To his credit, Gov. Paterson is the only politician so far who has tried to clean up the mess surrounding the Ground Zero "mosque." Others, like Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama, have little interest in anything other than rhetoric. This week, Paterson is expected to offer Park51 organizers an alternate site for their development. But this move could be a blatant violation of the First Amendment — and one that sets a dangerous precedent and gives the impression of a shakedown.
At first, Paterson's offer made constitutional sense: He understood that the Park51 developers had the right to build but was concerned about the provocation surrounding such a move. "I am very sensitive to the desire of those who are adamant against it to see something else worked out," Paterson said.
"If the sponsors were looking for property anywhere at a distance that would be such that it would accommodate a better feeling among the people who are frustrated, I would look into trying to provide them with the state property they would need," Paterson offered.
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