Inside the orbit of Shelly Silver

The Brooklyn Paper
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After the Empire State Development Corporation approves Atlantic Yards — as it is expected to do imminently — the project will be weighed by the state’s Public Authorities Control Board, whose membership is limited to New York’s three most-powerful men: Gov. Pataki, Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno (R-Rensselaer) and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan).

All three have said they support the project — but Silver has used his board vote to block several key Pataki initiatives, including the West Side stadium and the Moynihan station project.

That, plus the fact that he recently slammed ESDC Chairman Charles Gargano as corrupt, makes many believe that he will stick it to Pataki again. No wonder so many people are in the Speaker’s orbit right now.

Assemblymembers Jim Brennan (D-Park Slope), Joan Millman (D-Carroll Gardens) and Annette Robinson (D-Crown Heights)
Want: Downsize Atlantic Yards
Approach: Sent letter to PACB
“The Environmental Impact Statement acknowledges an additional 20,000 vehicle trips a day … We cannot support Atlantic Yards unless it is substantially downsized.”

Mike Lupica, Daily News columnist
Wants: Silver must vote no
Approach: A moral appeal
“Ratner has tried to make himself out to be some kind of sports philanthropist as he tries to pull off one of the great broad-daylight real estate grabs in the history of Brooklyn,” Lupica wrote in his column on Sunday. “This [is] about turning a whole section of Brooklyn into Forest City Ratner’s vision of a Brooklyn Times Square. Shelly Silver can stop him and should stop him.”

Assemblyman-elect Hakeem Jeffries (D-Prospect Heights)
Wants: Delay the vote
Approach: Unclear
“I told the speaker myself that the vote should be delayed,” Jeffries told The Brooklyn Papers. “There are questions [such as] the size — it is way too big —and financial transparency. We are not in a position to vote yes now.”

State Comptroller Alan Hevesi
Wants: Delay
Approach: Raised easily ignored warning flag
“New York State is already suffering under huge amounts of debt, and now ... there is a rush to push through billions of dollars of projects ... without a proper review ... When [projects] are rushed through in a long list, it is impossible to know if they are as good as they can be.”

ESDC Chairman Charles Gargano
Wants: Approval of Atlantic Yards
Approach: Undiplomatic about it
“His statements are very naive and unintellig­ent,” Gargano said about Silver’s opposition to Moynihan station. “His lack of knowledge of the project was just appalling.”

Developer Bruce Ratner
Wants: Atlantic Yards to be approved
Approach: Behind-the-scenes
Forest City Ratner would not return a call for comment, but the company is lobbying members of the PACB, sources said.

Gov. Pataki
Wants: Approval of Atlantic Yards
Approach: Undiplomatic
“For Shelly ‘Vegas’ Silver to lecture anyone about ethics is like a bad stand-up routine, especially since he’s Alan Hevesi’s biggest apologist, has employed a known sex offender, has covered up internal investigations and has presided over a body that had no less than seven of its members indicted, convicted, or resign under a cloud of disgrace,” David Catalfamo, Pataki’s communications director, told the New York Post after Silver slammed Gargano.

City Councilmembers David Yassky and Letitia James
Want: Delay
Approach: Sent letter to PACB
“The project ... will impose devastating traffic and parking burdens on the surrounding neighborho­ods.”

Out of orbit: The Dolans
Want: The Nets arena to be scrapped
Approach: Not doing anything about it
Jim and Charles Dolan, the father-and-son team that runs Madison Square Garden, have nothing to gain from the construction of a 19,000-seat basketball arena in a neighboring borough. Councilwoman Letitia James tried to get the family involved in this battle, but the Dolans remain on the sidelines.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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