Monday, July 11, 2005

Stealing from the Little Guy

Yesterday in her Daily News column E.R. Shipp underscored the ideological confusion that is eminent domain. As she pointed out, the Supreme Court’s Kelo decision created a number of unusual bedfellows. In this case, Norman Siegel and West Side activist Tom Demott agreeing with Justice Clarence Thomas.

Both Siegel and Demott have been taking on Columbia and fighting the university’s expansion into the Manhattanville neighborhood. Demott’s organization, The West Harlem Business group, is trying to hold onto private properties that Columbia would like the State to seize. As Shipp points out, the Court’s decision forecloses a legal challenge but, citing Justice Stevens:

"We emphasize that nothing in our opinion precludes any State from placing further restrictions on its exercise of the takings power”
As we have pointed out, Siegal envisions a right-left coalition demanding the protection of property rights. The strongest remarks, however, are reserved for columnist Shipp who, while we have disagreed with her strongly in the past on issues like the East Harlem Pathmark, nails this issue:

As polite as I have been here, my neighbor has it right. This is rape and pillage of the little person. It's time for legislators to do something about this.
Next stop, Willets Point.