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August 22, 2007

The Columbia expansion, Atlantic Yards, and the cognitive dissonance of Richard Lipsky

Atlantic Yards Report

Local lobbyist Richard Lipsky argues with himself over the use and abuse of eminent domain:

When you hire Richard Lipsky, the man behind the Neighborhood Retail Alliance, you get not only an experienced lobbyist on behalf of small business, you get a blogger, a regular commenter on the news.

When clients on different sides of somewhat parallel development disputes hire Lipsky, however, readers get something else: some cognitive dissonance.

Lipsky, as Atlantic Yards watchers know, was hired by Forest City Ratner to organize an amateur sports league at the planned Brooklyn arena and to do other lobbying for the developer's projects. He’s said he typically would oppose a project with eminent domain but it wasn’t bringing in big-box stores or displacing other retailers. (Well, not directly, unless you count Freddy's Bar & Backroom.)

And Lipsky has been hired by Nick Sprayregen, owner of Tuck-it-Away storage, the largest landowner who has yet to sell to Columbia University and thus the most visible opponent of the university’s West Harlem expansion plan.

So that has led Lipsky to use some similar arguments and rhetoric for Atlantic Yards and against Columbia--and it just doesn't compute.

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NoLandGrab: From an academic point of view, reading the different arguments Lipsky lobs at his various opponents, as he switch-hits, will give you a pretty good view of the many facets of the arguments for and against eminent domain.

Posted by lumi at August 22, 2007 9:08 AM