Atlantic Yards Game Plan

Atlantic Yards opponents are trying to forget all the bad things they said about Hakeem Jeffries, the winner in the 57th Assembly race, like that he was a duplicitous panderer who wanted to have it both ways on the 22-acre arena-and-housing complex. It is time to make nice, after all.

“If you tally up [Bill Batson's] and Hakeem’s votes, 88 percent of the vote went to two candidates who opposed the use of eminent domain, according to their stated positions,” said Daniel Goldstein, the opposition’s main spokesman.

Goldstein says he personally hasn’t said anything bad about Jeffries, but fellow-travelling blogs certainly have. Unless you want to interpret Jeffries’ last-minute flip-flop as a long-awaited conversion, which is how Goldstein prefers to see it.

Liar Flier.jpg
The so-called “Liar Flier” from AtlanticYardsVote.blogspot.com

His mailer looks like something that we might have sent out: a ‘no’ symbol over eminent domain, a ‘no’ symbol over Miss Brooklyn, a ‘no’ symbol over smoke-filled backrooms. We feel like we pushed him to that position.”

It’s true. Jeffries’ last flier does bear homage to the same pastiche-and-caricature graphic style that populates opposition art, including these murals by Schellie and Patti Hagan:

Opposition Art.jpg
From NoLandGrab.com

“I don’t mean we were out there trying to bring him around to our position,” Goldstein said. “I think he honestly feels that way. His position moved from before he campaigned to the last week, so we’re going to work with him. It looks like there is a lot of common ground.”

Goldstein admitted that Jeffries’ win does not send as resounding a message that the community opposes Atlantic Yards as a Bill Batson victory would have, but he contended that the New York Times-endorsed corporate lawyer “heard the voice of his constituents” with that last minute flyer. Goldstein attributes Batson’s defeat to Jeffries’ higher profile and huge budget.

“We don’t have quite the opponent in office we would have liked to,” Goldstein conceded. “But it’s better having Hakeem Jeffries as our assemblyman than our current assemblyman.”

The current assemblyman, Roger Green, an ardent supporter of Atlantic Yards, lost his race for higher office. Dare we ask what he plans to do next?

-Matthew Schuerman