Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Columbia University's "Dinkinsgate Scandal" Connection--Part 1

After New York City voters decided in the 1993 mayoralty election that David Dinkins did not deserve a second term as New York City’s mayor, the Columbia University administration hired the local Democratic Party politician to be a professor “in the practice of public affairs” at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. And during the last few years Columbia University Professor Dinkins ( ) has apparently attempted to use his remaining special political influence in New York City politics to help his private employer undemocratically implement its land-grabbing campus expansion plan north of West 125th Street in West Harlem, despite the objections of local community tenant activists. Not surprisingly, when Columbia University Professor Dinkins tried to sell Columbia University’s expansion plan to the 700 community residents who attended the local community board’s hearings in August 2007, the former New York City mayor was booed, hissed and shouted down by West Harlem residents and their Columbia and Barnard student supporters.

In addition, the Columbia University Executive Vice-President who recently demanded that a representative of the local community board be excluded from a negotiating session with student hunger strikers that discussed university expansion policy plans which affects the West Harlem community, former Philadelphia City Planning Commission Executive Director and Regional Plan Association board member Maxine Griffith ( ) , was previously appointed by Dinkins to sit on the New York City Planning Commission when Columbia Professor Dinkins was New York City’s Mayor.

Coincidentally, although Columbia University Professor Dinkins promised to provide homes for homeless families when he campaigned for mayor in 1989, the Dinkins administration failed to provide enough homes for the homeless during the early 1990s. As the publication of the Metropolitan Council On Housing, Tenant (5/93) noted in the early 1990s:

“Dinkins’ record on the homeless is` long on rhetoric and short on achievement,’ says Steve Banks, coordinator of the Legal Aid Society’s Homeless Family Rights Project. There are more and more homeless instead of fewer, with the administration equally unable to stem the tide of recession-rooted evictions or help those who find themselves without a home. The number of homeless families in the city’s shelter system has nearly doubled from 3,200 in July 1990 to a record 5,600 in January of this year [1993].”

(Downtown 6/9/93)

Next: Columbia University’s “Dinkinsgate Scandal” Connection—Part 2

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