Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Critical Excess

We're getting quite a kick out of the level of vitriol directed at our supporting comments favor of AY. What really amuses us is that most of these opponents have never successfully stopped anything in their entire lives. On the other hand, Richard Lipsky and the NRA have a long twenty five year history of stopping large-scale developments all over the city.

What the critics get confused on, however, is the purpose of the Neighborhood Retail Alliance. It is not Human Rights Watch but is designed to represent grass roots forces in land use battles. This does not mean that the NRA will always be on the anti-development side. What we do well is grass roots organizing, an ability that is represented by the fact that there are over 75 amateur athletic groups and countless more leaders in the sports community of Brooklyn that have signed on to support the AY project.

Yes, Richard Lipsky is retained by FCRC to represent its interests but wouldn't have done so if he didn't feel that the project's merits warranted it. This feeling emerged from the sheer level of passion and enthusiasm spontaneously exhibited by a diverse array of sports organizations in the borough.

RL got his start writing the definitive work on sports and politics in this country and knows better than most just how instrumental a role a sports can play in a community. So many of the critics, exhibiting a certain level of snobbery, have looked down on this plebian side of this development and, because of this manifest snobbery, missed the potential importance of the sports team for the community.

We emphasize potentially because it can only really occur if the team ownership is enlightened in this regard. Everything we have seen so far indicates that Bruce Ratner gets it. If FCRC and the Brooklyn Nets do not invest in the young people there will not be the kind of fan base that the franchise needs to succeed. It is enlightened self-interest not pure philanthropy, although BR is no slouch in this regard either.

So what do we have from all the critics? Name calling seems to be the hallmark of this opposition and the fish clearly stinks from the head. It all brings to mind the incident that William Buckley has talked about when he had the temerity to criticize Ayn Rand as a fascist. When the vitriolic and threatening letters came in Buckley observed that they "Dotted the i's and crossed the t's of my point."

So all the people who accuse Lipsky (or "Shilsky"-how clever) of being idiotic and morally bankrupt only mange to bring discredit upon what used to be a defensible and reasonable position, one that has long ago ceased to be anything like that because the shrillness of the opposition has sent reason to the showers.