Our mailbag returns — and is filled with Atlantic Yards ire

for The Brooklyn Paper
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To the editor,

Your online coverage of the groundbreaking ceremony for the Atlantic Yards project was disappointing — to put it mildly (“Ratner breaks ground! Jay-Z celebrates! Others protest!” March 11). Why would you quote several speakers on “job creation” without noting that there is simply no argument that this project will bring a significant number of jobs, especially in relation to the perhaps as much as $2 billion in direct and indirect public subsidies?

Certainly, given all these years to explore the question, you can do more than simply repeat boosterish claims that have no basis in fact. In a more general sense, you must also be aware that the Independent Budget Office has determined the arena itself would be a money-loser for the city.

Isn’t that newsworthy, in relation to a ceremony where so much “public good” is promised?

There is a really awful thing happening in the heart of Brooklyn. Please cover it with more seriousness and depth.

Lee Zimmerman, Prospect Heights

• • •

To the editor,

We have learned as a result of the entire Atlantic Yards fiasco, is that:

1. Governments, and particularly the Bloomberg government, actively work against the interests of its citizens and for the best interests of the billionaire elite.

2. Elected officials can be bought and bought cheaply. After all, your paper once reported that Markowitz received in excess of $40,000 from Ratner. I wonder how much Council Speaker Quinn received for her endorsement and how much was offered to the other members of the Council. Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who is supposed to investigate corruption, has been awfully quiet.

3. The citywide media is essentially worthless in uncovering corruption. It often benefits from it in advertising revenue.

4. Billionaires take care of their own kind first; dishonest billionaires help each other more quickly.

5. Voters in each council district can elect one representative, but councilmembers from all of the districts can tell the people of one district what is good for them and what must be done. Local voters are thereby disenfranchised. One wonders why we vote at all.

Bob Ohlerking, Park Slope

• • •

To the editor,

Thank you for your cover photo of Bruce Ratner that appeared in the same issue as a full-page ad for his Barclays Center (“Dig it,” March 12). I have elderly cats who cannot always make it into the actual litter box, and I have to line the floor with paper for these times. The large ad works well for the cat who is most ill, since it’s a full page to hit. My other cat prefers target practice, however, and your front page picture of Ratner has successfully been targeted many times in both liquid and solid form, if you catch my drift.

I have long been a fan of The Brooklyn Paper, and although Atlantic Yards coverage has been scant of late, this issue makes up for it. The cats have not had as much fun since we had all those Bloomberg ads showing up in the mail last fall.

Steve de Sève, Brooklyn Heights

• • •

To the editor,

The Rev. Herbert Daughtry gave a prayer at Ratner’s Barclays Arena “groundtaking” ceremony — and claimed that the project area was “rodent-infested” and “garbage-strewn” before Ratner showed up.

Actually, before Ratner came along in 2003, wielding the threat of the state’s power of eminent domain to steal private property, the project site was a rapidly developing, mixed-use residential and commercial neighborhood. There was nothing noteworthy as far as rats or garbage.

But over the past six-and-a-half years, under that threat of eminent domain, Ratner has indeed blighted a neighborhood that wasn’t.

One wonders why a man of the cloth would lie through his teeth to mouth a billionaire developer’s disgusting, self-serving talking points.

Oh, and one other thing. If this money-losing arena, breaking ground in the middle of a housing crisis, is so popular and so crucial for Brooklyn and New York, how come out of Brooklyn’s Assembly, Senate and Council delegations, totaling 45 elected officials, only six showed up — all of whom with close financial and/or political ties to the developer? Note that the developer did not enjoy the attendance of Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio and Comptroller John Liu.

The answer is obvious.

Daniel Goldstein, Prospect Heights

Stop ‘Butcher’

To the editor,

Regarding your recent story, “Blood on the water” (March 19), I must first say that I’ve been enjoying the sights of Prospect Park for decades, and am thrilled with all of its changes. But obviously one thing hasn’t changed: ritual sacrifice.

I have stumbled across countless scenes of ritual sacrifice throughout the years. Usually a few pieces of fruit and an empty rum bottle is all one finds, but I have also come across at least a dozen sights of poultry slaughter. There’s always a rock, always a pool of blood, always a burn spot, and usually tell-tale clumps of feathers nearby.

Mount Prospect and the Flatbush side of the park seem to be the areas most often used. In fact, on the Flatbush side it’s not uncommon to find the entire headless carcass of a rooster.

Even stranger, are the carefully arranged pentagrams fashioned from pebbles and twigs within sight of the boathouse.

J. McLaughlin, Park Slope

• • •

To the editor,

Would the park notice if the entire lake disappeared overnight?

The penalties for harming wildlife, illegal dumping, and littering in Prospect Park Lake are severe. For example, the Environmental Control Board penalty for violations of regulation A16, section 56 RCNY1-04 (g)(1) states: Molest/kil­l/remove/p­ossess animal/nest/egg, etc. is $1,000 for each offense.

The same fine goes for illegal dumping in the park and lake. Garbage cans, ice ladders, barricades, and other debris are routinely thrown into the waters without fear. Urban Park Rangers and Park Police are needed to patrol the lakeside and without them visible, the lake becomes an easy target for ongoing vandalism.

It is cost effective to pursue the violators. Without enforcement at the park, many are dreading the consequences of the continuing widespread abuse and neglect.

Anne-Katrin Titze, Park Slope

Posted 6:15 pm, March 31, 2010
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