Earlier this afternoon, a diverse cast of politicians gathered in front of the Brooklyn House of Detention on Atlantic Avenue to protest the Bloomberg administration’s plan to reopen and expand the downtown jail. (It was the Bloomberg administration that closed it back in 2003, due to high costs).
Councilman and city comptroller candidate David Yassky, comptroller and likely mayoral candidate Bill Thompson, State Senators Marty Connor and Velmanette Montgomery, Assemblywoman Joan Millman, and Randy Mastro, a deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani, were among the rally participants. They all gave the current administration an earful for creating what they portray as a serious impediment to the goal of creating a financial hub in Brooklyn.
“This is a classic case of bureaucracy doing what makes sense for the bureaucrats but what does not make sense for the city of New York,” said Yassky, who is often allied with the mayor.
“We’re not going to let you just move forward, ignore the wishes of the community and act as if you can unilaterally reopen and expand this prison. It’s not going to happen. Department of Corrections: back off. It’s a very bad idea,” added Thompson, who has become more vocally critical of Bloomberg.
Calling the jail a “dinosaur,” Connor talked about the flourishing downtown Brooklyn neighborhood. “People live here now. It has the fabric of a real community. A jail doesn’t fit – it makes no sense.”
Mastro’s law firm, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, has agreed to do pro bono work for Stop BHOD, a community group trying to stop the project. Mastro pledged to take the city to court if there isn’t more effort to solicit community input or conduct an environmental impact review of the planned expansion.