purely anti Atlantic Yards ticket (see this year's democratic primaries) lose big, doesn't democracy seem to be speaking here?

3:45 PM  

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