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About DDDB
Our coalition consists of 21 community organizations and there are 51 community organizations formally aligned in opposition to the Ratner plan.

DDDB is a volunteer-run organization. We have over 5,000 subscribers to our email newsletter, and 7,000 petition signers. Over 800 volunteers have registered with DDDB to form our various teams, task-forces and committees and we have over 150 block captains. We have a 20 person volunteer legal team of local lawyers supplementing our retained attorneys.

We are funded entirely by individual donations from the community at large and through various fundraising events we and supporters have organized.

We have the financial support of well over 3,500 individual donors.

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"Why should people get to see plans? This isn't a public project."
Bruce Ratner in Crain's Nov. 8, 2009

Sports Economist Battered in Blogosphere

It's been a bit of a slow news week for Atlantic Yards watchers, but as underground radio legend Scoop Nisker used to say, "if you don't like the news, go out and make some of your own."  And the interesting news event over the past two days has been watching the multimedia dust-up between Smith College sports economist Andrew Zimbalist (one-time sports arena critic and author of the laudatory FCR report on Atlantic Yards) and Norman Oder from Atlantic Yards Report, who needs no introduction in this space.  The exchange has also been enlightening for students of the changing dynamics of the media landscape.

For Prof. Zimbalist it started innocently enough, with an appearance on the Brian Lehrer show in this All-Star week ostensibly to discuss the economics of baseball.  But early on host Lehrer began to home in on Zimbalist's apparent new enthusiasm for the tax-exempt financing that the Yankees (and the Nets) are seeking, finally saying with some surprise "So you’re really a defender of the Steinbrenners, on these various controversies?"

Zimbalist began a quick verbal tap dance but it was too late.  A few minutes later, this exchange occurred:

Lehrer: ...somebody just wrote on our comments page… Zimbalist opposed tax-exempt bonds for stadiums in his 2003 book May the Best Team Win but hasn’t raised that point in the debate over Yankee Stadium and Atlantic Yards.

Zimbalist: Now, wait a minute--I didn’t realize that my entire writings from the last 20 years on stadiums was going to be the subject of this conversation.
And the ball, so to speak, was now in the online court. 

Comments began to pile up on the Lehrer show Website, and then yesterday morning Oder dissected the entire performance on Atlantic Yards Report.  So Zimbalist had little choice but to defend himself on the Lehrer Website.  By yesterday afternoon, Oder had posted a point-by-point response to Zimbalist's self-defense, with a devastating level of detail suggesting that Oder is more familiar with the Zimbalist body of work than the professor himself. 

Finally, this morning, Oder posted the third part of his May 28 interview with Neil deMause, co-author of the book Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit, and it turns out to be about....Andrew Zimbalist.  The concluding exchange:
deMause: I think there are a fair number of people who don’t take him seriously any more. There are certainly people who will talk to him and cite him and refer people to him. He’s still a smart economist, but the fact that this is someone who has said, oh, consulting reports paid for by sports team owners are worth crap and then went and did a consulting report paid for by a sports team owner [Bruce Ratner]--that doesn’t make him look very good.

Oder: It was not peer reviewed.

deMause: Yeah. I don’t think it's destroyed his reputation by any means, but I think there are a lot of people who don’t take him as seriously as they used to. I certainly don’t. I used to think he was somebody who you could go to and would give you a straight answer based on his years and decades of study. I’ve just seen too much work by him that seems to be bending over backwards to make a project look good. His response, when I ask him about it, is What do you know, you’re not an economist.

I’m like, Yeah, I know I’m a journalist. That’s why my job is to question the economists. So, if the numbers don't add up, I’ve got a calculator. So it’s been very difficult. Andy has always been a prickly guy in the best of times and he’s never taken kindly to people disagreeing with him on stuff.
Apparently not.  And it's likely that Professor Zimbalist will think long and hard before appearing on another radio talk show that has such a lively comment board. 

Who needs peer review when you have the blogosphere? 

Posted: 7.16.08
DDDB.net en español.
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