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To the editor:

We were shocked to read your paper’s alleged “coverage” of the recent vote of Community Board 2 on the proposed plans for Downtown Brooklyn and, in particular, the severe criticism of board member Rachel Foster.

Both the report by Deborah Kolben and commentary by Neil Sloane accuse Ms. Foster of “hid[ing] in the hallway” and “ducking” the vote because she “felt pressured” and “intimidated” by certain plan protestors. In addition, Mr. Sloane called for Ms. Foster’s resignation on the front page of your newspaper. Neither reporter offers any reliable support for such serious accusations and demands. Instead, they fall back on the most questionable and unsupportable of journalistic tricks, the alleged, hearsay statements of a single anonymous source.

To anyone familiar with Ms. Foster’s professional background, the claims that she was “intimidated” by, or “cowered” at, last week’s community board meeting is preposterous. As a Legal Services attorney, Ms. Foster has spent many years fighting for the rights of the poor, the victimized and the voiceless. Throughout her entire career, she has consistently stood up to the powerful on behalf of the powerless. This is not a woman who would “cower” in the face of a few protesters.

We call on The Brooklyn Papers to investigate this matter. We have no doubt such an investigation will show the paper’s so-called reporting regarding Ms. Foster’s conduct to be wholly inaccurate. And we can only presume that, having called for Ms. Foster’s resignation, Mr. Sloane will himself resign when it is established that he has violated his core professional duty and responsibility — reporting the truth.

— Eileen Minnefor and William S. Dixon, Brooklyn Heights

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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