Monday, August 06, 2007

Columbia's Duplicity

Much was made in the press about the apparent decision by CU to not try to invoke the use of eminent domain to remove tenants from the low income housing in the path of the university's expansion. In the view of the Coalition to Preserve Community (CPC), which will hold a press conference today at 11:15 in front of City Planning, the university's announcement was little more than a public relations charade, one that was issued in bad faith and was designed to create the false impression that the university's relationship with area tenants had reached some improved status.

In addition, was disappointed with the reactions of some of the area's elected officials who went out of their way to praise the university's decision. That was a mistake on their part and here's why: The university is still looking to evict the tenants from their homes. The fact that it is exploring alternative methods doesn't change the unacceptability of this basic fact. The reality here is that the tenants still want to stay, and Columbia is still looking to remove them; a situation that makes those who enthusiastically praise the university on the eminent domain ruse look incredibly foolish, and disingenuous.

CPC has told us that it opposes the university's strong arm tenant removal tactics , whatever label is used to describe them. Without the tenants approval of any relocation plan, all of the press releases in the world will not change the one basic reality here: Columbia University, with little or no regard for the community, is looking to steamroll the residents and businesses so that it can aggrandize its own selfish interests.

No amount of scapegoating of university opponents will change the facts on the ground: the Columbia plan is an attempt to steamroll the community, and use political muscle to stifle any accomodation to neighborhood wishes. Spineless representation enables this situation, and we will soon be making the munecos uncomfortable in their role as toadies to the corporate interests.