Land grabbers tested at the polls
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?
Labels: Private property