Reason.tv: Battle for Brooklyn-Eminent Domain Abuse Gone Wild

The Battle For Brooklyn, a documentary about one man’s fight to stop a private developer from using eminent domain to take his home, recently opened in select theaters in New York City after a successful film-festival run.

In 2003, billionaire real estate developer and New Jersey Nets owner Bruce Ratner decided to move the team to Brooklyn, with the intention of building an arena, an affordable housing project, and bringing desperately needed jobs to the borough of Brooklyn. Ratner’s friend and fellow billionaire, Michael Bloomberg, enthusiastically put the weight of top-down government planning behind the project. That included using the city government’s extensive powers of eminent domain, despite the fact eminent domain is supposed to be used only in cases where development is for public uses such as schools and roads. And despite the fact that the construction of what became known as the “Atlantic Yards” project would displace many thriving businesses and homes.

Graphic designer Daniel Goldstein fought for nearly seven years to keep his home out of the hands of Ratner’s company, Forest City Ratner. Goldstein’s quixotic struggle is the centerpiece of The Battle For Brooklyn.

Reason.tv sat down with co-directors Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley to discuss eminent domain abuse and political perceptions of their film. Galinsky and Hawley insist their film is not a polemic, but rather an all-too-common story of a single person fighting an injustice against figures whose power and influence drawf his own.

Produced by Anthony L. Fisher. About 4.40 minutes.

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Related video: Billionaires vs. Brooklyn’s Best Bar: Eminent Domain Abuse and the Atlantic Yards Project.

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