Weld’s Takings

Bill Weld had his audition for the theoretically friendly, in fact polite but unenthusiastic, audience at a Crains New York Business breakfast at the Sheraton this morning.

On the substance, the most striking point was his apparent retreat from his sweeping opposition to emininent domain at the Manhattan Institute not long ago. There, he framed his opposition to the Kelo decision as broad, and not limited to its endorsement of the role of a private developer:

“The fundamental problem with Kelo is that it represents statist central planning. The government decided that it wanted new real estate projects, and then let a private entity effectuate a transfer of wealth.”

But asked about the details by Crain’s Greg David, he said he supported the Atlantic Yards project becuase it’s “imbued with public interest.” He has mixed feelings about Columbia’s expansion into Morningside Heights. And he doesn’t want to demolish “a whole neighborhood” to build affordable housing.

Oh, and semi-relatedly, he’s all for the West Side Stadium. Doctoroff’s presentation was, he said, “completely persusive.” He even wore his Olympics tie.

So it’s unclear if he actually opposes government planning as it’s actually been practiced in New York State since Jane Jacobs basically won the debate decades ago.