There he was on Saturday, May 3d, with the hundreds of Brooklynites opposed to Bruce Ratner's plan to build a Nets stadium at Atlantic Yards, along with a conversion of the signature Williamsburg Savings Bank building into condominiums.
Tony Avella [photo], Councilman from Queens, took the stage in the afternoon and joined several Brooklyn politicians in denouncing the Ratner plan as a kind of steamrolling over local residents and an abuse of the powers of eminent domain.
Calling out to Bruce Ratner (who, of course, was not there), Avella told the enthusiastic crowd, "We're not going to let you destroy a neighborhood!"
He added that New York State "should not use eminent domain to give some developer millions of dollars."
Atlantic Yards is one of the biggest development projects in city history, though doubts have arisen lately as to Ratner's ability to carry out his plans given the sagging economy and real estate market.
Avella's presence at the anti-Ratner rally brought to mind his appearance some months ago on Gil Noble's "Like It Is" Sunday television program, on which he appeared with Councilman Charles Barron (one of the most radical African Americans every to occupy a seat in that local legislative body) and oppose the redevelopment of Central Harlem's W. 125th St. commercial strip, using the same kind of language he's employing in opposing Atlantic Yards.
Given his announced intentions to run for mayor in next year's election, we'd have to say we'll be in for a very exciting campaign.