Monday, June 11, 2007

With A Whimper

As excuses for a poor rate of posting, this one is not bad. I've been in Japan for a few days, and had very little wireless access. That I can complain about this hips you to the fact that I had a laptop with me. It was, however, mostly a personal trip, and I was lugging a computer around to finish some work.

My attention to matters blog-related is unlikely to improve. I have a work-related trip later on this week, and some green energy-related verbiage to pump out in the intervening period. Given how ghastly the renewable energy development community can be, and the fact that they were all out of pocket last week at the same whinge-fest in San Diego, my mood will not be good.

I haven't had a chance to look properly at the failure of one of the central legal challenges to the ugly and disruptive Atlantic Yards project. As reported in the New York Times, the judge rejected the idea that the project was largely private in nature. This will strike you as weird since the project mostly consists of a private sports arena and a bunch of private condo complexes.

But the involvement, albeit at a slightly late stage, of public bodies seems to have given it a sufficiently public veneer. Left unmentioned, but possibly also influential, were the role of misguided public officials in pushing the project and the use of tax-exempt financing for the project. The judge decided, as far as I can tell, that having some public benefit, however nebulous, was enough.

There will be a trickle of additional lawsuits in coming weeks and months, and a few chances to show that there are substantial public costs to this boondoggle. It will, at the very least, enforce in the public consciousness the flawed thinking behind the project. But Prospect Heights looks much more likely to get its own Metrotech, without having any of of the excuses on which the previous monstrosity was built.

The Sopranos ending? I won't engage in spoilers, but will only observe that the creator, David Chase, finally had to choose between the series' identity as a solid and gripping mob drama, and its reputation as a mirror on the American family. He chose the latter, but it wasn't really convincing. These are violent men, the violent times are incidental.


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