Friday, March 14, 2008

Paterson Could Derail Development - Opposes Use of Eminent Domain

Paterson Could Derail Development
Opposes Use of Eminent Domain
Staff Reporter of the Sun
March 14, 2008
Mike Groll / AP

Lieutenant Governor David Paterson
speaks at news conference in the
state Capitol.

If David Paterson as governor displays the opposition to eminent domain that he showed as a state senator, several high-profile development projects in New York City could be derailed or delayed, including a Columbia University expansion, the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, and the transformation of Willets Point in Queens.

As a state Senate leader, Mr. Paterson in 2005 held a rally with Council Member Letitia James and state Senator William Perkins on the steps of City Hall during which he called for a statewide moratorium on the use of eminent domain.

Mr. Paterson said a decision handed down by the Supreme Court in the Kelo v. City of New London case could lead to a "gold rush" of eminent domain use across the state, The New York Sun reported at the time. He said he would gather legislators and introduce legislation to impose a moratorium on its use.

"He stood with me and proposed some legislation and I am very hopeful that the lieutenant governor and soon-to-be governor will honor his commitment and will either issue a moratorium or review the abuse of eminent domain across New York City," Ms. James said yesterday in an interview.

Ms. James's district is in Brooklyn, and she opposes developer Bruce Ratner's $4 billion Atlantic Yards project near downtown Brooklyn, which would require use of eminent domain.

Mr. Paterson's opposition to eminent domain could also pit him against Mayor Bloomberg, who has defended its use. "You would never build any big thing any place in any big city in this country if you didn't have the power of eminent domain," Mr. Bloomberg once said.

NB - David Paterson is well known in WestSide Harlem for his many years representing portions of the District.
I know him to be honest, intelligent, highly experienced and attuned to the needs of the community. He is respected and liked by his collegues in government and known to work on a non-partisan basis. Potentially he can be one of the best Governors New York has had in many years. Everyone that I have spoken with in the last few days seems to feel the same way and rejoice in his ascension to the governorship. - JRM

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