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When announcing the venture, GBI spokesman Louis Tully said "Some of the Ghostbuster franchises have some truly excellent research and development records, but sometimes the best lab is actually a lab instead of a garage, even if those garages have led to our greatest innovations to date. Plus there are some brilliant researchers out there who don't necessarily want to be involved with the day-to-day activities of Ghostbusting, or really aren't cut out for it. Gosh knows I wasn't. This is a way to allow them to contribute to the premiere defense science of the Twenty-First Century."
There's no small irony in the placement of the Institute at Weaver Hall--back in the 1980's, it was occupied by Columbia's Department of Psychology. Three of GBI's co-founders--Dr. Peter Venkman, Dr. Ray Stantz, and Dr. Egon Spengler--were researchers there until they were fired after the 1983 Spring semester. Dr. Venkman later described the firing as "fate" and "karma", because it allowed the three to start the business that became GBI.
In addition to GBI and Columbia, the Institute will be financed by Spengler Labs; the Cleveland-based company has not been involved in paranormal research before, but it was founded by Dr. Spengler's uncle, Dr. Cyrus Spengler, and is currently headed by Dr. Ellis Spengler, Cyrus's other nephew, Egon Spengler's half brother.
"I am quite pleased to provide funding and institutional knowledge to this fine extension of my family's innovative work in the scientific field" Ellis Spengler said in a press release.
While some details are still being worked out, GBI announced that they have made their first hires to the Spengler Institute: Dr. Erin Gilbert was a Columbia physics professor who was recently denied tenure. A longtime friend of Gilbert's, Dr. Abigail L. Yates, and a colleage of Yates, Dr. Jillian Holtzmann, were hired after they were recently laid off from the Kenneth T. Higgins Institute of Science.
Both Dr. Gilbert and Dr. Yates are alumni of the University of Michigan; Dr. Gilbert also attended Princeton and MIT (which Dr. Spengler also attended). Dr. Holtzmann was at one time considered by the European Organization for Nuclear Research for participation in CERN.
Also joining the Spengler Institute in an organizational role is Patricia Tolan. While not a scientist, Ms. Tolan is a scholar of folklore and has over a decade of experience from her time at New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority. She's also the niece of GBI co-founder Winston Zeddemore.
According to Tully, among the areas of interest to GBI are proposed upgrades to the Ghostbusting equipment. "Nothings seen a major revision since 2003, and that's practically ancient in tech terms. Dr. Holtzmann is really enthused about taking a crack at it; there's been some ideas over the years, but nothing's really proven itself in the long run."
GBI eagerly awaits the results of their work.
"Mayor Bradley has proven he's great at holding press conferences and mugging for the camera, but little else." Jacobs said in his announcement. "New York City needs new leadership; Bradley's scarcely any better than Arnie Lapinski, who's policies he has mostly continued."
Mayor Bradley's assistant, Jennifer Lynch, said the Mayor welcomes the challenge. "I think Mayor Bradley's record speaks for itself, and the people of the greatest city on Earth will recognize the wisdom of staying the course in these uncertain times."
It has been suggested that New York's iconic paranormal investigation organization, Ghostbusters International, may become an issue in the election, as it did during the 1989 race between Lapinski and Jock Mulligan: Mayor Bradley has been publicly critical of the organization, though some insiders suggest that some of the "hostility" is less intense behind the scenes; Bradley has notably not sought to cancel or even renegotiate any of the city's contracts with GBI.
For Congressman Jacobs, GBI is literally family: he's a first cousin once removed of GBI's Client Relations Administrator, Janine Melnitz Spengler, and was even reportedly involved in a case back in 1990.
GBI Chairman Dr. Peter Venkman has already said that the company will not endorse either candidate. "I have little doubt he has support of individual Ghostbusters, but getting involved in politics is not what Ghostbusters is about as a company." Ironically, Venkman was mentioned as a potential Mayoral candidate in 1989.
Jacobs is also a descendant of Nineteenth Century Congressman Aaron Jacobs, the first disabled Congressman elected from New York. In addition to their name, the two Congressmen share the same congenital birth defect passed down through many male descendants.
Alec Jacobs was first elected to Congress in 2006; he will not run for reelection to his seat this year. "It wouldn't be fair for me to try to run for Mayor as a Congressman. If I'm being paid by the people of New York to represent them in Congress, that's the job I need to be doing."
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