Do we have 21st century “pirates” operating in NJ & NY today?

For the past few days we have been bombarded with stories about “pirates” off the coast of Somalia but how many of us pay attention to pirates right here in America?

Exactly five months ago I blogged about a major redevelopment project that I first became aware of when attending an Institute for Justice, IJ conference in the Washington, DC area two years ago.
A property rights victim from Brooklyn, NY attended the conference to share their efforts and literature as well as to gain our support in fighting to protect their homes and businesses from the corporate wrecking ball in a pending eminent domain action involving Bruce Ratner. The name of this development is “Atlantic Yards.”

Here we go again. Another professional sports team with their hands in the public trough. In this example it is the owners of the New Jersey Nets basketball team that currently occupies the Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford, NJ  who want to move into new digs in Brooklyn, New York.
I wonder if we are engaging in a “Commerce Clause” fight. 
While researching eminent domain stories almost 10 years ago I communicated with Northeastern University Law Professor Peter Enrich who, at that time, was working with Ralph Nader on a auto manufacturer case involving two different states and the impact to each by “domestic pirates.”  Yes folks, there are pirates right here inside the upper 48 that openly operate creating billions of dollars of public “bonded indebtedness” without a public vote of approval. We know them as our local redevelopment agencies.

The following update to my prior post comes to us from the Newark Star Ledger, a newspaper that I actually delivered in Newark over 50 years ago.  Here is part of the text from that  Nov 2008 Juice report:

“New York has three major daily papers all competing for readers, advertisers and power. This should lead to great coverage of major stories – but in the case of one story at least, it hasn’t. Atlantic Yards is one of the biggest real estate developments in the city’s history, yet the three papers have barely scratched the surface.  My prior Juice report is located here:

 The latest update from the Star Ledger follows:

New Jersey Civil War Erupts Around Nets

Posted Apr 13, 2009 6:10PM By Tom Ziller (RSS feed)

Filed Under: Nets

As doubts continue to shroud the Atlantic Yards project that would send the Nets to Brooklyn, two cities in New Jersey have begun a public war of words over where the team should play if the NYC plan falls through.

The folks running IZOD Center, the current arena in East Rutherford — an awful place in a frankly awful location — have quietly applied for upgrade funds. Officials from Newark, where a new arena has recently opened, think the IZOD ploy in backdoor effort to keep the Nets in East Rutherford if the Brooklyn arena isn’t built. And those Newark folks — they are mad.

The Newark Star-Ledger talks to a heated Mayor Cory Booker.
“Should the Nets not build their project in Brooklyn, the Nets’ long-term home in New Jersey cannot be Izod,” Booker wrote in a fax sent to Corzine earlier today. “It must be Newark.” …

“This expenditure would clearly cause injury to Newark, further divide our state against itself and undermines current good faith efforts by Newark and the (authority’s) leadership to craft a larger vision for the Meadowlands/Newark region,” Booker wrote. “I urge you to more actively join us in pursuit of such a win-win, NOT to add fuel and fire to the continued cannibalization of New Jersey venues to the detriment of two worthy communities.”
In other words, the Nets represent 45-50 high-rent dates a year. Given the failure of the Nets to function at IZOD, Newark thinks it deserves a chance. The IZOD isn’t willing to give up its cash cow, and probably offers better lease terms than Newark’s arena would. (Hence the support for East Rutherford from the owners of the Nets.)

Newark product Shaquille O’Neal thinks the choice should be between Newark and Brooklyn. We’ll see if the governor of New Jersey, Jon Corzine, agrees. Either way, he’s in tricky water.

The Newark Star Ledger report link is:

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