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September 5, 2008

State Senator to hold eminent domain hearing September 17

Atlantic Yards Report

Harlem State Senator Bill Perkins, a critic of Columbia University's plans to use eminent domain, has announced a hearing on the practice of eminent domain in New York State, to be held on the morning of September 17. (In the afternoon that day, a state appellate court will hear oral arguments in the case challenging the Atlantic Yards environmental review).

It's likely Perkins is most interested in the Columbia case, the subject of a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed. It's also likely Atlantic Yards opponents will try to get on the witness list, especially because Perkins is interested in eminent domain used "at the behest of private developers" and which "at worst create[s] the impression of a corporatocracy instead of true democratic governance."

Can Perkins get anywhere? The State Senate is at this moment controlled by the Republicans, not Democrats like Perkins, but that could change in November. Still, all legislation must get through Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, an Atlantic Yards supporter who's unlikely to favor changes that hamper the project.

Whether legislation emerges from the hearing, it at least will cast some light on this complex and sometimes dubious practice.

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Posted by lumi at September 5, 2008 5:32 AM