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Brooklyn Clergy Turn Against Barclays Center Developer

Atlantic Yards critics invoke a higher power in fight against Forest City Ratner.

After nine years of largely holding their peace—and praying for promised affordable housing and jobs—several Brooklyn clergy members forcefully spoke out against Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner at Sunday in Fort Greene.

"Enough is enough," said Rev. Clinton Miller, pastor of in Clinton Hill, to a cheering group of around 80 protesters in front of the Atlantic Terrace housing complex. "We've waited to see what happened."

Miller led a group of religious leaders in announcing the formation of a faith-based Committee For Arena Justice made up of 25 Brooklyn congregations calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to hold Ratner to promises made to the community in regards to affordable housing and jobs.

"We the people of Brooklyn have been sold a bad bill of goods," Miller said.

Several longtime Atlantic Yards critics joined Miller in blasting Ratner on his job creating record at the soon-to-be-opened Barclays Center.

"We need jobs that can sustain families and not jobs selling hot dogs," said Councilwoman Letitia James, D-Fort Greene.

The criticism comes less than a week after Forest City Ratner at the arena.

Miller, along with Rev. Clive Neil of Bedford-Central Presbyterian Church and Rev. John Merz of Episcopal Church of the Ascension, among others, called for a boycott of Barclays Center in an effort to force Ratner to take community concerns seriously.

"We should not go to events, we should not go to games until they treat the community with respect," he said.

In a statement in response to the planned rally, a Forest City Ratner representative defended its motives in regards to jobs and promised affordable housing.

"We understand fully the need for more jobs and more housing in Brooklyn and throughout the city, which is why we’ve been working very hard to make Atlantic Yards a reality," the FCRC rep wrote. "But there’s a certain irony that people who were opposed to the project, and worked hard to stall the project, now criticize it for not delivering fast enough the benefits."

Miller announced a meeting on June 19 at 7 p.m. at his Washington Avenue church in order to organize protests around Barclays Center's .

"I know my people are excited that the Brooklyn Nets are coming ... but we are not going to get caught up in the hype," he said. "We should hold their feet to the fire."

Alan Leader June 11, 2012 at 01:49 AM
While I certainly sympathize with the frustration of The RAT not delivering the promised jobs and affordable housing, the protesters are not blameless. Had they done their homework during the approval stage, they would have seen that Forest City RATner and The Nets are all hype and PR, with a huge trail of broken promises.
Norman Oder June 11, 2012 at 03:17 PM
More coverage here, with video: http://atlanticyardsreport.blogspot.com/2012/06/at-clergy-led-rally-for-arena-justice.html

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