Posts Tagged ‘New York Times’

This is a reprint of one of my old posts from June 3, 2009.  It has more relevance today, thanks to the exposure that the new documentary film “Battle for Brooklyn” is finally bringing to this horrible tale of eminent domain abuse, after all the years that so many in that community toiled to tell it.

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acorn-ratnerAmidst the coverage of ACORN for allegations of voter registration fraud, the Rathke embezzlement scandal, the ACORN-8 civil lawsuit and Justice Department complaint, controversy over Project Vote and alleged misuse of the Obama donors list, and most recently ACORN’s role in the upcoming Census in 2010, there lies a lesser told tale of controversy, conflict and allegation. Correction: it’s a feverishly told tale, at least in New York, but one largely ignored, perhaps because the very checks and balances that are supposed to be in place to expose allegations of impropriety apparently fall by the wayside when the media itself becomes part of the story (allegedly…).

This is a long, complex story that has many twists and turns, and many angles (angles that, quite frankly, I’d consider more important than the one I’m going to cover here). This is a compartmentalized version of a broader story, and will focus primarily on its relevance to ACORN.

On December 10, 2003, one of the most ambitious real estate development projects in the history of Brooklyn was announced, a project that would later unfold into layers of conflict and speculated corruption, and be considered by many to be “the most controversial project ever in New York.”

The Atlantic Yards project, an endeavor of high-profile real estate developer Bruce Ratner and his Forest City Ratner companies, is a 22-acre mixed-use commercial and residential development project that cuts through the neighborhoods of Prospect Heights and Park Slope in Brooklyn, NY.   To understand how deep the personal impacts would be, you need to understand the area and the development plan.

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Last week, I was enjoying a leisurely cup of coffee while perusing my local New Jersey newspapers online.  That moment of serenity promptly evaporated when I was jolted by a headline that read, “Stop the Vitriol of the Right? A Lesson From the ACORN Tragedy.”

What?  This wasn’t the Huffington Post or Media Matters, it was my local NJ online news site.  After reading it, I initially dismissed the post, shrugging it off as an asinine tirade by the author, John Atlas, who also lives here in NJ and is a very active supporter of ACORN and hostile to any views that aren’t on the far left.  While I almost expected the lecture about promoting civility in the wake of the Tucson tragedy, it was the ugliness of his rant against the right and the stretch he made to connect it all to ACORN that befuddled me.  Nearly a week later, that post was still on my mind.

Then came the left’s latest meme against free speech, and this bizarre charade of hoisting Frances Fox Piven as their newest martyr.  Ah, now it made sense.

To start with, Atlas’ post was certainly interestingly timed. Just last month, he was making the rounds promoting his new book, “Seeds of Change: The Story of ACORN, America’s Most Controversial Antipoverty Community Organizing Group.” In this interview below, he ends by saying,

“We need organizations that are going to give voice to the poor so that our democratic system works better, and that is the biggest tragedy. And to the extent that Breitbart and his gang undermine that effort, I think that’s a disaster.”

(Part 1 of the video is here.  Take notice of who’s conducting the interview, by the way.  That would be IndictBreitbart.org, the campaign run by Velvet Revolution. We wrote about them and their co-founders, one of whom is a convicted domestic terrorist.  The irony speaks for itself.)

Then of course, there is Tucson.

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