Friday, August 18, 2006

Hillary Clinton Does Quick Flip Flop on Brooklyn Bridge Park

One Bklyn Bridge Park

It seems like only yesterday--well, last week--that there were numerous headlines about Sen. Hillary Clinton's opposition to the luxury highrises that would finance Brooklyn Bridge Park. She has done a quick flip-flop or, at least, a half-gainer, according to an article by Dana Rubenstein in this week's Brooklyn Papers. The Senator's original comments were reported in last week's Brooklyn Papers. Clinton had called the plan “disingenuous,” saying, “It’s not luxury housing we need. We absolutely need affordable housing.”

Rubenstein picks up the narrative:
But this Wednesday, Clinton sent a painstakingly nuanced letter to the Brooklyn Bridge Development Corporation — the state agency overseeing the project — suddenly expressing support for the self-sustainability requirement.

“Although I believe public revenues should support public assets … like parks and their maintenance, I understand that cities across the nation, including New York, have had to struggle to find dedicated revenue sources to fund park maintenance,” wrote Clinton.

Going further, Clinton also took at face value a state contention that the amount of luxury housing could decrease if revenue from it exceeds current projections — a prospect that some opponents of the state plan believe is laughable.

“I was joking about how long it would take all of the Brooklyn elected officials to get to Hillary [to make her change her position]— I was guessing it would be less than 10 days,” said Roy Sloane, a Cobble Hill community leader who was involved in an earlier park design, but opposes the current plan.

“I think every mayor and governor across America will look at this project and say, ‘Look, all we have to do is add a couple of luxury apartments, and we can get parks off our tax rolls,’” added Sloane.
Today's Daily News also has a story about Sen. Clinton's flip on the plan. Jotham Sederstrom writes:
Under fire from Brooklyn Democrats, Sen. Hillary Clinton has backed off her criticism of plans to build 1,200 luxury condos in the controversial Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The housing would provide "an ongoing revenue stream" to maintain the park, Clinton (D-N.Y.) said she had learned since her initial comments when she had concerns about the housing.

"I do not support legal action to oppose the park," she wrote in an Aug. 16 letter to Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corp. President Wendy Leventer,

Clinton's reversal on Wednesday outraged opponents of the plan, who have charged building private high-rise condos in the 1.2-mile public park is illegal.

"We think she's been grossly misled by her political cronies and handlers," said Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund President Judi Francis. "I think she spoke the truth at first, and I think she spoke from the heart."

Borough President Marty Markowitz, Millman and Brooklyn Bridge Conservancy President Marianna Koval spoke to Clinton staffers about her comments, sources confirmed.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Eliot Spitzer has said he is "open" to the plan to finance open space with luxury housing.


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