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Our diverse, vibrant community may be destroyed by Bruce Ratner. Bruce Ratner’s plan to bring the New Jersey Nets to Brooklyn will involve building a 20,000 seat arena with 8.7 million square feet of retail, commercial and residential space in Prospect Heights and Park Slope, Brooklyn. The developer's proposed "Atlantic Yards" project has bypassed the democratic process, abuses eminent domain, would create seriously adverse environmental impacts and if built the project would be the denset residential community in the United States by a factor of 2. This primarily luxury housing project has been proposed to enrich the development corporation Forest City Ratner while it is dependent on close to $2 billion in public subsidies.

Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn is a broad-based coalition of concerned residents, tenants, home-, business- and property owners living near and within the “footprint” of Forest City Ratner’s proposed 22-acre development plan, as well as all those around Brooklyn and New York City concerned with the issues raised by the Ratner proposal.

Some in Brooklyn may want the Nets, but no one wants a secret, taxpayer-subsidized sweetheart deal shoved down their throats. We deserve and demand development that’s good for Brooklyn, not simply good for Bruce Ratner and his friends.

We believe there are realistic, appropriate alternatives that are pro-development and that are beneficial to our community and to Brooklyn.

A major component of the fight against Ratner's land grab is the legal fight. We have hired Jeffrey S. Baker, a prominent Albany-based attorney (from the law firm Young, Sommer,Ward, Ritzenberg, Baker & Moore) to guide us in the legal fight against this abusive project. We have also retained the highly skilled civil rights and constitutional attorney Matthew Brinckerhoff (from the law firm Emery, Celli, Brinckerhoff & Abady) as lead counsel on the federal eminent domain lawsuit filed on October 26, 2006. Together with important experts in the fields of economics, traffic, pollution and waste, Mr. Baker, Mr. Brinckerhoff and Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn are committed to challenging the proposed plan.

Jeffrey S. Baker has extensive experience in environmental, zoning and land use law.  He has represented both the public and private sector, including major environmental organizations in the permitting and opposition to major commercial and industrial projects.  Mr. Baker is a member of the Executive Committee of the Environmental Law Section of the NYS Bar Association and is currently co-chair of its Committee on Historic Preservation, Parks, and Recreation.  Mr. Baker represented Friends of Hudson in its multiyear battle against the St. Lawrence Cement Company's initiative to build a polluting mega-project along the Hudson River in Columbia County. Despite a sizeable legal war chest deployed by the Cement Company, the opposition mounted by a determined network of grassroots activists and public interest lawyers, led by Mr. Baker, succeeded in blocking the plant. [Lawsuit status.]

Matthew D. Brinckerhoff is a founding partner of his firm. Mr. Brinckerhoff has a diverse general, commercial, and civil rights litigation practice, with a focus on representing individuals and not-for-profit corporations in First Amendment, police misconduct, discrimination, voting rights, and government contracting cases. Mr. Brinckerhoff began his legal career as a law clerk to Naomi Reice Buchwald in the federal district court for the Southern District of New York and as a litigator with the law firm of Dorsey & Whitney. From 1992 to 1995, Mr. Brinckerhoff worked for South Brooklyn Legal Services, prosecuting government reform class actions and providing direct client representation to persons unable to afford legal counsel.  Mr. Brinckerhoff, along with Jonathan Abady, successfully litigated Gasperini v. The Center for Humanities, 518 U.S. 415 (1996), in the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Brinckerhoff also has substantial experience in class action and multi-party litigation, including Tyson v. City of New York, representing a class of 60,000 who were arrested for minor violations and strip-searched in violation of their Fourth Amendment rights, and which was ultimately settled for $50 million. He is a member of the American Constitution Society; Association of the Bar of the City of New York and the Police Abuse Lawyers Coalition.

We are raising funds to help in this effort from concerned residents and citizens like you. However, legal battles spanning many years are expensive and our estimated costs ARE $700,000-$900,000. Below is a contribution form for Develop Don’t Destroy: Brooklyn--your support is crucial to the struggle for fair, inclusive, and responsible development that benefits the borough of Brooklyn and its communities.