Friday, October 07, 2011

Unlike other Fox Business coverage, libertarian John Stossel sympathetic to AY resistance; doc director says AY will be "18 acres of parking lots"

Bruce Ratner usually gets a very welcome reception on Fox Business News, but libertarian John Stossel, understandably, prefers those resisting eminent domain.

So below is his recent interview with Battle for Brooklyn director Michael Galinsky and protagonist Daniel Goldstein. Their warning about government cooperation with a private developer is the fundamental argument, so they should be more careful about their descriptions.



Battle crew on Stossel from rumur on Vimeo.

Public benefits and parking lots

Stossel pointed to the aftermath of the Kelo vs. New London eminent domain case, the failure to develop the property at issue, partly caused by the real estate crash.

"In the case in Brooklyn, they promised 16 skyscrapers," Stossel continued. "Is that happening?"

"No. There's nothing being built yet," Galinsky responded. "Now it's going to be 18 acres of parking lots, and parking lots are a condition of blight. So, really, they should be able to take it back."

No, not 18 acres, closer to a third of that. That's a significant amount of surface parking and, yes, parking lots equal blight (according to the state). but it doesn't mean everything outside the arena would be parking. Some land remains private property. And Forest City has said it will move forward on the first tower by the end of this year or early this year.

"But that's what always happens in these cases," Galinsky continued. "They say, 'oh, we're doing this for economic development.' But there's no guarantee that anything's going to happen."

His larger point is correct--that first building has been pushed back for years and the state, which had the opportunity to impose stricter deadlines, did not do so.

The eminent domain gain


"What happened?" Stossel asked Goldstein.

"New York State did take my home, and the homes of all my neighbors," Goldstein responded.

That is true, but only on a technical level. Forest City Ratner earlier bought out most residents under the threat of eminent domain. The state eventually condemned the entire area Forest City Ratner needed, using "friendly condemnations" to clear title.

Stossel said those opposing the project lost their fight. Goldstein said there was a larger issue..

"I think we exposed, just like the Kelo case in New London has," he said, "that we exposed that what government is doing, taking private property for what is really a private benefit, is wrong, and that it is going on, and that eventually, with fights like this, and more of them, that it will be stopped."

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