Columbia University Expansion

http://theharlemtimes.com/online-news/harlem-columbia-expansion

Parminder Kaur v. New York State Urban Development Corporation

A quick brief of eminent domain: This is a legal tool that allows cities and communities to redevelop areas for “public use” that are considered “blighted.” Blighted is a criteria used by courts to determine if eminent domain powers can be used by usually a State to redevelop a particular area. If an area is found to be blighted by a legislative organization, there is a high likelihood that eminent domain can be used to redevelop a proposed area.

Cities in the past have used eminent domain to bring business, and business revenue to certain low economic areas. Poletown v. City of Detroit decision allowed General Motors to displace a large immigrant population in Detroit. More recently Kelo v. The City of New London was a case where Pfizer was allowed to redevelop an area and displace several local residents and businesses in New London Connecticut.   Development, must meet the criteria of “Public use” when courts determine if eminent domain can be used for redevelopment. In the Kelo case, “public use” was fulfilled by increased jobs, and tax revenue from the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

Here, Columbia University won a decision in 2010 that will allow the University to expand into the West Harlem section of Manhattan, this area is known as Manhattanville. Hundreds of minorities and low-income tenants/residents and business owners alike will become displaced and forced to move to another area so an elite education institution can expand and develop.

What are the implications of such a move by Columbia University? Parminder Kaur brought the suit to court, and is in fact the owner and operator of a few local businesses in the area, what does this say about needing resources to have your day and fight in court? Are low-income residents purposely sought out on the assumption that they are unlikely to bring a legal suit because of a lack of resources, making them an easier target?

NAACP L.A. chapter head resigns over Donald Sterling scandal

The L.A. NCAAP chapter presented Sterling with the lifetime achievement award in 2009, and was planning to do so again this month.  The lifetime achievement award is the NAACP’s highest honor.  The first time Sterling was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the group was in the midst of a lawsuit for housing discrimination based upon race.  To honor him with the award a second time, after he had paid millions to settle multiple discrimination suits, is at the center of the NAACP controversy; read on…there is plenty more on Sterling’s past discrimination lawsuits and his relationship with V. Stiviano (the woman who leaked the tapes).