Time for Civil Eminent Domain Over “Obamaville”


Here is an idea…

If the #OWS does not disband their squatters’ encampment within a week, and clean up after themselves on their way out, then the private owner of the Zuccotti Park (who has connections to Obama and and “green energy loans”) that has welcomed the interlopers and pressured the mayor and city officials NOT to remove the growing group early on, should be charged by the city for any loitering penalties that would be normally put upon each individual squatter, fines for having such an obvious violation for non-permit issuance for such an extended and consistent gathering, litter and noise fines, fines for the land being used as a residence when it is not zoned as such, and be forced to clean and renovate the park grounds to an original aesthetically acceptable state comparable to its appearance prior to the onslaught of human sloth and waste or be fined and charged for the city to make it so. Also, the individual businesses along the park should file a class action suit against the park owners for financial losses and any duress incurred over the last couple months of this obstruction on that part of New York City. But they won’t…

“As an old friend of Trotsky’s might ask: What is to be done?”

To be sure, the protesters’ First Amendment rights should be respected — during the waking hours, and given the appropriate permits, they should be allowed to peaceably protest until Trotsky himself rises like Lazarus from the grave. But so too should the laws of the land, the rights of the property owners in Lower Manhattan, and the exigencies of reality be respected. To that end the city of New York should raze the tent city in Zuccotti Park and close the space each night, so that the area might be effectively cleaned and efficiently policed, and so that the occupied might get some sleep, too.

The more difficult question is how to accomplish this. It is plain that the occupiers are breaking the park’s posted rules, which explicitly prohibit “camping and/or the erection of tents or other structures” and loitering in a way that “interferes with the use of” the park by others. It is also clear that their continued presence is a magnet for grift and violence and a growing threat to public safety. Though the park’s owner, Brookfield Office Properties, is required, per the original development deal with the city, to keep Zuccotti open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, city zoning code does contain provisions whereby it can move to shut it down if that “closing is necessary for public safety.” If the political will existed, the eviction of the occupiers could thus be undertaken righteously. But the political class’s early decision to indulge the OWS set and the park’s ambiguous public/private status have Brookfield and Mayor Bloomberg deferring to each other. Bloomberg’s line has been that he can’t enforce the rules unless Brookfield asks him to. Brookfield’s line has been that they will follow the mayor’s lead.

And what of the residents and business owners around Zuccotti? Thus far, the members of Community Board 1, who nominally represent them, have been less than robust in addressing the situation: By a vote of 33–3 the board passed a flowery resolution in support of the squatters, and the greatest concession it has managed to secure in ongoing talks with the umpteen “working groups” at OWS is an informal agreement that the latter’s infamous percussionists would limit their drumming to a few hours each day. The obsequiousness has to this point continued up the line: Lower Manhattan’s city councilwoman, assemblyman, and state senator, along with borough president Scott Stringer, and even U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler have for weeks presented a united front in hedging between representing the concerns of their constituents and flattering the gauzy generalities of a group of no-account out-of-towners.