Gays won’t shack up with Bruce

The Brooklyn Paper
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Brooklyn’s primary gay and lesbian political club came out against Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards mega-development on Monday night — even as the developer and Borough President Markowitz are still discussing creating a gay community center in a Ratner-owned building Downtown.

In language similar to other clubs’ and local community boards’ rejection of Atlantic Yards last year, Lambda Independent Democrats declared that the project could not be supported because it “failed” to go through a “stringent, transparent and inclusive community review” before it was approved by the Empire State Development Corporation in the waning days of the Pataki administration.

The resolution also hit state officials for using eminent domain to hand private property to Ratner, superceding the city’s own land-use review oversight, and granting Ratner “special allowances and tax breaks.”

Many political groups and activists have opposed Atlantic Yards, but there is a deeper context to Lambda’s seemingly day-late/dollar short resolution. Earlier this year, Borough President Markowitz promised gay and lesbian activists that he would work towards developing a community center, much like the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in Greenwich Village, in a Ratner-owned building in Downtown.

At Monday’s meeting, many members of the Lambda club honed in on the irony.

“I feel like our favorite borough president [Markowitz] is holding a carrot in front of our faces saying, ‘Ooh, gay people, you can have a community center if you support Atlantic Yards,’” said Lisa Badner, a member of the Lambda executive committee.

Markowitz, who has been under fire from gays ever since his endorsement of anti-gay former Councilman Noach Dear for Civil Court last month, never explicitly said the community center was a quid-pro-quo for gays, Badner pointed out. But she complained that many groups that might have opposed Atlantic Yards — such as the housing advocacy group ACORN — ended up supporting it after getting “payoffs” from the developer.

“This is how Ratner operates in Brooklyn,” Badner told The Brooklyn Paper.

Markowitz said in a statement on Wednesday that Badner should not feel that working with him or Ratner on a community center has any connection to Atlantic Yards.

“I called a meeting at my office [on] May 31 [with] representatives of many Brooklyn LGBT activist groups to discuss their needs and also to offer capital funding assistance in constructing an LGBT center in Brooklyn,” said the borough president, who has supported lesbian and gay issues, including gay marriage.

“I also reached out to developers to see if any were interested in providing space, which Bruce Ratner was, not to be located in Atlantic Yards but somewhere downtown.

“I asked that the groups work together to formulate a proposal regarding the specifics of the center and I have not heard back from them. As one who believes Atlantic Yards will be good for Brooklyn, I am disappointed in the recent LID statement regarding the project, but this position in no way impacts my ongoing support of LGBT issues or my offer to help in the establishment of a an LGBT center.”

Updated 4:33 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

James Sullivan from Ditmas Park says:
I worked on Marty's campaign in 2001. The great proponent of the people of Brooklyn betrayed his constituency. The famous Flatbush Tenants Association he formed is now in the basement of an apartment building on Albermarle and East 5th. He has been responsible for displacing people from Brooklyn, bring back " the good old days" which cannot be brought back, creating the Flatbush Development Center which is responsible for destroying the beauty of the neigborhood that he lived in and was supported by. In addition, if he cared so much about Crown Heights and Flatbush why did he not do anything for 11 consecutive terms? He tried to be Borough President before, but was caught in illegal campaign funding.A Gay man in Ditmas Park was killed in the 80s which he called it " a crime of perversion" which was never settled, the neighborhood was riddled with gangs and drugs which he did nothing about, the 70 precinct was a puppet of his, and the list goes on. Retire Mr. Markowitz. I made a mistake once, but those who remember and have lived in this Borough all you need to do is check out how many influential decisions he made in the State Senate while in office.
People of Brooklyn," Open your eyes and see." The politicians whom we have voted for during the past 3 decades are like stale pieces of bread. Through them in the garbage.
Jan. 21, 2009, 6:35 am

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