Saturday, June 30, 2007

Atlantic Yards – and the UFT

An article on the massive project in Brooklyn in today's NY Times points to the release of documents that were only obtained through a lawsuit.

"Critics have long suggested that the project is a taxpayer-subsidized bonanza for the developer, the project’s promised jobs and subsidized housing a kind of Trojan horse for the thousands of high-end apartments that come with them. But the developer, Forest City Ratner, and state officials overseeing the project have resisted divulging much information about the project’s financial structure, confining those criticisms to the realm of speculation." [My emphasis.]

From purely an education point of view, though there is no mention of this point in the Times article, Leonie Haimson and other critics have been pointing to the fact that with all this building, there is no provision for schools. Our May 4 post "Bloomberg Vision: A Childless NY" with a link to Leonie's comments addressed that issue.

But I always come to the question: Where is the UFT on the refusal to divulge crucial information or the no-schools issue or on the enormous amount of public money being pumped into the project? Just as the UFT took an initial position supporting the Jets stadium until they jumped on the bandwagon when public sentiment turned against it, the UFT, being part of the power structure, goes along with what the power structure wants. That is the "new unionism" - a partnership, lining up with the real estate and corporate interests – have you heard of any criticism over the enormous tax breaks for corporations while telling the members there is no money for class size reduction or new schools and relying on decades old CFE suits and phony petition drives on class size?

Well, it's not really all that "new." A new book on Al Shanker backed by the UFT's best friend, millionaire Eli Broad will connect even more of the dots, green, pink or whatever. Sean Ahern has been off and running on this one already and we'll get to that in another post.

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