Monday, April 09, 2007

Toxic Brooklyn

New series from VBS.tv
(check out the comments)

1 comment:

Greenpoint Archive said...

The oil story is 30 years old and was never hidden. The clean up has been going on since the early 90's with regular annual public meetings in the community providing updates. Health data shows no abnormal spike in health related issues even after 50 years.
VBS also conveniently leaves out the fact that:
1) More than half of the 17 million gallon spill has already been cleaned up. 
2) The remediation process has been going on, with the blessing of local elected officials, since 1992 and continues. 
3) The spill is almost entirely under the remote western industrial section of Greenpoint near the East Williamsburg industrial park. There are a few residential streets near Kingsland Avenue that are above the spill, but the vast majority of residential properties are not involved with the spill.
The oil is not oozing up as the video suggests. There are no vapors covering the community as the video suggests. VBS never explains that Dorothy Swick's problem arose because a neighbor decided to illegally drill for a well in his backyard thirty feet down to reach a contaminated aquifer. Her vapor problem was created by that stupidity, not by any oil bubbling up.
Athough "Toxic Brooklyn" covers some of Williamsburg's environmental issues in the first two episodes, they also carefully mixed in many clips of people saying how much they love Williamsburg. Even the narrator announces "everyone wants a piece of funkytown". The video is laced with attractive shots of billyburg shop and boutiques. When it comes to Greenpoint, no such video. Only repeated clips of our notorious Laura Hoffman complaining and lying about the neighborhood. The video never mentions that she is one of only six residents who joined Riverkeepers lawsuit against the oil companies for the oil spill, or that none of the six plaintiffs live above the spill. It is a tragedy to be dealing with an illness in the family, but that does not excuse anyone from spreading hurtful lies about a community. She mentions the Greenpoint Incinerator even though there is no Greenpoint incinerator. The smoke stacks the camera zooms in on are the Con Edison stacks in Astoria. Mrs. Hoffman has been a loud voice protesting the rezoning and waterfront development in Greenpoint. This may explain the purpose of her scare tactics.
Tom Stagg, who is in the video, claims to be living on top of oil even though Newell Street is not where the spill is. What a sloppy fact checking job VBS did with this. You see, Mr. Stagg's property is adjacent to McGuinness Blvd which went through a major reconstruction including digging all of the old building foundations from the street. No oil was found during the project. Mr. Stagg is not telling the truth. Greenpoint has lower cancer rates than Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights and many other Bklyn neighborhoods. It also has some of the lowest cancer rates in all of nyc/nys. These stats can easily be seen at
http://www.nyhealth.gov/statistics/cancer/registry/pdf/volume1nycneighborhoods.pdf
But of course that was never mentioned in the video. Just 5 straight episodes dedicated to spreading exaggerations and lies about Greenpoint.
Cutesy shots of hipsters frolicking in Williamsburg juxtaposed against two questionable individuals making claims that people in Greenpoint are falling victim to cancer makes it clear what VBS's agenda is. All these lies started when Greenpoint won its battle against Community Board 1 and local Brooklyn based politicians to have its East River waterfront (nowhere near the spill) rezoned for residential development. Hope VBS got a nice check for their work. What's the going rate for slander these days?