ESDC Appoints Atlantic Yards Ombudsman

ForestTaylor1.jpgAfter more than six months—and some gentle prompting from concerned residents—the ESDC finally made good on its promise to appoint an ombudsman to Atlantic Yards. The state announced yesterday that Forrest R. Taylor, who was City Council Speaker Gifford Miller’s chief of staff, would assume the role of acting as a liaison between government agencies, the public and Forest City Ratner for the mega-development. According to the ESDC’s press release, Taylor more recently served as a manager at a Harlem-based consulting firm called Prowess Initiatives & Analysis, a company that does not appear to have a website affiliated with its operations. (The Brooklyn Eagle notes that it is listed as a member of the National Minority Business Council.) A 2002 Times profile of Taylor, meanwhile, suggested that he relished being second in command to the Council Speaker (”If you want to be an elected official, go out and get yourself elected and then you can agree with yourself all the time,” he said) but that he could also be demanding in his own right: His prerequisites for assuming that position included a $161,800 salary, an office with a courtyard view, and a supply of single-malt Scotch. While Taylor’s current salary and booze supply have not been revealed, the new ombudsman said he would insure the community has access to current information and swift responses to questions and concerns. And if that ends up being true, we’re certainly willing to toast to it. In other AY-related personnel news yesterday, the Conflicts of Interest Board announced it was fining City Planning Commission member Dolly Williams $4,000 for voting in support of Atlantic Yards when she had a financial stake in the project. Williams is being replaced by CB 2 Chairwoman Shirley McRae.
The AY Ombudsman Cometh, Finally, and the Questions Begin [AY Report]
Atlantic Yards Ombudsman is Named [City Room]
PUBLIC LIVES; Sparring With the Old Boss, on Behalf of the New [NY Times]
Atlantic Yards Gets Ombudsman [Brooklyn Eagle]
Yards-Linked Planner Fined, Successor Named [NY Daily News]
For Atlantic Yards, Someone to Watch Over [Brownstoner]
CBN to ESDC: Where the Hell’s The AY Ombudsman? [Brownstoner]
Photo by Andrea Mohin for the New York Times.

24 Comment

  • He demanded a supply of single-malt scotch from his employer in the city council? You’re kidding, right?

  • Man, his life is going to be hell. Bet on it.

    He’ll need a lot of scotch.

  • Pretty Psyched about Shirley McRae. She’s all business and suffers no fools.

  • Single malt scotch will be worthless once AY is built.

  • Single malt scotch will be essential once AY is built.

  • ASSISTING a City Council member pays $160 large?? I’ve sat in several Council meetings, and most of the MEMBERS strike me as barely qualified to make a fraction of that amount. Where do I sign up??

  • I offered my services to Giff in exchange for $150K and three goats…he turned me down.

  • Ah, this thread is telling. There was a time when AY threads produced 100+ comments, but that no longer happens, as most people, whether for or against AY, accept its inevitability and are weary of debating.

  • Or have figured out that posting on Brownstoner affects nary a thing.

  • I am waiting Norman Oder to write 20,000 words on the fact that FORREST Taylor is the ombudsman for a FOREST City Ratner project. See! See! It’s all a conspiracy….

  • I attempted to read Oder’s “column” this morning, but simply did not have time to wade through the sea of words. How a man with such piss poor writing skills obtained a journalism degree from an Ivy league school is beyond me.

    As usual, there is no pleasing him or the other AY opponents. They screeched when no ombudsman was present and now that one has been appointed, they’re likely to complain even louder.

  • You are all jealous you get to be ombudsmen for free! D-O-N-E-D-E-A-L.

  • Yeah, i wish all the city’s reporters had “such piss poor writing skills” and if it’s so difficult to read Oder’s 830 word article, you migh as well stick with the usual 220 word NY Post “columns.”

    Complain to an ombudsman, what a novel idea.

  • Actually, the longer this thing is held up in court, the less likely it is to happen at all. Vive la recession, saving Brooklyn from the heathens!

  • Vive la Récession!!!

    Yes, Monsieur Odeur’s writing skills could use some improvement and he has had some real monster entries that even I, a “good reader” who will stick with it, had to abandon (time commitment was too great and his poor style was too tiring).

    But please, indeed, this entry of his today is only 796 words not counting th title…a mere nothing by Odor Standards.

    Indeed, he has some entries you might need to walk away from but generally, if you can take a couple of deep breaths and remember to keep breathing rhythmically and get through them, you’ll find he does make some decent points and conveys quite a bit of information. I wish he would let me edit his pieces before he posts them.


  • Wait a minute…Is this Forrest C. R. Taylor?!!! My goodness…does it get any better than this? Almost like “Dick Army” or “Armand Hammer”…Such a close match to the FCR you think they might have thought twice.



  • 4:44,

    Just because Oder’s most recent column runs 830 words does not refute that the most of his other columns run much longer. So, my point stands: the guy can’t write worth a damn and because he is so long-winded and cannot make a point without including an avalanche of irrelevant detail he gets less readers than if he made his points succinctly.

    My point about AY opponents never being satisfied also stands. I never said, as you imply, that people shouldn’t complain to an ombudsman, only that when AY opponents get what they ask for (in this case, an ombudsman), they continue whining. Short of stopping the project, they will never be satisfied.

  • 8:58,
    I agree that Oder does ramble…makes it hard to read his blog. Usually, I don’t have the time to get through one of his articles…especially tedious are his meeting minutes. But, still, there is some interesting info for those who can stick with it.

    That said, I’m not sure why you’ve painted, with such a wide brush, a picture of AY opponents all whining…What?…the news just came out and you read a blurb and maybe Oder’s blog entry. This hardly qualifies as “AY opponents” in general. Or maybe…you live with one of the DDDB main organizers so have your finger on the pulse(?). But I doubt that.

    You can hardly start claiming that all AY opponents are whining or complaining as yet.

    You sound very quick to judge and prejudiced.

  • No, I’m not “quick to judge”, it’s just that I’ve observed how many of the prominent AY opponents have conucted themselves over the past few years and know from experience that they will villify Mr. Taylor if he fails to toe their party line. They do this to everyone who disagrees with them. Give it a week or two and their blogs (DDDB, NLG, and AYR) will have plenty of posts to prove my point.

  • Actually, there’s an example from DDDB’s web site, posted just this morning in response to comments made by Mr. Taylor:

    “Mediator?” “Sexy project?” We wouldn’t expect the Atlantic Yards ombudsman to dislike the project, but it is tough to imagine “mediation” from such a fond admirer; maybe some prodding, but “mediation?”

    See? The man was appointed only yesterday and already DDDB is expressing skepticism about his abilities to perform the job of ombudsman.

  • “See? The man was appointed only yesterday and already DDDB is expressing skepticism about his abilities to perform the job of ombudsman.”

    The guy was just appointed yesterday and already the guy is calling Atlantic Yards a “sexy project.” THAT, my friend, is absurd.

    So when a complaint or question comes in from a concerned citizen, what’s he gonna tell them? “Don’t worry hunny, it’s sexy, don’t be a prude.”

    By “sexy project” did he mean that’s why we’re all getting f’d?

  • You’re changing the subject. The challenge to my point was that I was being too hasty in judging AY opponents’ reaction to Mr. Taylor’s appointment. I countered with an example that proved my point.

    Re: your comment about his calling the project “sexy”, even DDDB conceded that they would not expect an ombudsman to dislike a project (though they will likely criticize hom for doing so).

    So, again: AY opponents, especially those that have elected to be at the forefront, are barely giving this guy a chance, and he will continue to be villified if he does not align himself with their views.