News | West Harlem

U.S. Supreme Court will not hear Manhattanville eminent domain case

Updated 6:35 p.m.

The nation’s highest court has decided not to reconsider the legality of eminent domain for Columbia’s campus expansion, marking the end of a two-year legal battle between the state and the remaining private landowners in Manhattanville.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court released its decision to deny the property owners’ appeal—the last recourse for Nick Sprayregen, owner of Tuck-It-Away Self-Storage, and gas station owners Gurnam Singh and Parminder Kaur, who have refused for the past six years to sell their land to the University.

This gives a clear green light for the state to use eminent domain on behalf of Columbia’s 17-acre campus expansion in West Harlem. The Supreme Court will not reassess a June ruling from the New York State Court of Appeals, which said that the state could transfer private property to the University in exchange for market-rate compensation for the current owners.

University President Lee Bollinger said in an interview that this decision marks an important transition for Columbia.

"I think it is a symbolic moment as well as a particular victory on the litigation," Bollinger said. "It is really the capstone of years of process. ... It’s a very important moment in the history of the University."

University officials have repeatedly said that the remaining properties—which represent about 9 percent of the expansion zone—are essential to Columbia's vision for the Manhattanville campus, which will stretch from 125th to 134th streets, bordered by Broadway and 12th Avenue.

But for the property owners, this is an unhappy conclusion to a long fight.

"It's a horrendous feeling," Sprayregen said Monday morning. "I’m sure it’s going to get worse as it [condemnation] physically starts happening."

When reached by phone Monday afternoon, Kaur said she was too upset to talk.

"I am feeling terrible," she said, in tears. "This is a heartbreaker. ... I can't believe they are taking my property."

The legal fight began in 2008, when the Empire State Development Corporation—the state agency with the power to invoke eminent domain—deemed the neighborhood “blighted,” paving the way for eminent domain, which is only legal for projects that serve the “public good.”

Sprayregen, Singh, and Kaur sued the state after the ESDC approval, and a year later, the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division ruled in a surprise decision that eminent domain in this case was in fact illegal, saying that the project was for the benefit of an “elite” private institution and thus did not qualify as a public good.

ESDC immediately appealed to the highest court in the state, the Court of Appeals, which overturned the Appellate Division ruling and argued in favor of eminent domain for Columbia’s campus. This ruling now stands uncontested.

"We are extremely disappointed that the Supreme Court of the United States decided not to hear this important eminent domain case," said Norman Siegel, Sprayregen’s attorney and the former director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. "The denial ... means that the abuse of eminent domain in New York stands."

Columbia Law School professor and property expert Richard Briffault said that this decision officially removes the legal question from the project. "They’ve had a green light for a while. This just confirms it," he said.

ESDC officials said on Monday that the agency was pleased with the Supreme Court's decision.

"This victory represents a significant step toward achieving the many goals of the project, including strengthening New York as an international center for premier education and academic research programs, improving facilities and infrastructure within the footprint and the surrounding community, generating thousands of jobs for New Yorkers and creating much-needed open space in the neighborhood," ESDC spokeswoman Elizabeth Mitchell said in an email.

The project now stands at a crossroads, as Columbia has already begun to push forward with demolition and construction on property it already owns. The first stage of the project, scheduled to be completed by 2015, will include new space for the Business School, the School of the Arts, and the Jerome L. Greene Science Center for Mind, Brain, and Behavior.

Bollinger said that, on a personal level, this decision is particularly significant.

"There’s no question I’ve devoted myself to this conception of the future of the University," he said. "It all follows from a belief that one of the problems that interferes with Columbia’s potential ... is space, and this effectively solves that problem."

The Supreme Court, which discussed the case on Friday and decided not to grant certiorari—the official term for agreeing to hear a case—has ruled in favor of eminent domain in the past. Most recently, in 2005, the court held in the landmark Kelo v. New London decision that eminent domain could be used to transfer property from one private owner to another for economic development purposes.

The chances of the court agreeing to reconsider eminent domain were low, since it typically grants about 1 percent of all petitions for certiorari.

Sprayregen said that, though he knew the court was unlikely to hear the case, it is hard to believe that he may soon actually lose his property, considering what he believes is clear evidence against the University. He said that Columbia, among other unfair practices, created blight through intentional neglect of its own properties, intimidated business owners with the threat of eminent domain, and colluded with ESDC.

"It is really unfathomable that I’ve ended up where I am," he said. "I still look back at times and think that it's almost impossible that this has occurred."

Siegel said that he and Sprayregen will discuss with Singh and Kaur what their next step will be.

"For more than six years, Nick Sprayregen and his family engaged in a principled challenge to the violation of his constitutional rights," Siegel said. "We had hoped for a different result."

David Smith, the attorney for Singh and Kaur, said his clients will be moving forward with litigation to set the value of their property.

"I will be fighting to get them maximum value for their properties," he said. "All we can do is wait to see what happens."

Check back for updates.

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Anonymous posted on

http://www.scotusblog.com/case...

These are the petition, response, and reply briefs that were supposedly reviewed in making this decision. Columbia, please at least read the Petition! I know it's finals week but put it in your electronic libraries for winter break. There is really no better way of understanding the entwined legal and social injustices being done in our name in West Harlem. We need to organize against this plan; if we don't, the best things in the community benefits agreement will certainly never happen, including the creation of a demonstration public highschool for local youth, the creation of 20-100million dollars worth of affordable housing, the granting of roughly 100 local scholarships, and the creation of a legal service to prevent housing discrimination as a result of rising rent structures. In addition, if we don't organize against this plan, we'll have to one day tell our grandchildren that we sat around idly while the beginning of the end of Harlem was consolidated in our names and on our dime. Visit the blog for more info and a contact address to get involved: scegblog.wordpress.com

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Cool Blue Reason posted on

Ben, I have lived in Harlem for a number of years, and I can assure you that it is not "ending."

I am a bit unclear on who exactly appointed you as arbiter of what -- and who -- is to constitute our community. I believe the cause of social justice would be better served were your efforts not so blatantly divisive.

There's still time to take a different approach, that is unless you really are just running on the fumes of self-righteous anger and ideological purity.

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Anonymous posted on

Pete:

Your mercurial remarks provoked a response from me, accidentally posted in reply to the useless comment below. Please accept my apologies.

Skippar

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Anonymous posted on

Aaaand.. Ben Totushek collapsed in a self-righteous paroxysm fueled by his own ego.

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Anonymous posted on

Wow, who's angry again, Pete?

For my part, I too have lived in West Harlem for "a number of years" and can assure you that the steamrolling of the existing community here by Columbia has been the real source of divisiveness. Gentrifiers don't get this, but then gentrifiers don't get a lot of things.

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Anonymous posted on

That is the most self-righteously hilarious drivel I've read in years.

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Anonymous posted on

Interesting take on this issue, comparing US use of ED to how it's used in other regimes...

http://www.minyanville.com/bus...

"...Bulgaria, Lithuania, Estonia, and Poland have all enacted similar measures in the past few years. While asset
confiscation may feel like an ugly remnant of Cold War-era Eastern European policy re-emerging, it actually happens regularly across America by way of eminent domain. The Constitution permits private property to be seized by the government in the name of “public use,” intended to allow construction of roads, bridges, and the like.

But “states like New York ... have adopted a nearly limitless definition of blight that makes it possible for almost any area to be declared ‘blighted’ and condemned,” according to Ilya Somin, an assistant professor at George Mason University School of Law. “Under such laws,” Somin writes, “almost any private interest group with political clout can lobby to have an area declared ‘blighted’ and transferred to it.” ...

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Anonymous posted on

The Supreme Court, hammered the final nail in the coffin of the American Dream today.. very sad to know that the last place a person can resort to for help, wont even hear listen to you.. it's a very hard blow to loose faith in the system.
Nick and his family should be very proud of the fight they endured.

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Cool Blue Reason posted on

Hanna, I know it's my "American Dream" to one day extort large sums of money from an educational institution.

Hopefully by the time the stars align enough to put me in the position of a "holdout" potentially able to block a major development project, the relevant case law will have swung back far enough in the other direction that neutered government agencies will have no effective authority to find anything in the public interest whatsoever.

It's kind of hard to pull off that sort of leverage if eminent domain is still doing what it's supposed to...

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Anonymous posted on

Hanna: Well put.

Pete: in re: to the red herring issue of "holdouts" please see my response to New Yorker below. In general the idea that Spayregen and the Singhs were simply holding out is a fallacy. They were actually taking an enormous risk to the compensation rate they'll be receiving, well below market value, to fight this fight to the end, to say nothing of attorneys' fees.

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Anonymous posted on

Ben, give it up. Nobody is going to "organize against this plan" with you. The 60s ended 41 years ago.

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Anonymous posted on

I'm not disagreeing with your math. As a [likely] future derivatives trader, you're probably pretty good with numbers. But please don't lecture me about organizing or the sixties. The two are neither mutually dependent nor related in any significant way. The Vietnam war was hardly the only significant case of organizing accomplishment in America in the last 50 years. There have been countless neighborhood victories in just the last two decades despite the automatons' constant refrains the "the 60's have ended." I know this because I've worked as a community organizer. Think the Seattle WTO protests, for one example. Stiglitz would back me up here. Another fine example is the rise of the medical marijuana movement. Or the gay rights movement. Don't ask Don't tell may get repealed real soon this very lame duck, and when it does, it will be because of good old fashioned organizing. So hyperbole aside, you really can't expect anyone to buy that because the 60's have ended, the takeaway is that we should just give up resisting injustice and take it sitting down. I'm going to keep fighting. What are other people's thoughts?

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Anonymous posted on

I'm a future securities lawyer, not a future derivatives trader. With that being said, you're not just trying to dismiss me--you're trying to dismiss the underlying reality that nobody cares about your causes and your protests and your "resistance" and your "organizing".

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Anonymous posted on

Who's trying to dismiss who here? And I guessed what part of town you're gonna be working in without even trying.

Anyway, I'm not interested in getting involved in a flame war with the apathetic crowd. I would like to talk about the substance of the case, because this was an interesting moment in the history of Eminent Domain in New York State, always will be.

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Anonymous posted on

Ben, you just don't get it. You're not going to have an opportunity to "talk about the substance of the case", because aside from you and a few of your diehard confreres at maybe the ISO, nobody at Columbia is interested in what you have to say. Unfortunately for you, what you perjoratively term the "apathetic crowd" constitutes the overwhelming majority of this community.

Also, I'm going to be a securities lawyer in Los Angeles, so I have no idea what you're going on about with your meaningless "I guessed what part of town you're gonna be working in without even trying" tirade.

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Anonymous posted on

I would just add that this "community" by which I assume you mean Columbia and its affiliates will only be here an average of four years before moving on and doesn't exactly share your apathy at any rate. The sad part is that the point of view that YOU are seeking to dismiss by attacking me is actually the one represented by the West Harlem community. For example, the community board voted 29-0 against Columbia's plan....

I'm not sure how being a securities lawyer in Los Angeles some day qualifies you to speak about this issue in any substance, but my point was that your remarks are just transparently apathetic and, as a result, uninformed. People who care about nothing but their own paychecks tend to stick out like sore thumbs around any discussions of the expansion.

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Anonymous posted on

Is that why the same community board elected a chair who is pro-expansion?

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Anonymous posted on

Nice try, but Stringer has been seeking to remake the board ever since they voted against his plan. You know he cut a deal with Columbia right? Now he's talking about running for mayor. Smart guy. Anyway, the community board has changed radically since that vote. And since the members are ALL appointed by the burough president, it's not surprising that they elected a pro-Columbia chair. I'm not on the community board, I'm just pointing out the weakness of your correlation and the fallacy that it somehow proves a pro-Columbia community. It doesn't. But I'm sure Columbia LOVES that you buy their myth making. That's really the point isn't it? To kiss up to those in power?

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Anonymous posted on

Doesn't that seem just a little too conspiracy-theory-ish to you, Benny? Really? Scott Stringer packed the board with Columbia supporters? Really?

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Anonymous posted on

Yes Really. Let's review the facts. The community board members are all appointed by Scott Stringer, not elected. Since the vote against Columbia's plan, the community board's membership has changed dramatically. And Scott Stringer supported Columbia's plan before the Community board even voted against it. So if I were Scott Stringer, and I had the opportunity to remake the community board, I don't think it's conspiratorial to assume that I would want to appoint people who were more in line with my vision of the neighborhood. Define conspiracy; is it a conspiracy to say this is how politics works, and it's highly likely that this dramatic turn towards Columbia can be explained by the political interest of the person in charge of appointments? I think it's naive to think otherwise.

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Anonymous posted on

Ben, in case you haven't figured out yet, I was mocking your absurdly self-centered narcissism, to think that you, and you alone, have uncovered a grand conspiracy of this scale that somehow missed the attention of everyone else.

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Anonymous posted on

"Ben, in case you haven't figured out yet,"

As you've clearly figured out, I can't figure anything out. But do go on...

"I was mocking your absurdly self-centered narcissism"

Shit you don't say. What other kinds of narcissism are there?

"to think that you, and you alone, have uncovered a grand conspiracy of this scale"

a grand conspiracy of what scale? oh right, grand.

"that somehow missed the attention of everyone else."

you "speak" for "everyone else?" The world is doomed. No seriously, tell them I said to stop taking themselves so fucking seriously. This is an internet message board. If they really wanted a debate, you'd think they'd have chosen a better writer to represent their interests. Possibly a civil rights lawyer. Anywho. I think it was politics as usual, you think such a prospect is conspiracy. I presented you with the facts. You don't dispute me on any of those facts, instead attacking me as a person. I say you're a loser. We'll let the real everyone decide. Sound good?

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Anonymous posted on

Aside from me sniping at you for fun, this thread doesn't seem to be too lively a place for you to hold your much-vaunted discussion "substance of the case" -- because the truth is, the "real everyone" doesn't care about your causes.

By the way, why did you out of the blue accuse me of being a "[likely] future derivatives trader" with no basis whatsoever, except to "[attack] me as a person"? You call me a loser. I call you grabbing at straws. Many self-righteous hippies like yourself just can't stand not being at the center of attention, or lecturing people on what you think is right.

You say Columbia is carrying out the biggest expansion in my century "in my name and on my dime" as if it's anything less than a wonderful thing? I say, good work, Lee! Full speed ahead! From the absolute collapse of opposition to M'ville I've seen since I came to CU as a freshman years ago through to law school now--I mean when I was a freshman I saw a half-assed attempt at a "tent city"--I'd say you (and your SCEG and ISO ilk) are the losers here.

By the way, if you're going to run a half-serious "resistance" movement, at least make sure your website isn't 3 years out of date:
http://www.columbia.edu/cu/css...

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Anonymous posted on

This is actually becoming kind of fun.

"this thread doesn't seem to be too lively a place for you to hold your much-vaunted discussion "substance of the case" -- because the truth is, the "real everyone" doesn't care about your causes."

I already told you. This isn't about you or me or "everyone." Doesn't Columbia law school teach you how to choose analytically precise words? The cause I care about is the community board members,' you know, the ones who voted unanimously against the Community Benefits Agreement a year ago. And it's the cause of the poor that are disproportionately affected by lax interpretations of the 5th amendment takings clause. If you were paying attention you'd see all the problems with takings in this case: lack of just compensation (as is usually the case), political discrimination (again, the proof is in the community board's two unanimous votes directly on this issue), Destruction of personal and community value (although you seem to think that an elite university represents community. I say communities talk to each other on the elevator. We're transient. When you settle down in LA maybe then you'll belong to a community, but somehow I doubt it), individual rights being trodden on (would you like it if the state were to take your property and give it to NYU? One day you'll understand), and the government making poor public purpose economic decisions. There was never even a longitudinal study done of neighboring property values, which was part of the reason the Appellate court ruled that the finding of blight was "void for vagueness"

*clears throat

"By the way, why did you out of the blue accuse me of being a "[likely] future derivatives trader" with no basis whatsoever, except to "[attack] me as a person"?"

Well, you actually started out with the attacks, essentially calling me out personally (I doubt you know me) and implying that DF hippies don't know how to organize. I assumed (correctly) that you are going to make lots of money in finance one day. Kudos! You started it.

"You say Columbia is carrying out the biggest expansion in my century "in my name and on my dime" as if it's anything less than a wonderful thing?"

Again, this is subject to various interpretations. I'll be kind, and assume you mean the biggest University expansion in New York City in your lifetime (which I never said, by the way, but it is probably true, though NYU would have to be a close second)...

"From the absolute collapse of opposition to M'ville I've seen since I came to CU as a freshman years ago through to law school now--I mean when I was a freshman I saw a half-assed attempt at a "tent city"

you were a freshman in 2007? How did you already get through Columbia law school? I'm sort of starting to doubt you're a securities lawyer. Surely the writing portions of the bar require better grammar than you've been able to muster here. Anyway, perhaps you mean that you were a freshmen in law school when the hunger strike took place. If you don't learn how to write properly, we'll never be able to believe your rather ragged appeal to authority. After all, with a name like APO you might be anyone. I believe you that you are a securities lawyer to be, though, somehow that just seems too fitting. Better brush up on your writing for the bar.

"By the way, if you're going to run a half-serious "resistance" movement, at least make sure your website isn't 3 years out of date:
http://www.columbia.edu/cu/css... "

...and, you're wrong. Here's our new website, as of two years ago. I linked to it in the top comment, you know the one you started this thread by dumping on? scegblog.wordpress.com
Notice the last update.

I wish you luck Apo. You'll need it where you're headed. This just proves once again that an Ivy League education can fill you with facts and figures by which to control the flow of society's benefits, but it can't teach you how to actually think. Nor can I.

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Anonymous posted on

The "tent city" was in 2005, genius.

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Anonymous posted on

Before my time. A long time ago at that. If you were to reread my last posts you'll see I'm much more aware of the basic issues in the community than I am of history of the view from within the ivory tower. That's your department. And if the whatever spectacle you witnessed as a freshmen warped your fragile Napoleonic mind so bad that you couldn't ever stomach thinking critically about the conduct of your school again, then I would say you're in the minority. Most people I meet can argue either side of the issue they happen to be on without relying on empty ad hominem attacks. So far the only pseudo substantive points you've tried to argue are that the community board has a somewhat pro-Columbia chair, and that the tent city of 2005 was half assed. You are gonna make one hell of a lawyer.

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Anonymous posted on

You're right. You win. Congratulations. I will make a terrible lawyer because I decline to treat hippies like you with anything more than the scorn and derision which you are entitled to from the rest of the world. This is the same approach Dawkins adopts towards creationists and intelligent designers. Meanwhile, full steam ahead with Manhattanville.

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Anonymous posted on

No, you'll make a terrible lawyer because your logic is full of fallacies. If you really want to insult someone on the internet, the first step is to use correct english. I'm supposed to be sad that you didn't take the time to proofread? All I have left to say is, way to go Columbia Law. Keep those standards high. With the bar set so high, it's a wonder that your students don't understand understand the core legal issues enough to weigh in on a discussion of their school's eminent domain case in a mature way. Stay classy.

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Anonymous posted on

Benny boy, you again suffer from the delusion that I think you worthy of enough time/attention to "debate" this in a rigorous fashion with you. You are an ideologue. You cannot be reasoned with. You have staked out years of your life, and your public reputation, on a position, of which the chances of you recanting or even re-examining on the basis of an Internet (which, like "English", should be capitalized) discussion are minuscule. You simply are too mentally committed. With this in mind, my purpose is not to "debate" or "discuss" things with you -- the likelihood of me persuading you to change your mind is too low for that to be worth my energy. It's solely to insult and pick on you, nothing more.

I think you're a combination of these two:
http://www.flamewarriors.com/w...
http://www.flamewarriors.com/w...

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Anonymous posted on

And that's why you fail. Funny you should mention the creationists, because they share your approach for debate. Keep it really lazy, and then when they get stumped, appeal to a higher authority. And you compare yourself with Richard Dawkins. Delusions of grandeur much APO? Your elitist ilk can't insult me. I care about helping people. Not what selfish pricks on message boards think about me. And yes, I have worked hard to figure out a principled public position on the expansion... if me or this forum was really the issue for you, you would have found some way to do the same thing. Have you? I doubt it. You've read a few of my articles and decided you hate me for my opinions. A real treat you must be.

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Anonymous posted on

Oh and btw, those links you posted? WTFC DNR.

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Anonymous posted on

You should abandon your obsession with flame warriors and pick up a more constructive hobby, like grammar or remedial law studies.

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Anonymous posted on

I'd say it's less "obsession" and more "humorous interest".

http://www.flamewarriors.com/w...

"Grammarian usually has little to contribute to a discussion and possesses few effective weapons. To compensate, he will point out minor errors in spelling and grammar. Because of Grammarian's obvious weakness most Warriors ignore him."

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Anonymous posted on

As for the rest of the soapbox preaching, TLDR.

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Anonymous posted on

That's an awful long run-on sentence for a future esq.

How did the causes Ben refers to above become "his" causes. Seems like the Community Benefits Agreement is more of a "community" cause. And why so bitter? You just won a major moral victory over the kinds of students who have spoken out against the plan. Shouldn't you be sipping champagne and savoring the moment?

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Anonymous posted on

Ben, fight on! Columbia doesn't care because they are not a part of the the community - no matter how hard they try to prove otherwise. They own the land but they'll be like a tumor growing in the rich, historic neighborhood that is Harlem. Know what? Columbia is the blight ..... literally and figuratively. They acquired all the land in that area, which precluded any development, and then claimed it is blighted.

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Anonymous posted on

Wonderful news for New Yorkers! We need a development project like this one in order to maintain our competiveness in the new age of globalization. Looking at Shanghai and many other booming cities, and sooner or later New York would look like a backward old city if we lose our energy and innovative force.

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Anonymous posted on

Oh sure, just do exactly what the Chinese government does: give the farmers 'market price' for their land and tell them to not let the doors (so to speak) hit them in the ass on the way out. So you have been farming for years and don't have other skills and no where to go, but it is not my problem! My casino is getting built come hell or high water!

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Anonymous posted on

Great! Keep these bleak storage buidlings in Manhattonwille and they represent the hope for the furture of New York!

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Anonymous posted on

You have no idea what the real issues are here, or else you're just being disingenuous, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and explain a couple: the issue of eminent domain was at the heart of this decision. Sprayregen and the Singhs were not just a couple of holdouts embezzling the university. They took a great deal of risk in order to fight for a principle that we all benefit from every day: private property rights. Now some use of eminent domain is surely for the good. But this was a reach. It stretched the definition of a civic purpose to new lows, and opened up the possibility that other universities, particularly the New School and NYU, might someday use the same strategy to override local development laws and safeguards. The state also got caught in substantial collusion with Columbia and thus lost an eminent domain case in the initial petition stage for the first time since the creation of the NY Urban Development Corporation. So this could have made the rules of the game for development much more clear and spelled out, and democratic. Instead it shows that we have to work outside the system every time a major developer wants to waltz in and turn a community upside down. Bloomberg and his agents will just roll out the red carpet, and the state's highest court has never seen a bad faith relationship it couldn't ignore.

yes the storage buildings were aesthetically contradictory to the design, and yes, the plan would have looked rather different if the buildings hadn't been taken. Still, it would have been an amazing project that would have gotten a much warmer reception from its new neighbors, and social capital like that is hard to put a price on for a research campus in a world famous urban environment...

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Anonymous posted on

Bad faith runs both ways. If Sprayregen's had couched his argument in terms of property rights, he might have found more sympathy. Instead he played to the neighborhood's fears (see his biohazardonhudson site, as advertised on his building), and couched his argument in terms of rich columbia and the poor community. It appears that he cast his lot with the class warriors and lost.

He is not principled at all, just greedy.

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Anonymous posted on

I disagree that Sprayregan and the Singhs couched their arguments in anything except for what this was: a dispute over private property rights and the rule of law. And that he chose to focus on the potential public health issues related to the expansion does not to my mind make him greedy. There have been EPA-cited errors in Columbia's handling of toxins before, and this is a level-3 biohazard we're talking about. Just recently we found out that a whole research building at the medical campus was using highly unsafe and prohibited levels of radioactive injections on patients and volunteers in order to falsify research results. They were warned by the FDA and instead of stopping the practice they started systematicaYORK TIMES this summer, so I don't think it's at all a stretch to say that a level 4 germ lab poses some potential public health issues that the community might want to know about. Now, the whole damn case itself was about private property rights. And you fail to show that either property owner was acting greedily because again, we all know that just compensation is never really achieved in eminent domain takings, and that this was a David and Goliath case where Columbia was Goliath and the chances of recovering attorneys' fees and receiving just compensation were slim indeed. The greedy thing to do would have been to sell immediately.

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CU_Alum posted on

"...the Jerome L. Greene Science Center for Mind, Brain, and Behavior."

The building will be called the Jerome L. Greene Science Center. Its primary occupant will be the Center for Mind, Brain, and Behavior. Greene's name is attached only to the building, not to the research program which will be based there.

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CU_Alum posted on

"...the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division argued in a surprise ruling that eminent domain in this case was in fact illegal..."

"...the Court of Appeals ... overturned the Appellate Division ruling and argued in favor of eminent domain for Columbia’s campus..."

Courts don't "argue", they "rule" or "decide". It's the parties and lawyers who argue. The courts decide who wins the argument.

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CU_Alum posted on

My comment wasn't a flame. It was a correction. That's an important distinction.

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Anonymous posted on

Proving my characterization of you exactly. Ahem.

"Android doesn't anger, nor does he engage in actual combat, rather he will merely point out the logical inconsistencies of other Warriors. Irony and sarcasm are completely lost on Android, and being impossible to insult or injure in any way, he is invulnerable to conventional attack. If, for example, someone were to call him a pinhead, he would get out a tape measure and after finding that his cranium falls within normal size specifications Android would dismiss the comment as erroneous. Android's circuits are not equipped to process ambiguous or aesthetic input, consequently any extensive discussion involving personal feelings, intuition, art and metaphorical allusions will quickly drive Android from the field of battle."

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CU_Alum posted on

Hardly. You're free to ignore my comments if you don't like them. You're free to disagree with me if you think I'm wrong. It's too bad you don't see the irony of directing this accusation at me.

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CU_Alum posted on

*Deleted*

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Anonymous posted on

Sprayregen, Singh and Kaur got greedy, and now they got what they deserve.

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Anonymous posted on

First they came for Singh and Kaur, and you said nothing. Then they came for Sprayregen, and you said nothing. When they come for you, no one will say a thing either.

The final verdict is in...there is no more private property. There is only property that the rich and powerful don't want at the moment.

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Anonymous posted on

I do not have a dog in this hunt, but the decision follows precedent and was to be expected.

Public good can be a many faceted animal and as our earth gets more crowded, you will see the widening.of what we consider public good.

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Anonymous posted on

When I was seven years old, just over ten years before I enrolled at CC, the students of that time famously rioted -- not against Columbia's for-hire efforts to aid the draft that were killing young Americans not fortunate enough to attend college, nor for its other MIC roles, but because of the gym moving forward in Morningside Park. You may have heard of the place -- it's where they told you during freshman orientation to never go. That public and university policy would permit a playground for rich white teenagers to replace one of the few for poor children of color who were actually born and raised there was considered outrageous enough by many of those white teenagers (and cops) to go on what may still be the most significant student rampage in American collegiate history, so great was the ignominy of the proposal.

Shortly after I finished school, there was a takeover of the steps of Hamilton due to Columbia's refusal to address the endowment's profiteering off human rights abuses in South Africa.

The core curriculum was designed to raise generations of leaders who would be so imbued with the philosophies of justice, human nature, and the order of civil society as to be able to prevent world war. I suppose in retrospect that seems not so much quaint as bizarre. But perhaps not so bizarre as reading the messages here, where the right-wing guy is arguing for state action in abrogating property rights on behalf of "the public good" and the left-wing guy arguing in favor of individual freedom -- and nobody mentioning what else you might have in your arsenal now that the legal process has exhausted itself. I hate to resort to the "when I was your age" thing, but you leave me no choice. When I was your age, we had read these:
http://thoreau.eserver.org/civ...
http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Ar...

When I was your age, I was also drum major in the marching band. We used to sing a song called "Who Owns New York?" which perhaps you've heard. It was created before my time and I expect that today's band still sings it. Interpretive hint: we knew we weren't singing a fight song about our hapless athletic teams. Homework assignment: see if you can learn about the life, work, and death of Bruce Bailey, founder of the Columbia Tenants' Union -- and then ask yourself if Columbia's current Harlem neighborhood clearing permits you to sit at your keyboards engaging a smug corporate Ivy League law school dude who will soon be bidding his training to imperial power for fun and profit. The quality of his arguments aren't even germane to this situation -- the issue is moral. If you believe in your position, fight for it. If this cannot be done within the confines of law that has been bent to serve power, than leave those confines, make your own power, and exert it. The gym in Morningside Park was stopped.

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Anonymous posted on

Steve, you ask "if Columbia's current Harlem neighborhood clearing permits you to sit at your keyboards" as if you think of yourself as issuing a call to arms. But unfortunately for you, your time, your era, is past. Like it or not, the CC and SEAS students will continue to "sit at [their] keyboards", not because they want to engage law students, but because they need to engage the real world.

I'm very sorry to have to break this to you--as it may cause you to doubt your own self-righteous sense "morality"--but absolutely nothing will happen from the undergraduate student body to impede the continued progress of Manhattanville.

PS. Not withstanding anything you've said here, is there any reason why you chose to misrepresent your graduation year (1983?) or why you've chosen to work for CNNMoney and Forbes, of all places, for the last few years?

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Anonymous posted on

"I'm very sorry to have to break this to you--"
Are you? Have some respect, for Christ's sake. Your arrogance gives weight to those who call Columbia an elitist institution with imperialist ambitions, and shames those who attended Columbia for its reputation of intellectual freedom. Go do something useful with your time, future securities lawyer, and God bless Columbia Law.
Are you going to post a flamewarriors link about me now?

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anotherneighborhoodactivist posted on

Columbia University's arrogant attitude and behavior (elitist?) toward the surrounding community (and its own members who step too far out of line) has been going on for a long time:

Columbia’s president during World War I was Nicholas Murray Butler. He was such a hard line opponent to any vocalization of anti-war sentiments that a considerable controversy occurred over his firing of leftist faculty. A few of them left to found what is now called The New School University (along with John Dewey). http://www.newschool.edu/nssr/...

The violent (by the police) events of 1968 were sparked as much by Columbia's attempt to build a new gym in Morningside Park as opposition to the Vietnam War. http://www.wikicu.com/1968_pro...

The 60s ended, but Columbia's offensive behavior did not. See “We are talking about homes: a great university against its neighbors,” Lynne Sharon Schwartz, Harper & Row, 1985 (http://www.amazon.com/are-talk...

And so it goes.

APO: You are an arrogant, pompous ass, perfectly representing the CU administration.

Member, CC class of 1972

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