Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Atlantic Yards: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall at the Empire State Development Corporation this holiday weekend when all of the stops were apparently pulled out to remedy the mistake that led to the omission of 148 public comments and required an amended document and a vote to recertify. In announcing the error, ESDC Chair Charles Gargano had said that a "thorough" review would take place. Today's Post reports that "The Pataki administration is so keen on getting the plan for a Brooklyn NBA arena approved before Eliot Spitzer becomes governor that officials had state employees work through the Thanksgiving weekend..."

We could go on about the screaming that ensued, the threats that were uttered, the catered holiday meals that were offered, but we won't. We will simply note that after December 8 the document goes to State Comptroller Alan Hevesi (yes, him) and that he can hang onto it for seven days for review. That means that it would head to the Public Authorities Control Board, which would could still vote its approval by Dec. 31.

In the end, all road still lead to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and whether Mr. Silver will listen to requests from Brooklyn members to delay and modify the project and whether he will stall as a way of getting at Gov. George Pataki and at Mr. Gargano, who he recently called "the most corrupt" members of the Pataki Administration. Or, whether Mr. Silver will submit to pressure to get the deal done before Eliot Spitzer can do anything to change it in any way, shape or form.

We will say two things: The first is that we're not lawyers, but if a suit is filed challenging the entire Environmental Impact Statement review and approval process, the mistake and rush job to rectify it will end up being part of the litigation. The second is that the public process surrounding the most important development project in Brooklyn history has taken on the manic feel of getting a PlayStation3 on eBay on Christmas Eve and trying to get it delivered by Christmas morning. In the end, if you'll pardon us stretching the analogy a bit, it will all come down to how many stop signs and traffic lights the UPS driver is willing to run in order to get it there on time.

[Thanks to No Land Grab for the festive image]

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