A provocative take on politics and culture from a skeptical, libertarian point of view

Location: Long Island, New York, United States

Monday, August 05, 2013


NYC 2013 ELECTION & EMINENT DOMAIN by Richard Cooper

This year’s election will select three citywide officials with considerable decision-making powers and influence over the use of eminent domain.   What have the candidates said and done?  As an eminent domain activist and former Libertarian Party of New York State Chair, I will present what I have learned about the candidates for Mayor, Comptroller and Public Advocate.  Libertarians have fought the Atlantic Yards, West Harlem and Willets Point eminent domain schemes of the city and state governments.  

For mayor, we are indebted to Norman Oder and his comprehensive blog, Atlantic Yards Report, From Norman Oder’s Atlantic Yards Report  For the major party candidates, candidates for mayor we can rely on his reporting.  In particular, I would note that Republican Joseph Lhota as Metropolitan Transit Authority head and deputy mayor under former mayor Rudy Giuliani was instrumental in making eminent domain projects happen.  Meanwhile, Christine Quinn supported the Manhattanville (or West Harlem) scheme to benefit my alma mater, Columbia University Science Campus expansion. 

See also for the Columbia Libertarian alumni response.

Michael Sanchez, Libertarian for Mayor

I don't believe eminent domain should ever be used for commercial projects. I consider the use of eminent domain for private projects as an infringement of our liberties and they will not receive any support from me.”  (source, private communication).

Alex Merced, Libertarian for Public Advocate


“I'm in principle against eminent domain due to its disrespect for an individual’s control over their property. Although in US law eminent domain is a long existing institution, but which in a less than ideal world should be used only for its intended use in streamlining the creation of roads and infrastructure not for the private us of other individuals other than the original property owner such as in the Kelo case.

 So I am against eminent domain, but even more against its misuse.” (source, private communication)

For City Comptroller, the excitement of course is that former Governor Spitzer unexpectedly entered the race, upsetting Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer , who formerly served in the State Assembly.”

Where does Spitzer stand?  Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer supports the Manhattanville (West Harlem) eminent domain plan to expand Columbia University.

Former Governor Eliot Spitzer advised Former Governor Pataki to veto a modest eminent domain reform law.  Spitzer supported Bruce Ratner’s Barclays Center eminent domain in Brooklyn. 

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer supports the Manhattanville (West Harlem) eminent domain plan to expand Columbia University.

Hesham El-Meligy, the Libertarian candidate for Comptroller “My position on eminent domain is simple. In principle, I am against the use of eminent domain because it is the threat or actual use of force against someone to force the transfer of his/her property to others. That goes against our foundational principles of protecting life, liberty, and property. Of course every case is a different case, but that's the general principle.  The Atlantic Yard project has some good benefits, but mostly to the well to do. I wish there was a better deal for the people of Brooklyn and NYC.”  (source, private communication.”

Obviously, I support the Libertarian team of Michael Sanchez for Mayor, Alex Merced for Public Advocate and Hesham El-Meligy for Comptroller.  Right now, petitioners are seeking voter signatures to qualify these candidates for the ballot.  Check out or for more about the Libertarian Party.   -30-


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