Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Longest Losing Streak

Yesterday the Supreme Court passed on the eminent domain law suit brought by the opponents of Atlantic Yards, clearing the way for the Nets to come to Brooklyn. As the Observer pointed out: "The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to take up an appeal in the fight over Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards project, putting to an end the federal lawsuit filed by landowners and tenants in late 2006 that challenged the state’s use of eminent domain for the mega-project.

Slam dunked, that is! The NY post captures the esssence here: " The US Supreme Court yesterday delivered a major blow to opponents of the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, refusing to hear a legal challenge over the use of eminent domain to make way for the $4 billion plan."

This makes it twenty losing cases in a row, but the DDD folks remain undaunted: "The plaintiffs in the suit are now pledging to take the case to state court, a route they initially avoided as eminent domain laws in New York tend to be relatively favorable to the state." Shall we say, gluttons for punishment? Here's the NY Times' take this morning: "The Supreme Court’s decision on Monday was a victory for the developer Bruce C. Ratner and for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who supports the project. The centerpiece of the $4 billion plan, which includes 16 high-rise office and apartment buildings, is a basketball arena intended to house the New Jersey Nets. Brooklyn has not had a professional major league sports team since the Dodgers left for Los Angeles in 1957."

The DDD team's remarks on the on the swatting (courtesy of the Brownstoner and the Politicker): "Now that the eminent domain case is toast on a federal level, the plaintiffs are going to file suit in state court, according to a press release from Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (copy on jump). "We are, of course, disappointed that the Court declined our request to hear this important case. This is not, however, a ruling on the merits of our claims. Our claims remain sound. New York State law, and the state constitution, prohibit the government from taking private homes and businesses simply because a powerful developer demands it..."

Sounds just like some losing manager, doesn't it? Isn't it time for the DDD ownership to bring in Jerry Manuel to replace Daniel Goldstein? After all, this is quite the losing streak, and a fresh managerial start would do the team a whale of good, we believe. Or maybe Goldstein shold simply resign and let someone else have a shot at leadership.

We've always maintained that the AY project, on balance, has much good to offer Brooklyn and the rest of the city, but as the critics point out, we're paid to say that. So don't take our word for it, listen the the kids and the amateur athletic teams that turned out on Brooklyn Day to trumpet the Nets coming to the city-they know what kind of excitement and support the team will bring to the youngsters; and we still haven't touched on the housing which will follow the team's entrance.

It is always unfortunate when folks are forced to move, but this is one case where the eviction road was paved with gold, even though the 11 plaintiffs decided to stand firm and fight this rear guard action. It is, in this case, the greater good that is achieved, and the Custer-like opposition will be meeting the same fate as the General did at the Little Big Horn.