Sunday, July 30, 2006

Compassionate Consumers Picnic, July 30

Today I attended a picnic and fundraiser in Rochester for Adam Durand of Compassionate Consumers. The event was co-sponsored by Green Party of Monroe County. The fundraiser was to help with Adam's appeal of his conviction for trespassing. In 2004 Adam and two others entered New York State's largest egg farm to document animal cruelty. Since that time his organization, Compassionate Consumers, has worked to educate the public about this cruelty and convince the Wegmans corporation, the farm's owner, to improve the conditions there. I circulated my position paper on the illegality of battery cages under the New York Agriculture and Markets Law.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Process for Brooklyn Development an Insult to Democracy

Speech at the Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn rally at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, July 16, 2006

The number of people here on this hot Sunday afternoon, demonstrates the frustration people feel at the lack of opportunity for democratic participation in the project planning process for the development at the Atlantic Yards by the Forest City Ratner Corporation.

It is more than a LACK of democracy. The subversion of state and city law by the two authorities overseeing this development is an INSULT to democracy.

The city's land use laws, the state's eminent domain laws, the state's budgeting process, the city's budgeting process, and the state's new reform laws for public benefit corporations are all are being subverted to serve the interests of the largest publicly traded real estate development corporation in the United States. Forest City Enterprises, Inc., an $8 billion company and the parent corporation of the Forest City Ratner Corporation.

But the biggest insult to democracy is that all this is proceeding with the most minimal participation by the city's elected representatives.

The very first sentence of the New York Constitution says 'no member of this state shall be disenfranchised.' The people of Brooklyn have been disenfranchised by the process we witness here.

Furthermore, Article 9 of the New York constitution relating to municipal home rule states that, 'effective local self-government [is a purpose] of the people of the state.' There is no way that the process by which this development is proceeding constitutes effective local self-government.

Two unelected bodies, the Empire State Development Authority and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, whose members have been appointed by the governor of New York are rubber-stamping whatever the Forest City Ratner Corporation asks for. No one is representing the interests of the public.

As attorney general, I will enforce the laws that are being subverted here.