Sunday, August 03, 2008

Columbia University Engages in Legalized Theft

Thanks to the idiotic supreme court justices Breyer, Ginsberg, Souter, Stevens, and Kennedy, it is perfectly legal for a local, state, or federal government to seize one person's real property and give it to someone else. Their ludicrous decision in the Kelo v. New London case made this possible.

Accordingly, Columbia University in Manhattan is using the coercive power of New York state to seize 17 acres in Manhattan, including the land owned by two businesses that refused to sell to them.

The Empire State Development Corporation today declared blighted a 17-acre swath of Manhattanville where Columbia University is seeking to expand, a major step toward allowing the state to use eminent domain to acquire the property of two businesses that have declined to sell their land to the university.
Opponents of the $6 billion expansion plan said the results of the study that found the area to be blighted were a foregone conclusion, because AKRF Inc., the firm hired by the state to conduct the report, known as a blight study, had also performed an environmental analysis of the same site for Columbia University. (Two courts have questioned whether it was appropriate for the state to have used the same consultant that Columbia did.)
The report by AKRF found that the area mostly comprised “aging, poorly maintained and functionally obsolete industrial buildings with little indication of recent reinvestment to revive their generally deteriorated condition.”
Columbia already owns most of the 17-acre area where it plans to expand. Among the exceptions are two businesses: a gas station and a moving and storage company that have refused to sell to the university. The development corporation’s report is significant because it could mean that the gas station and the moving and storage company will have to relocate.
The university plans to demolish all but four of the buildings in the area, which is bounded roughly by Broadway on the east, Riverside Drive on the west, West 129th Street on the south and West 133rd Street on the north.
At least one public hearing regarding the university’s expansion is planned, probably in September, said Warner Johnston, a spokesman for the Empire State Development Corporation.

They call this an area with 'deteriorated condition'. If it were truly so bad, the owners of the gas station and moving company would be eager to sell. Obviously, the offers made to them by Columbia were not sufficient. Instead of making them a more lucrative offer, Columbia has used its political influence to get the state of New York to literally seize the property and throw the rightful owners off their land by force.

Leftists are constantly telling us how they are for the poor and downtrodden, but cases like this and Kelo show this to be a bald-faced lie. Their top priority is to maximize the power of the government. Justices Ginsberg and Breyer were nominated by Clinton (and personally picked by Hillary). Justices Souter and Stevens were nominated by Republican presidents, but they have turned into leftist chameleons and they vote in each case in the manner that Ginsberg and Breyer vote.

It is time that we stand up for our rights and tell our elected officials that we will not tolerate their despotic activities any further.

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