The disgraced former Assemblyman — who once had to resign after being convicted of stealing state funds — hit a new low just before leaving office last month with a vendetta-filled move to block funding for an independent review of the massive Atlantic Yards project.
As Green told The Brooklyn Paper this week, he blocked the promised funds for the Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods because a single member — Daniel Goldstein of the anti-Yards group Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn — wrote an email to a reporter in which he compared developer Bruce Ratner to a “wealthy white master.”
Goldstein immediately apologized, but it wasn’t enough for Green, who seized on the email as evidence that white opponents of the project looked down on its black supporters.
Green, a consistent ally of Ratner’s mega-development, used Ratner’s race-card-filled playbook to claim that opposition to the project came mostly from white Brooklynites who wanted to deny blacks the “jobs, hoops and housing” that Ratner says he’ll lavish on Brooklyn’s underprivileged.
But it was Green, not the Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods, who played the race card repeatedly during the public approval process for Atlantic Yards.
His most noxious performance was at the main public hearing on Aug. 23:
“I was born in Brooklyn,” he said, contempt in his voice. “Some of you have not been in the Fort Greene housing project … Some people have not even dared to go into Farragut Houses … And some of us will not be lectured to … I’m from Brooklyn. I’m from Brooklyn!”
Green slammed opponents for not acting civilly, yet stood by as Ratner allies played race politics, ignoring the fact that Atlantic Yards will actually increase the gentrification that drives out low-income residents and create mostly minimum-wage jobs that keep them in poverty.
Green is in no position to lecture Daniel Goldstein.
Sadly, it is the poor and less-fortunate who actually will suffer from Green’s pettiness.
Because he blocked the CBN grant, the group won’t be able to pay the outside experts who did such a good job pointing out genuine flaws in the Atlantic Yards project. If such experts don’t get paid for their work, they’ll be far less likely to review future developments — and that will only play into the hands of the very developers whom Roger Green complains typically leave the black community behind.
That Green was in a position to block the CBN’s already-approved grant speaks to the dysfunction that is Albany’s calling card. But the fact that he put pettiness ahead of public policy by actually blocking the grant, speaks to his lack of concern for his own constituents and his ongoing coddling of developers like Bruce Ratner.