Eminent Domain And The 2010 NY Gubernatorial Race
groundreport.com/articles.php?id=2929079; groundreport.com/articles.php?id=2922303 ; groundreport.com/articles.php?id=2890386 and Stop The Pork Lawsuit Combats Corporate Welfare & Eminent Domain Abuse http://groundreport.com/articles.php?id=2875068Stop The Pork Lawsuit Butchered In Supreme Court http://Stop The Pork Lawsuit Appeal To Be Heard http://
New Yorkers will choose a new governor on November 2nd who can greatly affect the use of eminent domain to seize private property. The Governor signs or vetoes
legislation, proposes budgets for agencies involved in eminent domain and appoints their leading personnel. Recent cases include Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, Willets Point
in Queens, Bass Pro in Buffalo, and Columbia University's science campus in West Harlem, also known as Manhattanville. This piece tries to be objective, but not impartial. I am opposed to corporate welfare and eminent domain abuse. To use the term from the translation of Frederic Bastiat's The Law, they are legalized plunder or in more contemporary language, legalized theft. This writer tried to be objective but not impartial. Let the reader be the judge. As a Libertarian, I support individual liberty, free markets and private property.
Let us consider the positions of these candidates: Andrew Cuomo (Democrat-Independence-Working Families) www.andrewcuomo.com; Howie Hawkins (Green) www.howiehawksins.com; Carl Paladino (Republican-Conservative-Taxpayers) http://paladinoforthepeople.com/issues.php; and Warren Redlich (Libertarian) www.wredlich.com/ny.
Current Attorney-General and former federal Secretary of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) has studiously avoided taking public positions on eminent domain as a principle or commenting on particular cases involving the state government. The HUD finances urban renewal schemes which employ eminent domain, such as the New Cassel
Revitalization Plan which began when Cuomo was still at HUD. The scheme seized amongst others, St. Luke's Pentecostal Church, which I defended. I do not know what role
he may have played in such decisions, which were supported by our local "progressives" in Nassau County.
Norman Oder's Atlantic Yards Report website took note of Cuomo's eminent domain record http://atlanticyardsreport.blogspot.com/2010/06/catching-up-on-ay-related-campaign.html. I have tried in vain to Google a quote from him on eminent domain except with regard to Carl Paladino's call for eminent domain to block the so-called World Trade Center mosque. Cuomo did not support Paladino's proposal.http://buffalo.bizjournals.com/buffalo/stories/2007/06/11/newscolumn2.html?page=2 "Paladino believes Buffalo should find the money to acquire and demolish AM&As." and http://greaterbuffalo.blogs.com/gbb/2005/03/jn_adam_amas_th.html "The reason for demolition? According to owner Richard Taylor, M&T Bank chairman Robert Wilmers and developer Carl Paladino blanched at the idea of a charter school operating in the building." Vacant lots do not seem to bother Paladino who owns many parking lots in addition to buildings. This writer wonders how the many advocates of charter schools feel about a gubernatorial candidate who blocked a charter school. Perhaps the United Federation of
Teachers will give an award, if not their endorsement.."Columbia University Obtains Eminent Domain Land Grab In Harlem http://groundreport.com/articles.php?id=2877150 Stop The Pork Lawsuit Wins Round, Goes To Court of Appeals http://
According to Oder, Cuomo was asked by Senator Bill Perkins to review the bonds underlying the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn which includes the Nets basketball arena. He did not respond. Oder reports that developer Bruce Ratner contributed $5,000 and the law firm representing the project contributed $52,900.
Similarly, in Queens. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704256304575321264003204850.html "Willets Point Group Claims Cuomo Delay" by Michael Howard Saul 6/22/10
"Queens property owners battling Mayor Michael Bloomberg's effort to redevelop the area near Citi Field are accusing Attorney General Andrew Cuomo of dragging his feet in a yearlong investigation into whether a city-funded corporation broke state law by lobbying for the plan."
Cuomo's website reports that he would centralize economic development in his office.
Hawkins is an avowed socialist and his position on eminent domain does not appear on his website. However, in an interview he declared http://dissidentvoice.org/May2004/Seidman0502.htm "We can use municipal taxing, purchasing, granting, bonding, and eminent domain powers to socialize and democratize key sectors of the local economy." In other words, a sweeping use of eminent domain to impose his vision on others. On the other hand, Brooklyn resident Gloria Mattera, running for Lieutenant Governor on the Green line was an activist against Atlantic Yards. I guess Greens are against eminent domain when it picks on people they like.
Paladino has been a vociferous supporter of corporate welfare and eminent domain schemes in Buffalo such as the Bass Pro sporting goods store on the waterfront. He both supported and criticized the Seneca Native American tribe's casino, apparently depending on its location vis-a-vis his interests. He clearly believes in the mirage of government economic planning and economic development schemes.
On the other hand, he calls for abolition of the State's department of housing and urban development. I commend him for this stand.
In 2005, Paladino demanded that Erie County seize the historic modernist J. N. Adam (also known as AM&A) department store complex by eminent domain and demolish it.
But the most famous Paladino stance on eminent domain has been his call to use eminent domain to block the Park 51 Islamic Center (the "Cordoba Project") labelled by Paladino and others the World Trade Center or Ground Zero mosque. "Tea Partiers Question Paladino's Bona Fides" Jacob Gershman 9/4/10 Wall Street Journal http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703946504575469912240346350.html "Mr. Paladino is a staunch opponent of eminent domain, Mr. Caputo said, but believes that using it to prevent the sponsors of the mosque from building on the Park Place site is a way to ensure the project is halted." Caputo is Michael Caputo, Paladino's campaign manager.
Even critics of the downtown Manhattan Islamic center recognize that Paladino's advocacy of eminent domain would imperil the state's case in court if were to take this action, as it would strip away any pretense of due process and good faith action by the State, thus running afoul of the caveats in the infamous Kelo decision. Compare with the appeal filed by Nicholas Sprayregen in the Columbia case in Manhattanville (West Harlem) and the issue raised by the Willets Point (Queens) property owners. Both raise this issue already in their cases. Of course, any government action to block the Islamic center would be a violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution.
Full disclosure: I asked Warren Redlich to seek the Libertarian Party nominaton and pressed him to have the eminent domain plank on his website. His is the only gubernatorial campaign website of these four candidates to have one. http://wredlich.com/ny/issues/eminent-domain/. He is a member of the town board of Guilderland where he blocked an eminent domain move. He specifically condemns Atlantic Yards and West Harlem.
Redlich links the eminent domain issue to the issues of spending "Not only does he favor amending our state’s laws, but he calls for abolishing the involved state agencies, including the Empire State Development Corporation and others involved in corporate welfare (aka economic development)."
Redlich rejects Paladino's eminent domain call around the World Trade Center to block the Islamic center. http://wredlich.com/ny/2010/07/mosque-in-new-york-city/ "I detest radical Islam, Hamas, Hezbollah, etc. I strongly support Israel. I’m Jewish. If I’m in a group of people captured by violent Muslims, I’m first in line for beheading. So don’t think for a second I’m soft on Islamic terrorists. ...People associated with the Tea Party movement often invoke the Constitution, especially the Second Amendment and the Tenth Amendment. If you support the Constitution, then support the whole document. Too often, so-called conservatives tout the 2nd Amendment but disdain the First, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments. Many are not keen on the Fourteenth either. Liberals suffer the same problem. They often dismiss the Second and Tenth Amendments, and ignore the limits of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Commerce Clause
My own activities have included opposition to the New York Times headquarters scheme I labelled Time$cam, the New Cassel seizure of St. Luke's Pentecostal Church, Atlantic Yards, Willets Point, and Columbia's Manhattanville science campus. I am a graduate of Columbia.
I am a plaintiff in the Stop the Pork Lawsuit to stop corporate welfare in New York.
While other issues will matter to voters, eminent domain is likely to be called for more often and should be taken into account by them. The next governor can greatly affect the use of eminent domain as well as its companion-in-arms, corporate welfare. As an property rights voter, I will vote for Libertarian Party candidate Warren Redlich. I hope others so also. -30-
About the author: Richard Cooper is an international trade executive with a manufacturing firm on Long Island, New York, USA. He is active in the Libertarian Party www.lp.org on eminent domain and other issues. He was chair of the Libertarian Party of New York http://ny.lp.org.
Tags: 2010 Election , NY Governor's Race , Carl Paladino , Andrew Cuomo , Eminent Domain , Property Rights , Atlantic Yards , Willets Point , Columbia Eminent Domain I , Empire State Development
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