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Columbia Expansion Approval Vote React-o-Matic

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That little $7 billion Columbia expansion into Manhattanville was approved by the City Council yesterday. Although there were several hearings, a roll call that came late in the day and much theatrical protest by opponents, the actual vote was a total slam dunk: 35-5 with six abstentions and five absences. Columbia promised a $100 -$150 million community benefits package, with most of the money going for housing. Here's some react:

1) Columbia President Lee Bollinger: "Not only will our universities continue to attract creative minds with the determination to advance knowledge in service of humankind; they will remain a vibrant source of good, middle-income jobs for a diversity of people seeking to improve their lives here." [Columbia Spectator]

2) "Nothing as staggering as Columbia's takeover of West Harlem would be allowed were it another institution in another neighborhood." [Sun]

3) "On fourth down, instead of punting the approval of Columbia University's Expansion plan into next year, the City Council ran a quarterback sneak, by holding a whirlwind day of multiple-committee hearings and a full Council vote to approve the plan." [No Land Grab]

4) "How sorry we are for Nick Sprayregen and his family, the owners of Tuck-It-Away Self-Storage, the largest private-property owners in the area who have fought this expansion so valiantly, and now will be forced to accept millions and millions of dollars from Columbia in exchange for their buildings...The loss is incomprehensible! To think of West Harlem without Tuck-It-Away Self-Storage is not so different than midtown without the Empire State Building!" [The Gay Recluse]

5) "Councilman Charles Barron lobbied to halt the vote. 'What’s the rush? I don’t think we have to vote to give Columbia a Christmas present,' he said." [Metro]

6) "Columbia University won zoning approval for its $7 billion campus expansion plan Wednesday in a City Council vote marked by accusations of back-door dealing and political influence." [NYDN]