The New York State Urban Development Corporation law was enacted in 1968 to make it easier to desegregate cities through urban renewal. It provides the State (in the form of the Empire State Development Corporation) with the power to cut through local red tape to move projects ahead.
Unfortunately, in the years since its enactment, the UDC law has often been subverted into a tool for powerful, politically-connected private developers to use to steamroll local communities for projects that have little to do with the public interest. It's not just Atlantic Yards: in New York City, the same law was recently used by Columbia University to seize the property of local business owners for the school's expansion.
In these situations, the State makes a one-sided decision about the supposed "economic benefits" of a favored developer's project. Incredibly, no elected official from Brooklyn ever got a chance to vote on the Atlantic Yards project.
It's time to strengthen State development regulations and put an end to "government among friends." Our neighborhoods should no longer be torn apart for private profit with no representation. Local communities must have a voice in determining the public benefit of projects proposed for State sponsorship, and our elected officials must have a vote on their approval.