Paula Duran, New York Observer, June 25, 2014
Council members Donovan Richards, Daneek Miller and Mark Levine rallied with activists and academics on the steps of City Hall today to call on the city to use eminent domain to stop home foreclosures.
They discussed a new report by the left-leaning New York Communities for Change (N.Y.C.C.), which revealed that thousands of African-American and Latino homeowners were still at risk of losing their homes due to foreclosures and underwater mortgages.
Mr. Richards, who represents areas like southeast Queens and the Rockaways that were hard-hit by the foreclosure crisis and Hurricane Sandy, went straight to the point.
“I’m here because I think the people need their bailout. Didn’t the banks get their bailout? So why can’t the people get a bailout?” Mr. Richards said. “Today I stand with N.Y.C.C. to call on New York City to use eminent domain to really seize these mortgages and make a difference in the lives of New Yorkers.”
“When there is a compelling public interest, the government can pay fair market value for property to put it to another use,” Mr. Levine declared. “The city through eminent domain could pay fair market value for the property, the city could take them over and work out, refinance on the loan. That would be fair to families.”