Monday, May 9, 2011

Eminently Wrong

In a letter to the Ridgwood Ledger News, writer Margaret Oddo totally fails to understand the concept of eminent domain-and demonstrates a complete lack of respect for property rights that are supposed to be protected by our Constitution. Here's how she misconstrues the entire debate over the issue at Willets Point:

"Years ago, my grandfather, an immigrant from Norway, had to give up a beautiful, two-family home due to eminent domain for the building of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, which ended up going right through the house. He had to give it up for the betterment of the community.

I never heard him complain because he knew what had to be done. His family was uprooted, so we all had to move to other parts of Queens. This area across from Citi Field is unsightly, dirty and dangerous and needs to be improved."

If the city was looking to expand the Van Wyck Expressway through Willets Point Ms. Oddo's analogy would make some sense. But that, as they say, is not the case, and she should be mindful of the difference between building a road or a school and handing over some one's land to another private interest.(And trusting this mayor to protect the public good is a bridge too far)

But Ms. Oddo makes one good-although contradictory-point: "The consistent building up of commerce and apartments in Flushing in and around Main Street seems to ignore congestion, traffic, parking and quality-of-life concerns, although I am happy to hear that finally the RKO Theatre will be restored and hopefully a construction company will be chosen carefully, considering the past history of neglect."

If she had been made aware of just how much the Flushing developments were in the process of ruining the "good of the community,and and how the over development of Willets Point would be the nail in the coffin of any possible quality of life that she seems to value, we believe that Ms. Oddo would not be calling on the property owners to cease and desist in their efforts to resist condemnation.

No, she would be calling on the mayor to put a halt on this harebrained scheme that will overwhelm Flushing, Corona, Whitestone and all of the surrounding communities that are in the eye of the Willets Point storm. Knowledge is power, but ignorance can be tragically dangerous, as Ms Oddo's letter proves.