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Friday, September 18, 2009

ACORN and wealthy developers vs. hipsters and firemen

I went to Brooklyn for today's column.
Wealthy and well-connected developer Bruce Ratner wants to bulldoze an old neighborhood in Brooklyn and turn it into high-rise apartment buildings and a basketball arena for the New Jersey Nets. Many locals, including the hipsters who live in Park Slope and the firemen who work at FDNY Squad No. 1, don't want this steel hulk named Atlantic Yards casting a shadow over their neighborhood and filling their streets with traffic....
To understand what's happening on Atlantic Avenue, you need to shed Left-vs.-Right and white-vs.-black modes of thinking, as well as simple anti-corporatism. Without eminent domain, Ratner would never be able to get all the land.
The real dividing line is people with access to government power -- Ratner, ACORN and the politicians -- against people without such access. You can guess who's going to win.

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