Thursday, December 01, 2005
Roger Green in the NY Observer: Bruce Ratner like RFK?
Sometime in late 2003, a Brooklyn activist asked State Assemblyman Roger Green what he thought about developer Bruce Ratner, who was about to propose a massive housing development and new basketball arena for Central Brooklyn.
“You’ve got your Bull Connors and you’ve got your Robert Kennedys, and you are going to treat them differently. Ratner is more of an R.F.K.,” Mr. Green said.
What decade is Roger Green living in? It was 1963 when racist Birmingham, AL police chief Connor harassed and arrested civil rights protestors, and Attorney General Kennedy began enforcing civil rights laws even before that.
Let's not doubt that Ratner is more like RFK than Connor, but that's not saying much. After all, RFK--albeit from a wealthy family--said in 1968:
"Too much and too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things."
Last June, Bruce Ratner told the New York Times Magazine, when asked how he and fellow investors acquired the Nets basketball team:
Like so many things in life, it was just a matter of money.
And no matter how much the Atlantic Yards development might help some segments of the community, the developer's mission is not to serve the public interest. As the company web site states:
Forest City Ratner is an owner and developer of real estate, committed to building superior, long-term value for its stakeholders.