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Razing West Harlem

Why Columbia's proposed expansion has met resistance.

12:00 AM, Aug 9, 2007 • By DUNCAN CURRIE
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Although Julia Vitullo-Martin, a senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute, believes the West Harlem expansion "is basically good for New York," she criticizes the eminent domain threat, and also raps Columbia for its all-or-nothing approach and unwillingness to compromise on the redevelopment zone boundaries.

The university's project may, as Dinkins promised, "broaden its mission of teaching and academic research, patient care and public service, and enhance the quality of life for those who live and work in Harlem and across our city." But should Bollinger make good on his eminent domain warning, it might require a government-mandated private-to-private land transfer--the sort of thing Americans of all political stripes have been howling about since Kelo.

For that matter, should Columbia attempt to acquire Tuck-It-Away's property via public condemnation, it may well trigger a legal challenge. "I have vowed to fight them all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court," Sprayregen pledges. Stay tuned.

Duncan Currie is a reporter at THE WEEKLY STANDARD.