Wednesday, October 19, 2005

In a Shock, Bloomberg Supports Eminent Domain

Today's Post is reporting that the Bloomberg administration warned lawmakers "they could seriously hurt future development by changing a law that allows government to condemn and seize property." As Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo testified, "Eminent domain is crucial..."

Cardoza, apparently ignoring the furor created by the SC's Kelo ruling, told the lawmakers that New York laws have enough protection for property owners and called for the establishment of a commission to study the "ramifications of altering" the law. Apparently Cardoza and his boss are unconcerned with the ramifications of simply taking someone's home or business. He also mimicked the Court's endorsement of the wonderful protections of the "carefully considered plan of economic development."

All of which is unsurprising considering the mayor's statements on Willet's Point and the actions of the city in the evictions of the merchants at the BTM (where a carefully considered plan was conceived, not by the city directly, but by a developer who was sole-sourced for the project and just happened to be a close friend of the deputy mayor).

This brings us back to the "above politics" and special interest mantra. When it comes to economic development the Bloombergistas believe in trickle down economics and the value of patricianage. Where are the Black and Latino developers? Oh yes, they say, we'll give job training and sub-contracting to the booty capitalists but the big projects need to go to the folks with the "requisite experience," and we just happen to know who these good burghers are. In fact I just had dinner with them last night at the club.

This is not special interest politics, they continue, it is about competence and resources to do the right job. The fact that the Chosen all look alike and are from the same circle of friends doesn't detract from the fact that merit and the public interest was all that went into decision on this deal, they claim.

Essentially, as the political scientist Schattschneider remarked (paraphrasing somewhat): The so-called public interest choir sings with a distinctly upper class accent.