Thursday, May 10, 2007

ESDC Shifts Gears on Eminent Domain?

In today's Crain's In$ider, the newsletter reports that new ESDC head Patrick Foye may be more coy on the use of eminent domain than his predecessor at the agency. As he told the Crain's breakfast yesterday, "'Taking someones property without their consent is a serious matter and should be a last resort,' especially when it's done for private and not government use..."

All of which creates an even more interesting situation with the issue of the expansion of Columbia University, an expansion that the university's president says, cannot be done without the exercise of eminent domain. Of course, this is simply self-serving drivel. Columbia has plenty of room in its 18 acre plan to grow without taking any private property whatsoever.

As the lobbyists for one of the major property owners threatened, we will be delighted to sit down with the University and with ESDC to explain just how expansion can move forward in collaboration with the property owners, all for the overall common good. We anticiapte making this case politically, and think that it would be in Columbia's interest to modify its serf-serving position.