Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bloomberg a private property rights champion, when it's convenient

New York City is known for rigidly regulating the location and specifications of buildings within its jurisdiction. But officials of the City That Never Sleeps have suddenly turned into extreme libertarians about protecting the religious and property rights of the prospective owners of the Ground Zero mosque. That's the $100 million, 15-story mosque scheduled to be built one block from Ground Zero in lower Manhattan. The city's Landmark Preservation Committee eagerly approved the GZM application, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg has dismissed as religious bigots all who disagree with that decision.

Could these same defenders of every Muslim man's right to build a mosque wherever he owns property be the same ones who previously had no qualms about seizing private property to redevelop Times Square, condemning small businesses for a $6.3 billion expansion of Columbia University, or confiscating another parcel on Sixth Avenue to make way for Bank of America? Is this the same Bloomberg who led the successful opposition to a recent state legislative proposal to limit local officials' ability to use eminent domain against private property owners? Surely it was a different Bloomberg who claimed that the Empire State Development Corp. should be able to force the sale of property for any "civic purpose."

Read more at the Washington Examiner.