On sunny Saturday, May 3rd, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries told the crowd of hundreds gathered at Atlantic Yards that they should put their trust in their new Governor, David Paterson.
"Let's give Governor Paterson a chance to engage in a real dialogue with this community about this project," Jeffries said on a sunny May 3 Saturday afternoon.
The Assemblyman [photo] called Paterson "a person who understands the importance of community input."
The protesters were hoping the Governor joins them in calling for a halt to the demolition taking place for Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, which envisions a new Nets stadium and (according to Ratner's web site) "commercial offices, retail establishments and a boutique hotel."
The project is side-by-side the borough's signature Williamsburg Savings Bank, which has been converted into condos and is anticipating a big name company as its anchor retail tenant, perhaps even Microsoft (see The Brooklyn Paper).
The Ratner project is so vast that opponents say it will destroy the character of that part of Brooklyn. The opponents also object to the use of eminent domain under which the state allows the developer to take possession of land within the footprint of the project. Already businesses have closed and the land on which they operated lies vacant.
Earlier that Saturday of the protest, many hundreds of others were in same area of Atlantic Yards but were demonstrating for the arena and the other buildings to be erected.
Opponents maintained that the pro crowd was made up mostly of union activists paid to attend and protest.
One thing seemed clear: Even if Ratner is able to overcome the obstacles posed by the poor economy and housing market, the opponents and elected officials who stand with them (Leticia James, David Yassky and others) will continue to stand in the way.