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Rancor And Race Dominate Atlantic Yards Hearing

More than 1,000 people, advocates and opponents, descended on a small auditorium Wednesday night to take sides on Bruce Ratner's plans for a new Nets' arena and development. By the time it was over hours later, light had been outclassed by heat as rancorous comments and racial animousity dominated the proceedings and middle ground was hard to come by. Critics charge the $4.2 billion project will change Brooklyn forever while advocates seize on the opportunities for housing and culture it would bring.