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Brooklyn Bridge Park Luxury Housing Controversy An Issue In Public Advocate Race

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The controversy over luxury housing in Brooklyn Bridge Park continues to be an issue in the campaign for public advocate as a new poll indicates that most people still don't know much about the race. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

In the last debate for Public Advocate, Letitia James went after her rival Daniel Squadron over his involvement in the development of Brooklyn Bridge Park.

"Dan, you made a pledge when you were running for office that you would oppose housing in a public park, and then, after getting elected, you flip-flopped," James said. "You cut a deal with Mayor Bloomberg and you built luxury housing in a public park."

"I was elected, and there was a plan for Brooklyn Bridge Park that was a done deal," Squadron said. "I had a lot of problems with that, including building luxury condos to fund the park. I was able to get into the middle of it, reduce the housing."

In his run for state Senate in 2008, Squadron pledged that he would fight any luxury housing as part of the park's development. The original plans called for luxury high rises.

Those involved in the negotiations said that Squadron was one of the strongest advocates to keep luxury housing out and did manage to greatly reduce the housing component. But there will be some condos, including a residential complex on John Street just north of the Manhattan Bridge.

In the same debate, Squadron also swore off certain types of campaign donations.

"Look, I alone in this race don't take contributions from political action committees, LLCs, partnerships," he said. "I never have."

But according to city campaign finance records, Squadron has taken tens of thousands of dollars from board members and their spouses of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy and the Brooklyn Bridge Development Corporation, both of which were designed to promote and build the park.

Those associated with the development corporation contributed nearly $30,000.

"Look, I've got supporters from across the city, including, I'm sure, a whole lot of people who love this park," Squadron said.

A new Quinnipiac Poll shows that 72 percent of likely Democratic voters could not name a single candidate in the public advocate race.

Squadron did not give up his state Senate seat in order to run for public advocate, and if the race does not work out, he said he plans to run for the senate seat again in 2014.

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