Sunday, October 14, 2007

Land grabbers tested at the polls

Americans are angry about eminent domain, but how angry? That's the question in Riverside, California, where a city council packed with enthusiastic fans of using the government's power to seize homes, businesses and land to benefit private developers faces an election on November 6.

Since 2004, when Dom Betro, Art Gage and Steve Adams took seats on the City Council, the Riverside Redevelopment Agency has filed 18 eminent domain lawsuits to help spark revitalization downtown and in other parts of the city.

The council acts as a board of directors for the agency, whose mission is to eliminate blight and boost the city's economy.

Betro, Gage and Adams are all seeking reelection Nov. 6. Their opponents and voters have raised eminent domain as an issue in the races.

From 1990 through 2003, Riverside city councils voted 12 times to authorize the Redevelopment Agency's use of eminent domain, though the city was unable to say how many lawsuits the agency filed as a result of these votes.

Since 2004, the council has voted 13 times to authorize the agency's use of eminent domain. Sometimes an authorization involved several parcels and multiple owners, and the agency filed more than one lawsuit as a result.

If anger over the U.S. Supreme Court's contemptible Kelo decision remains at a healthy simmer, the land-grabbers on the Riverside city council could face the necessity of searching for real jobs; if voters' memories are as short as politicians usually say, the election will likely doom Riverside to a continuing frenzy of assaults on property rights.

Meanwhile, in Kansas, politicians and their friends in the press are arguing that even the limited eminent domain reforms passed in that state went too far and are hobbling good works. Aww, shucks, we can trust 'em. Right?



Blogger Busplunge said...

In Springfield, MO, city council took land via eminent domain to build an arena, decided they weren't going to build one when the biggest city developed decided to build one, then the cc sold the land the arena was to be build upon at a loss to that same developer.
I know, it's complicated and we all lose.

October 22, 2007 7:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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March 18, 2009 11:32 PM  

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