The Brooklyn Paper’s editorial board is saying “yes” to Two Trees’ controversial Dock Street DUMBO Project. In giving approval for the plan in this week’s edition they write:
What is often forgotten when passions run high is that David Walentas is not a drive-by developer who wants to destroy DUMBO while grabbing a few quick bucks.
He spent the last 30 years, patiently and meticulously, building modern DUMBO from a warehouse district into one of the city’s most-desirable neighborhoods, maintaining its architectural and historic integrity. He still lives on Main Street with his wife, Jane.
He’s made millions, yes, but we hardly think his opponents, many of them well off residents of Brooklyn Heights, want to make the intellectually dishonest argument that risk-taking, responsible investors should be denied a profit.
And lest we forget, all of the buildings that have earned the ire of DUMBO residents and workers — including the ugly Beacon Tower that destroys the view of the Manhattan Bridge and the 33-story J Condo — were the ones NOT built by Walentas.
While Walentas was nurturing arts groups and Mom and Pop stores, someone else brought in the generic Starbucks that DUMBO residents love to hate.
Time and time again, David and Jed Walentas have proven to be responsible stewards of their DUMBO holdings. Their Dock Street project should be approved.
This would be all fine and dandy if the paper hadn’t made such a big deal about its unbiased coverage. Literally yesterday, Brooklyn Paper publisher Ed Weintrob added a comment to a Dock Street story on its website proclaiming:
A few posters who oppose the Dock Street building have alleged that The Brooklyn Paper is a “shill for the developer,” that our reporting is “editorializing” and “a travesty of journalism,” and that we are “obviously biased and beholden to Two Trees” because we rent an office in a Two Trees-owned building.
We don’t expect everyone to agree with the emphasis of some of our stories (about Dock Street or anything else), and since we clearly know how to dish it out, we’re not going to grumble about “taking it” in turn.
But do regular readers of The Brooklyn Paper REALLY believe we are “shills” for developers? Please!
As for Two Trees, it is no secret that we are rental tenants in one of Two Trees’ DUMBO buildings (we’ve mentioned this in the past, and several posters have pointed it out on our own Web site — so, no secret). As far as we know, our lease terms are in line with those of comparable tenants. We PAY for our space.
So there is no conspiracy or secret payback here. We are not business partners with Two Trees in the sense that the business fortunes of Two Trees do not affect our bottom line (unlike, for instance, the New York Times, which has a business partnership in its Times Square building with Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner).
While our coverage is honestly motivated, we accept that people with equally honest motivations might choose to approach the story differently, and that is why this comment space is open to all reasonable parties.
The Brooklyn Paper
In this case, wouldn’t it have been better for Brooklyn Paper to not take a stand and maintain the illusion of fair and balanced reporting?