“This is a very important moment in our community,” said Assembly member Hakeem Jeffries as he made his case to represent the 8th Congressional district. “There are people in this country who wake up each and every day trying to figure out how to advance an agenda that hurts working families, middle-class folks, seniors, and communities of color.” Jeffries wants the opportunity to work with Pres. Barack Obama in his second term. “We must do everything possible to help him help our community.”
With the surprise retirement announcement of 15-term Congressman Edolphus Towns, voters in the newly constituted 8th Congressional district will have new representation, no matter who they vote for. Council member Charles Barron and Assembly member Hakeem Jeffries are vying for the winner-take-all primary on June 26. Both are well-known in the district’s traditional communities of Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bedford Stuyvesant, Ocean Hill, Brownsville, East New York, Canarsie and Flatlands.
Sometimes the one way to make everyone angry is to take the most sensible position. Take Atlantic Yards. The arena would provide Brooklyn a real public benefit, and whatever one thinks about the adequacy of the percentage of “affordable” housing in the project, I defy anyone to find any developer who’s ever done any better. Yards opponents say they aren’t against an arena, they just think the Yards (easily accessible to half the City’s subway lines, as well as many bus transfer points), is an inferior location compared to putting an arena in the Brooklyn Navy Yard (a mass transit desert located in a flood zone). And they are all for development of the Yards (a deep hole in the ground, whose conversion costs have scared away nearly everyone), but just oppose any plan likely to be viable there. But the Yards plan’s opponents are fundamentally right that the Ratner plan proposed for development is just too damned big, and that the only response Yards plan supporters have given to questions concerning how we will evolve solutions to the seemingly insoluble problems the project presents is “if you build it, they will come”. Pardon my skepticism.