… but is he contrite?
His statement after the jump.
June 5, 2006
Statement from Daniel Goldstein
I apologize for the unfortunate remarks I personally made in a heated email exchange with reporter Ben Smith; an exchange wholly unrelated to his article today. My remarks only came from me and have nothing to do with the organization I work with or our supporters. They were not said in any way at all in the name of Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn.
It’s unfortunate that Mr. Smith took me wholly out of context. I did not say that African-American supporters of Forest City Ratner’s proposal are tools of their “white masters.” I certainly realize that the remarks I made were racially charged and easily misconstrued. This misrepresentation must not distract from the numerous deep concerns and issues that swirl around the “Atlantic Yards” proposal.
It is also unfortunate that supporters of the proposal would prefer to publicly throw accusations at Ratner’s opponents than talk about the merits or lack of merits of the proposed project.
Having said that, it is true that 7 of the 8 Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) signers have admitted to being paid by Forest City Ratner and all are contractually obliged to speak in favor of and promote his proposal in the media and in the public. I made no mention to Mr. Smith of African-Americans, rather I referred specifically to the organizations BUILD and ACORN which have admitted to being paid by Ratner and receiving donations from Ratner respectively.
The only individuals who have made statements in the press release about Mr. Smith’s article are those that have supported the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) from day one, and most stand to gain financially from the project. From the beginning, Ratner has tried to divide our communities and has tried to turn this struggle into a white vs. black issue, when there are people of all races who adamantly oppose this project. Now, when the opposition has gained such strength that Ratner is frequently on the defensive, those who see their interest in the project dwindling are making a last ditch effort to discredit the large and ever growing opposition. That opposition refuses to allow anyone of any race to destroy the beloved Brooklyn communities that people all races have worked so hard to grow.
Neither I nor anyone else who has joined forces against the project has any intention of allowing Ratner or his supporters to distract the public from the real issues that we have been fighting to have heard for well over two years: the fact that Ratner has made a sweetheart, backroom deal with a few select politicians to take 22 acres of prime real estate without any public input or any legislative oversight; that Ratner has obfuscated and misled on the facts; that Ratner plans to utilize and abuse eminent domain for his own private gain, and expects the taxpayers of this state to give nearly $2 billion dollars to accomplish his own purposes-all of this without any legislative vote for the largest development proposal from a single developer in the history of New York City.
We welcome healthy open debate on the issues surrounding the project with any of the leaders who are now challenging my motives and the motives of project opponents. Healthy open debate is something that has been sorely lacking since this project was announced in 2003 and has been shunned by the developer. The lack of open debate continues to be denied to the public that will be so greatly affected by any development over the rail yards.
The core issue at hand is this: as we move forward as a borough and city, will it be in the name of developer driven profits, and the destruction of neighborhoods or in the name of truly enhancing the quality of life, the affordability and livability for all of the people of Brooklyn?