In today's Crain's Insider($) the newsletter is reporting that a local development corp has been formed to "negotiate a benefits agreement on behalf of neighbors of Columbia University's planned second campus in Manhattanville." The group, seeded with $350,000 provided by City Hall, consists of 13 reps from community, bushiness and residential factions.
As Crain's wonders, could this be a change of policy on the part of the Bloomberg Administration when it comes to the approval of CBAs? The mayor's criticism of the negotiations around the Mets stadium apparently devolved more from his lack of control over the process than from any philosophical disagreement with the CBA concept.
That being said there is some merit in the Columbia approach -as long as the LDC is actually representative of the impacted community. It gives some rationality, and hopefully some transparency, to the CBA process. It'll be interesting to see how this turns out and what the reactions will be from some of Columbia's opponents.
In any case it is a sharp departure from the manner in which these things are done in the Bronx. We finally got some reaction from BP Carrion over his jettisoning of some CB#4 members because of their opposition to the Beep's Yankee Stadium plans. As the NY Daily News reports this morning, Adolfo's view of the community resembles that of Louis the XIV ("Le etat c'est moi"): "My very clear expectation is that these appointees are there to carry out a vision for the borough president and the leadership of this borough, and that's simply what I expect." We'll see whether these turn out to be words to live by or to eat.