The Kelo Kicker

Reader Russ Dewey points to an un-fucking-believable turn of events in Kelo v. New London, the Connecticut case surrounding the use of eminent domain to boot homeowners to build a privately owned luxury complex: The leaders of New London are now demanding rent from the people whose property they've seized!

From the Fairfield County Weekly account, worth quoting at length:

The U.S. Supreme Court recently found that the city's original seizure of private property was constitutional under the principal of eminent domain, and now New London is claiming that the affected homeowners were living on city land for the duration of the lawsuit [which started in 2000] and owe back rent. It's a new definition of chutzpah: Confiscate land and charge back rent for the years the owners fought confiscation.

In some cases, their debt could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Moreover, the homeowners are being offered buyouts based on the market rate as it was in 2000....

In June 2004, NLDC sent the seven affected residents a letter indicating that after the completion of the case, the city would expect to receive retroactive "use and occupancy" payments (also known as "rent") from the residents.

In the letter, lawyers argued that because the takeover took place in 2000, the residents had been living on city property for nearly five years, and would therefore owe rent for the duration of their stay at the close of the trial. Any money made from tenantssome residents' only form of incomewould also have to be paid to the city.

With language seemingly lifted straight from The Goonies , NLDC's lawyers wrote, "We know your clients did not expect to live in city-owned property for free, or rent out that property and pocket the profits, if they ultimately lost the case." They warned that "this problem will only get worse with the passage of time," and that the city was prepared to sue for the money if need be.

A lawyer for the residents, Scott Bullock, responded to the letter on July 8, 2004, asserting that the NLDC had agreed to forgo rents as part of a pretrial agreement in which the residents in turn agreed to a hastened trial schedule. Bullock called the NLDC's effort at obtaining back rent "a new low."

"It seems like it is simply a desperate attempt by a nearly broke organization to try to come up with more funds to perpetuate its own existence," Bullock wrote. He vowed to respond to any lawsuit with another.

With the case nearly closed, the NLDC may soon make good on its promise to sue. Jeremy Paul, an associate UConn law dean who teaches property law, says it's not clear who might prevail in a legal battle over rent. "From a political standpoint, the city might be better off trying to reach some settlement with the homeowners," he says.

An NLDC estimate assessed Dery for $6,100 per month since the takeover, a debt of more than $300K. One of his neighbors, case namesake Susette Kelo, who owns a single-family house with her husband, learned she would owe in the ballpark of 57 grand. "I'd leave here broke," says Kelo. "I wouldn't have a home or any money to get one. I could probably get a large-size refrigerator box and live under the bridge."

Whole revolting thing here.

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  • ||

    shock and outrage for
    a triple post, also porn
    will make you go blind

  • ||

    So they're charging a poor old woman a monthly rent of $6,100 for a property which they originally condemned because it wasn't worth much in its current state?

    Where's Joe to explain why New London is in the right, here?

  • ||

    Never, since this subject first appeared on these threads, have I ever argued that New London was right to use eminent domain like this, Jennifer.

    Your cheap shots are increasingly detached from reality.

  • ||

    That is a great point Jennifer. Maybe Kelo should sue to re-open the case on the grounds of new evidence. This sounds like an admission on the part of the plaintiff's that the land was not in fact economically stressed in the first place. They should also persue perjury charges against any official who testified that that the land was worth less than what they are now trying to charge in back rent.

  • Timothy||

    How can any sane person thing eminent domain is a moral act of government? First they steal these people's houses, then have the audacity to demand payment for the service. I hope the NLDC, their families, and all those they hold dear die horrible, screaming deaths. Preferably of some wretched disease like Bubonic Plague or the Ebola Virus.

  • ||

    Considering that Kelo lost the case, it seems that the city has a valid claim to losses incurred because of the lawsuit. It makes me want to puke, but I think New London is at least legally right, if not morally reprehensible. If someone can make the legal argument that New London is not entitled to what they are seeking, I'll listen.

    Side question: Did Bullock get the NLDC's agreement to forgo rents in writing? If so, this should be a slam dunk for him. If not, he's either a liar or a very bad lawyer.

  • ||

    Sorry, Joe, I should actually say "Where's Joe to explain the justness of the Kelo decision?" Yeah, eminent domain surely DOES help the little guy, don't it? No WONDER you're so opposed to the evil Republican attempts to scale it back.

  • Dan Hill||

    By the same logic the city should be paying them interest for that period on the purchase price...

  • ||

    The NLDC has the biggest balls ever! If they're sucessful here, isn't this another tool for developers to use against small business and homeowners. If the stakes in losing the fight mean not only being forced to sell your property, but also having to forfeit the money from that sale, Aren't the risks in fighting too high? Don't you have to just sell at that point?

  • ||

    greg,

    "This sounds like an admission on the part of the plaintiff's that the land was not in fact economically stressed in the first place." The city never stated that the land was "economically stressed." This wasn't a blight taking.

    Surely Mr. Bullock, who is a noble and ethical attorney whose only interest is the welfare of his clients, kept them fully informed from the beginning about the legal status of their land, the meaning of the takings instrument, and the likelihood of their appeal succeeding.

  • MP||

    So they're charging a poor old woman a monthly rent of $6,100 for a property which they originally condemned because it wasn't worth much in its current state?

    The value of the property was not a factor in its condemnation...only its location.

    And I agree with joe. You owe him an apology. His unwillingness to interpret the Constitution in a manner that allows SCOTUS to intervene in this case does not imply that he is unsympathetic to the rights of individual property owners. He simply believes that there are other Due Process avenues under which these rights should be exercised.

  • ||

    jennifer unhinged
    but crazy people never
    admit that they are

  • ||

    It really makes one wonder, are these people truly this awful or are they truly this deluded to think that this action is proper? To be honest, I'm not sure which is worse.

    Did money actually change hands in 2000? If not, I would say that New London didn't own the property then. If so, Kelo et al are probably screwed...again. But, of course, I'm not a lawyer or a politician so I tend to think clearly.

  • ||

    His unwillingness to interpret the Constitution in a manner that allows SCOTUS to intervene in this case does not imply that he is unsympathetic to the rights of individual property owners.

    No, but all of his ED-to-private-developers comments taken together surely do. On another active thread right now, he's argued that Republican attempts to limit provate-developer ED takings will somehow hurt "the little guy."

  • ||

    'Sorry, Joe, I should actually say "Where's Joe to explain the justness of the Kelo decision?"'

    Well, that's easy. The Supreme Court can't just make up whatever it wants so that the party they like best will win the case. This isn't Bush vs. Gore, after all.

    'Yeah, eminent domain surely DOES help the little guy, don't it?'

    Eminent Domain, like war, is a terrible power, that should be used sparingly and judiciously. It doesn't seem to have been so used here.

    "No WONDER you're so opposed to the evil Republican attempts to scale it back." I'm in favor of many of the bipartisan attempts to scale it back; I'd just like to see it done right, and not used as a Trojan Horse for unrelated ideological projects.

  • ||

    My guess, although I am no lawyer, is that if a judge issued an injunction against the taking of the property until the issue was resolved by the court, then the NLDC has no hope of winning this.

    This is truly beyond the pale.

  • ||

    Get it straight, people. The actual Kelo decision was evil, bad, and not something I'd ever countenance. But New London had the RIGHT to do it. And I will defend the RIGHT of municipal governments to take your land unto the death, or the passing of a state law to countermand it. It's a principle, you know.

    Besides, dirty right-wingers were involved. The homeowners deserve what they get for hiring them.

  • ||

    Er, rather, the New London Project. Don't believe the libertarian hype...

  • ||

    Sounds to me like the greedy fucks just give the Institute for Justice a nice opening for re-filing and re-trying the case.

    Now, I can see locking in the value owed to the owners as of the day the suit was filed. Dan is right, though - that amount should have been accumulating interest in the interim.

    But as far as rent goes, the question is, when did title transfer? If the title did not transfer free and clear until the last appeal was decided, then no way do these people owe rent.

    And no way in hell do they owe both the rent the city wants to charge them, and everything they might have collected on the property. That's like demanding not only that your tenant pay full rent on his apartment, but that on top of that he pay everything he collected from his roommates as well.

  • ||

    Joe, in Kelo the Supremes decided that ANY use which will either increase tax revenue or (at least theoretically) provide jobs is considered fair. If you're going to criticize them for "making up whatever it wants," I'd say interpreting "public use" to mean "anything which generates more money for the government" is worthy of criticism.

  • ||

    Stretch,

    I believe the NLDC would have put the money into escrow at the time of the taking, if the homeowners refused to take it while they appealed.

    "No, but all of his ED-to-private-developers comments taken together surely do." Even the ones where I suggested ways to stop it from happening?

    'On another active thread right now, he's argued that Republican attempts to limit provate-developer ED takings will somehow hurt "the little guy."'

    Note how the validity or basis of my argument is of no consequence to how Jennifer characterizes. I'm on The Side Of The Statists, and that's all you need to know.

  • ||

    Note also that the only time Joe accuses me of insanity is when we disagree.

  • ||

    "Joe, in Kelo the Supremes decided that ANY use which will either increase tax revenue or (at least theoretically) provide jobs is considered fair."

    Actually, no. Did you read the decision? The majority specifically found that the benefits would go beyond tax revenue and on-site employment.

  • ||

    Some Joe quotes from the other thread:

    Why are you against creating jobs where poor people need them? Why are against arresting downward spirals people's real estate values?

    I'm still not buying into IJ's little jihad.

    Jennifer, why are you against the poor residents of Boston being able to save their neighborhoods?

    Making it possible for older cities (where most of the poor people live) to continue to be viable is the right thing to do.
    [Jen's response: Even if it means kicking the poor people out of said cities?]

    But in fact, many of solutions being offered, in teh name of the Little Guy (and Children, of course) would in fact screw many millions of little guys by condemning their hometowns to disinvestment, poverty, and ruin.

  • ||

    Note how the validity or basis of my argument is of no consequence to how Jennifer characterizes. I'm on The Side Of The Statists, and that's all you need to know.

    *snerk* Yes, Jennifer, that hard-core anarcho-capitalist...

  • MP||

    joe has been very consistent in his disdain for the NLDC. Regardless of his general position on ED, implying that he agree's with the NLDC can only be taken as an insult.

  • ||

    Eric-

    Hey, we're talking about the only guy here to ever seriously accuse me of being a "Randroid." ME! Ha!

  • ||

    The majority specifically found that the benefits would go beyond tax revenue and on-site employment.

    Actually, Joe, you were one of the people pointing out from the beginning that the USSC found no such thing about the benefits in the case and left determination of such matters to the government bodies actually taking the land. About half the time, you thought that was a bad thing...

  • ||

    "Note also that the only time Joe accuses me of insanity is when we disagree."

    And even then, only when you make statements that conflict with objective reality.

    Don't worry about it - fights over land go right to the core of people's values. People shoot each other over this stuff, and I understand that issues like this bring out strong responses in people. I'm just trying to keep the discussion in the realm of the real. You're not going to get anywhere by cursing at phantoms.

  • ||

    Thank you, MP.

    I had the very first comment when the decision was posted, and it read, "Well, this may be legal, but that doesn't mean it's right."

  • ||

    joe has been very consistent in his disdain for the NLDC. Regardless of his general position on ED, implying that he agree's with the NLDC can only be taken as an insult.

    If you decry the many innocents killed by SWAT members in the War on Drugs but still support the war itself (provided it be executed in the proper manner, of course), then I see no reason to make a distinction. Ditto to support private-taking eminent domain, however much you may argue with this one (or 1,000) times it gets abused.

  • ||

    Eric .5b - you've mushed up two different findings.

    One, what the benefits claimed by the City were. The majority found that they included better services for the public (via higher tax receipts), jobs, riverfront access, and others.

    Two, whether these benefits rose to the level of public good. It was THIS finding, not number one above, that the Court deferred to the City on.

    This probably explains why you thought my statements were inconsistent.

  • ||

    You're not going to get anywhere by cursing at phantoms.

    Like the Phantom Randroid who disagreed when you said that the government should regulate TV content For The Children? Or the Phantom who resorted to strawman arguments when she said that "freedom and the right to have the government leave you alone aren't high on his priority list" after you argued that the military should conduct random, warrantless, at-will searches of American civilians on American soil?

  • ||

    Eric .5b - you've mushed up two different findings.

    No confusion at all. The USSC found that the City claimed certain benefits from the taking, and concluded that those benefits would be good enough justification for a private-to-private taking. The USSC did not make any determination of whether those claimed benefits were true, and in fact decided that the City itself had every right to make that call without any oversight.

  • ||

    I'm with jf, who speculates that maybe this Bullock fellow isn't such a great lawyer. In fact I have a friend who's said he's met Bullock, and that he seemed like a very nice fellow who was just the kind of person to lose Kelo.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    But as far as rent goes, the question is, when did title transfer? If the title did not transfer free and clear until the last appeal was decided, then no way do these people owe rent.

    I'd have to think this argument holds water. Try and claim rent on a property before you've cleared away all the legal crap and see what happens. But maybe it's different for quasi-government entities.

  • ||

    Jennifer:

    Hey, at least he hasn't started on your mother.

  • ||

    The City takes title by filing its instrument. Homeowners then appeal this taking, and the City is enjoined from exercising its property rights while the case is pending.

    This is why the plaintiffs haven't been receiving tax bills for the past five years - they haven't had title to the land.

  • ||

    I explained the distinction, Eric. You can conflate the two issues behind the words "decided..were good enough," or not, as you will.

  • ||

    Jennifer:

    I hear Joe actually planted the dynamite and manned the bulldozers in the West End 45 years ago.

    :)

  • ||

    This story hasn't made Google news, but when I was looking for it I found an opinion piece with the following gorgeous quote:

    The battle over property rights is not a conservative versus liberal thing. It�s more a struggle between those who believe in the power of the state to dictate how we get to use our land and homes versus those of us who believe that the state has no business destroying our right to make reasonable use of our property.

  • ||

    But maybe it's different for quasi-government entities.

    It must be, because I can't imagine trying something like this without it being a slam dunk.

  • Timothy||

    This whole thing just makes me ill. The decision, the behavior of NLDC, and the city deciding this was a just-and-proper action are bad enough: that there are folks out there saying, "hooray, now the government can steal my house for whatever reason it wants!" is the worst sort of Stockholm Syndrome. The beatings will continue until morale improves, and all that.

    In other news: Altoids + Dr. Pepper = toothpaste flavor.

  • ||

    I'd just like to see it done right, and not used as a Trojan Horse for unrelated ideological projects.

    The fact that this statement issued from the keyboard of an urban planner is just WAY too precious.

  • ||

    Timothy,

    Joe is a planner. It's not Stockholm Syndrome for him. :)

  • ||

    The City takes title by filing its instrument.

    heh. that sounds kinda dirty.

    but seriously, this was (and is, even after decision) an extremely controversial use of the states' "instrument". i obviously am not familiar with the laws in new london, but it seems that there ought to be a provision allowing a court to find that the plaintiffs in Kelo had at least demonstrated a reasonable basis to contest the takings, if not to win the case, and thus should not be liable for penalties after the decision has been rendered.

  • ||

    I'm curious to know if the owners continued to recieve (and pay) property taxes during the entire trial.

    Obviously, if the city billed them for property tax, and they paid it, that would appear to me to be prima facia proof that they were "owners" of the property at the time of the legal procedures.

    The idea that they are also liable for rent to the city would should be laughed out of court.

    If, however, the city did not bill them for property tax, nor did they pay it, the case seems to me to be much more difficult.

    Disgusting as it seems to me, the state might be able to win.

    But one could make the argument that charging rent while the justice system went about its work is a gross violation of due process.

    If the courts do find against the former land owners, I would hope there would be riots in the streets.

  • ||

    Assuming that New London is in the legal right here, does anyone know how the amount of rent is determined? Wouldn't the amount of rent have to be agreed upon by both parties?

    If at the beginning New London said, "Okay you can fight this but technically the land is ours right now. If you win, you'll owe back taxes. If you lose you'll owe x amount of rent per month" then at least everything would be above board. Somehow, I don't think that happened.

  • ||

    joe,

    It seems kind of fishy that New London was going to rent out that same property for $1 a year.

    I could almost understand trying to get the back taxes out of them, but New London was also going to make 54% of that property tax exempt for a number of years.

  • ||

    And MP, where were you with your demands for civil discourse when the resident liberal was telling me to eat corn from the shit of your whore mother?

    But hey, it's a rough world. Trolls have to band together.

  • Timothy||

    Eric: That would explain it then.

    City planners: "Making sure your traffic is worse one badly thought-out road 'improvement' project at a time!" OR "We used data from the last three years, but didn't do any forcasting, so 10 years from now when this interchange is finished it'll be perfect for last year's traffic situations" OR "The only worse growth models come from the Social Security Trustees"

    Man, I could go on like this all day.

  • ||

    zach, "but it seems that there ought to be a provision allowing a court to find that the plaintiffs in Kelo had at least demonstrated a reasonable basis to contest the takings, if not to win the case, and thus should not be liable for penalties after the decision has been rendered."

    That sounds wonderful, and I'd love to see somebody come up with one. It would protect people with a legitimate gripe, while still dissuading bad actors who don't have a chance of winning from using the courts to stall in an attempt to squeeze more money from the public.

    The problem, as with all anti-frivolous lawsuit proposals, is in actually figuring out how to write language that would protect all of those who need protecting, yet be drawn narrowly enough. Ultimately, anyone can hire a lawyer who will declare that his case meets all the legal thresholds, and you've still got a judgement call that will work its way up through the courts.

  • ||

    If, however, the city did not bill them for property tax, nor did they pay it, the case seems to me to be much more difficult.

    come to think of it, if the city didn't bill them for property tax, that might have been a stroke of legal genius. that way, if they had lost on appeal, they could retroactively bill them for the property tax they had been avoiding during litigation, offering a lowball amount for the property as part of a settlement to avoid that retroactive tax; end result being, they still get the property (or at least a bunch of cash). or, if they won on appeal, they could fill their coffers even more by doing what they're doing now.

    of course, that first scenario would only work if they were legally entitled to the collection of property tax even without having sent their bills. but it would be interesting to find out more about.

  • MP||

    eat corn from the shit of your whore mother?

    That must've been quite the thread.

  • ||

    If waterfront property is so damnably important to the city, let them use Ocean Beach. Nobody goes there anyway, since nearby Misquamicut Beach is better. Or let them wait until the sub base is closed and use THAT. Screw this implied idea that only the wealthy are entitled to private waterfront views, and screw equally the idea that using ED to give property to private developers will be fine and dandy provided it's just done properly. They said the same thing about Communism, too.

  • ||

    Stretch, the amount of rent is supposed to be determined by the same method as the purchase price - by an appraiser figuring out the market value.

    Also, I am certain that the NLDC would have made it clear to the holdouts that they would be legally liable for back rent once they lost their appeal. If they are genuinely surpised to hear this, Scott Bullock is guilty of malpractive and should have his license suspended. But I find that extremely unlikely.

  • ||

    joe, exactly. all i'm really saying is that, having been a case that attracted national attention and worked its way all the way up to SCOTUS, then if there were such a provision, a reasonable mind would conclude that Kelo et al. had satisfied it. really, there might already be one.

  • ||

    MP - Yeah. Joe was explaining how his idea of (of all things) decency was superior to those of everyone else in the thread.

  • ||

    I didn't know whores ate corn.

  • ||

    jc, private redevelopment authorities are allowed to rent out property at below-market value. This is often done to attract investment.

    Jennifer,

    "If waterfront property is so damnably important to the city, let them use Ocean Beach. Nobody goes there anyway, since nearby Misquamicut Beach is better. Or let them wait until the sub base is closed and use THAT."

    Yeah!

    "and screw equally the idea that using ED to give property to private developers will be fine and dandy provided it's just done properly." You mean like around Dudley Street?

    "They said the same thing about Communism, too." Ah, Jesus, the reverse Godwin.

  • ||

    Also, I am certain that the NLDC would have made it clear to the holdouts that they would be legally liable for back rent once they lost their appeal. If they are genuinely surpised to hear this, Scott Bullock is guilty of malpractive and should have his license suspended. But I find that extremely unlikely.

    Well, of course. You think the NLDC plan was terrible and aren't carrying their water at all, but if anyone - anyone - erred, lied, or was negligent in this matter, it would have to be them dirty right-wingers and not New London...

  • ||

    They must deep throat the cobs, and suck the kernels off for practice.

  • ||

    Whole lotta people ducking a whole lotta issues under the cover of "joe's bad, mmm-kay?"

  • ||

    This message has been deleted by an administrator.

  • ||

    Jennifer, they do but only on the cob.

  • ||

    Joe, no reverse Godwin here. If this were the ONLY case of private-developer ED gone wrong, then maybe I'd agree it was generally a good thing. But no--for all that you can make it sound pretty on paper (just like Communism, we'll all share and share alike in a gooey worldwide love nest, no more poverty, tra la la), in practice it shoves the little people out of their homes and businesses to make way for the wealthy people who I'd say were doing well enough on their own, and didn't need Big Brother to give them extra help at the expense of those who can't afford to fight back.

  • ||

    rr-

    But one could make the argument that charging rent while the justice system went about its work is a gross violation of due process.

    I was thinking much the same thing.

  • ||

    I think that's pretty much the Joe checklist marked off. People who disagree with Joe are either:

    A) Ignorant
    B) Fanatics
    C) Mind controlled dupes of the H&R hype machine
    D) Crushed by his vast intellect and reduced to ducking the issue, since they know he's really right.

  • ||

    The problem....is in actually figuring out how to write language that would protect all of those who need protecting, yet be drawn narrowly enough.

    We've been trying to do that for over 200 years, and it's come to this. When it's private party vs. private party, the buck stops at one party losing too much money to keep fighting it. When it's private party vs. government, the government has limitation.

    The government can afford to lose court cases, they just keep trying new ones; the worst that can happen is they pile up a lot of legal bills and the taxpayers have to pay for them. The taxpayers could get fed up and the worst that could happen on the government side is someone loses their job. Big deal, there's lots of jobs out there.

    But sooner or later, one of those court cases is bound to come out in favor of the government.

  • ||

    oops. "has NO limitation"

  • ||

    Jennifer,

    The cases you read about in the popular press, and in the libertarian press, are not representative of redevelopment takings as a whole. They are singled out by the former when they're so horrible as to make readers buy newspapers, and by the latter when they make particularly good grist for the property-rights movement.

    It's sort of like the down-home small farmer who always gets singled out as the "exemplary" victim of the capital gains tax, or the inheretance tax. If you can convince the public that he is, in fact, the typical case, you can ride him past the reforms his situation recommends, all the way to a radical outcome whose benefit accrues almost entirely to people unlike him.

  • ||

    Someone wake me when the revolution finally comes. I figure it should be starting fairly soon now.

  • Timothy||

    JC: It's basic public choice theory. What possible incentive does government have not to behave in this manner? And knowing that there are good central city planners like Joe out there looking out for me, my property rights, and making sure I reap the benefits of moving house at gun-point just gives me a warm fuzzy.

  • ||

    You have to understand, no matter that anyone here can find a list as long as his/her arm of patently abusive instances of eminent domain carried out just since the Kelo decision, those are all aberrations, man. Good uses of ED outnumber those vastly. Remember, "safe, legal, and rare". I mean, er, you know...

    Dammit, it's all a scam by those bastards in the property rights movement...

  • Timothy||

    And apparently [strike] doesn't work. Damn.

  • Timothy||

    Also, is anybody else deeply preturbed that a belief in private property is considered "radical"? That really, really disturbs me. A lot.

  • ||

    Wait...is joe Jean Bart?

  • ||

    Timothy, what disturbs me is that, for an urban planner, Joe is actually pretty sympathetic to the idea that people should be able to have private property when it doesn't get in the government's way.

  • Timothy||

    Not Really: On that thought I'll be in my separatist compound with my automatic weapons. Man.

  • ||

    Oops, should have attributed that lost post to myself.

  • ||

    joe-

    The cases you read about in the popular press, and in the liberal press, are not representative of death-row inmates vindicated by DNA evidence as a whole. They are singled out by the former when they're so horrible as to make readers buy newspapers, and by the latter when they make particularly good grist for the ani-capital punishment movement.

    It's sort of like the innocent minority who always gets singled out as the "exemplary" victim of capital punishment. If you can convince the public that he is, in fact, the typical case, you can ride him past the reforms his situation recommends, all the way to a radical outcome whose benefit accrues almost entirely to people unlike him.

    Note: I am anti-capital punishment.

  • ||

    The cases you read about in the popular press, and in the libertarian press, are not representative of redevelopment takings as a whole. They are singled out by the former when they're so horrible as to make readers buy newspapers, and by the latter when they make particularly good grist for the property-rights movement.

    exactly, but that's as it should be. just as it's wrong to say that ED takings are wrong 100% of the time, it's wrong to ignore the horror stories. like you said, ED is a terrible power, and people need to see what that power can do, good and bad. it's my feeling that we should err on the side of using it least, but government seems to be leaning towards using it more, with the exception of the recent Kelo backlash.

    i live in ardmore, pennsylvania (don't be surprised if you hear about us in the nat'l news soon, folks). just a beautiful place, but now they're going to use ED to force out a bunch of long-standing businesses so that they can build a big, pretty "transit center" (and parking lots). ask anyone who's been in ardmore for more than ten minutes, who doesn't happen to be in the local government, and they'll tell you that when ED is being applied to place like this, it's time for a change.

  • Y. Smirnoff||

    Just the takings portion of Kelo itself, the real problem here is valuation. The going rate for renting condemned land is about zero. Because its condemned. Becuase you never know when you will be kicked out. Sure rent is due, 0 X 60 months.

    It makes sense to set the valuation date at 2000, though. However, it should been 2000 era valuation in view of the fact that a super successful company, who is sure to drastically enhance the tax base, wants the land. Not, as SCOTUS would have it, a 2000 era valuation as if the tax-base-enhancer-moneybags-pty were absent.

  • MP||

    ask anyone who's been in ardmore for more than ten minutes, who doesn't happen to be in the local government, and they'll tell you that when ED is being applied to place like this, it's time for a change

    Even those of us who argue that Public Use = Public Use would likely agree that the taking, as you describe it, is Constitutional.

  • nmg||

    joe, you are simply an ass. There's no other explanation. You , and people who think like you, make me sick. End of story.

  • ||

    "The cases of police brutality you read about in the popular press, and in the negro press, are not representative of police behavior as a whole. They are singled out by the former when they're so horrible as to make readers buy newspapers, and by the latter when they make particularly good grist for the civili rights movement.

    It's sort of like the Negro preacher who always gets singled out as the "exemplary" victim of unwarranted arrests and police dogs. If you can convince the public that he is, in fact, the typical case, you can ride him past the reforms his situation recommends, all the way to a radical outcome whose benefit accrues almost entirely to uppity Negroes unlike him."

  • ||

    well MP, it takes someone who's been in ardmore longer than 10 minutes to understand this, but the transit center is just a front to lend the takings legitimacy. the real objective that is being served in ardmore is the creation of parking lots.

    ardmore is at the heart of the area just outside philly called the main line, which is coincidentally one of the richer areas in the country. (ironically it's cheaper to live there if you work outside of the city than to live or work inside the city, because of philly's ridiculous employment tax, which is where i come in.) it also has the highest concentration of shops in the main line. in other words, people go there to spend a lot of money.

    so naturally, businesses want to be there. but a few big ones have refused to take their business there, because of a perceived lack of parking in the area due to the congestion of shops. and this, in turn, naturally has real estate brokers who own property in ardmore upset, because they feel they should be able to charge a lot more rent for the property they own.

    so, out of nowhere comes a brilliant new plan for an Ardmore Transit Center, which just happens to include a reorganization of ardmore that just happens to include a fair number of multi-level parking garages.

    hmmm.

  • ||

    Yes, Girth, some people would actually ride the issue of wrongly convicted people past the obvious solution - a right to have DNA evidence tested - all the way to the abolition of the death penalty. These people make a great deal of noise about wrongful convictions, in an effort to use the emotional impact of such cases to support an outcome that really has nothing to do with wrongful convictions. That's yet another good example of what I'm talking about.

  • ||

    Of course, Joe, you don't actually take a sensible road of, say, no private-to-private takings. You'd rather reduce the sides to "all takings are bad!" vs. "but we need some takings".

  • ||

    Yes, Girth, some people would actually ride the issue of wrongly convicted people past the obvious solution - a right to have DNA evidence tested - all the way to the abolition of the death penalty. These people make a great deal of noise about wrongful convictions, in an effort to use the emotional impact of such cases to support an outcome that really has nothing to do with wrongful convictions. That's yet another good example of what I'm talking about.

    right. but to continue with the analogy, demanding to right to have DNA evidence tested is equivalent to demanding increased restrictions on the use of ED, for instance, prohibiting ED use for effectively transferring property from private party to private party. and until such restrictions are made into law, it's not unreasonable to simply support the even less frequent use of the "instrument" in question.

  • ||

    Zach does put it a bit more explicitly than I did. :)

  • MP||

    DNA evidence does not solve the issues surrounding the death penalty.

  • ||

    MP, his point is that it solves the issues surrounding the particular case you mentioned.

  • ||

    i'm sorry, that girth mentioned.

  • Jack William Bell||

    Note to H&R staff:

    Uh... Can we have a 'Joe Filter' for the comments? Preferably it should filter out both Joe and anyone responding to him. I don't mind if Joe can use it as a 'Jack Filter' as well.

    If needed I would gladly code one for you!

  • ||

    Correct me if I am wrong here, but even if the examples of abuses of eminant domain are "the exception" and not the rule, shouldn't the goal be to get the number of examples of abuse as close to 0 as possible? That means looking at the exceptions and seeing how these exceptions could have been avoided.

    Many people seem to believe that its an all or nothing argument but it isn't. I think many people on this board are advocating (rightly so) tightening of the rules around ED so that "the exceptions" can occur less and less. And if by tightening those rules there will be times when the gov't gets shafted and can't do the deal they want, so be it. I'd rather see a gov't have a harder time justifying why the taking is necessary/proper and being more limited to what kinds of uses are allowed by ED rather than seeing the gov't have the power to just take what they want and to hell with any collatoral damage to private citizens.

    Even though I consider myself liberal, I would gladly support scaling back the ability to use ED and restricting it to the literal "public use" that's written into the Constitution. Having more restrictions on ED or if the the Supreme's had sided with Kelo and limited the ability of the state to take in circumstances similar to the Kelo would not have been the end of the world despite what many liberal talking heads would have us believe.

  • ||

    Yikes...

    Ignoring the flame wars...

    Does this mean that it's now possible to ignore the "without just compensation?"

    What if a city offers you $8.00 for your house? You take them to court. Lawyers dance around for several months. They find that $8 is not just compensation. They find that $50,000 is just compensation. The city sends you a bill for $50,000 in rent.

    That's a little far-fetched, but you get the idea. Is that where this is headed?

  • ||

    Brand: When they wreck our house I hope they make it a sandtrap.

    Mikey: And never get their balls out!

  • ||

    What if a city offers you $8.00 for your house? You take them to court. Lawyers dance around for several months. They find that $8 is not just compensation. They find that $50,000 is just compensation. The city sends you a bill for $50,000 in rent.

    Along those lines....

    They value your home at such-and-such amount. They offer it to you. You decline and go to court. You lose.

    After the court battle they say that you owe some outrageous amount of rent. You counter by asking for interest on the money they originally offered several years ago. How much interest?

    Well, if you had taken the money that they offered originally, and you'd invested it in a property similar to the one that was taken from you, the rent that you could have collected on it would have come to however much rent they wanted to charge you.

  • ||

    ChicagoTom, exactly.

    Anonopotomous (jeeze):

    i think in those cases, since the gov't is not considered to own the property until "just compensation" has been paid (or maybe offered?), this particular problem would not apply.

  • ||

    Thoreau,

    Just to check, did you catch my answer to your question about the bottled water that donates to third-world water projects?

  • ||

    thoreau's case presents a more likely problem. i don't think, thoreau, that you could "counter by asking for interest on the money they originally offered several years ago." since they offered the money, and you chose not to take it, you wouldn't be entitled to any interest you would have earned if you had taken it.

    no, instead you'd pretty much be screwed.

  • ||

    If not, Thoreau, it's Ethos.

  • ||

    Well, if you had taken the money that they offered originally, and you'd invested it in a property similar to the one that was taken from you, the rent that you could have collected on it would have come to however much rent they wanted to charge you.

    Excellent!

  • ||

    Eric-

    Yep, I got the tip. I'll look for them at the store.


    zach-

    Sadly, you're probably right.

  • ||

    Re. thoroau's 06:40 pm:

    So if the City is claiming it was damaged by lost rental income, then it must have been the City's original intention to take part ownership of this property for itself and rent that part to someone.

    Note that it is not developer that is claiming lost rent, which would make some sense, it's the City.

  • ||

    while still dissuading bad actors who don't have a chance of winning from using the courts to stall in an attempt to squeeze more money from the public.

    Of course, "bad actors" = "people who want to continue living in their own homes," and "squeeze more money from the public" = "wanting what they, and not the buyer, consider 'just compensation'." Not that anyone's poisoning the well.

  • ||

    I agree with Chicago Tom. In fact, Tom, I've suggested a number of reforms that would do exactly that. The problem is, while liberals look at this case and say, "We've got to fix that," an awful lot of libertarians look at is and say, "Aha! This is our big chance."

    zach, "i think in those cases, since the gov't is not considered to own the property until "just compensation" has been paid (or maybe offered?), this particular problem would not apply." Actually, no. The government takes title as soon as it pays. If the seller doesn't accept the payment, it's put into escrow. It's no different than when you buy a house from the feuding heirs of the owner - you take title right away, but the money goes into escrow while the case moves through the courts.

    Actually, thoreau, I don't think zach's right. I don't think the NLDC has much of a chance here. If getting their day in court is going to cost them that kind of money, it's probably a Due Process violation.

  • ||

    Joe:Well, that's easy. The Supreme Court can't just make up whatever it wants so that the party they like best will win the case.

    It seems to me that in this decision, that is exactly what the majority did. Thomas is right: something has gone seriously awry with this Court's interpretation of the Constitution.

  • ||

    Phil, the reason I used the term "using the courts to stall in an attempt to squeeze more money from the public" was because I was talking about people trying "to squeeze more money from the public," not people with a solid claim to challenge the taking.

    You aren't very good at mind reading.

  • ||

    Don,

    Thomas's wishful thinking, a-historical historicism is a laughing matter among people who know about the law.

  • ||

    Joe: The problem is, while liberals look at this case and say, "We've got to fix that," an awful lot of libertarians look at is and say, "Aha! This is our big chance."

    The problem in this case is the liberals. Just look at which SC justices were in the majority and which were in the minority, and which congress critters think it's an act of God.

  • ||

    With all these comments, I forgot to respond to the linked story.

    This is a really shitty thing to do. The city is clearly acting out of spite.

  • ||

    joe,

    What if someone doesn't want to sell, not because he wants to "squeeze more money from the public," but because he really likes his house and wants to stay, no matter how much money you offer him to leave? How would you tell the difference?

    Also, if you're selling something, you're allowed to try to "squeeze more money" from the buyer.

  • ||

    Phil, the reason I used the term "using the courts to stall in an attempt to squeeze more money from the public" was because I was talking about people trying "to squeeze more money from the public," not people with a solid claim to challenge the taking.

    You presume that there's a difference between the two. From the point of view of the developer or government agency, any person who isn't remotely interested in selling or moving at any price is a "bad actor" regardless of whether they have a "solid claim" or not.

  • ||

    Of all the justices on the Supreme Court, Thomas is the best in my opinion. Granted, his way of thinking is a threat to New Deal / Great Society fascism, which is what the leftists really want to save (the Roe v Wade question isn't really about abortion, it is about obtaining SC justices who don't give a rat's ass about the Constitution).

  • ||

    Ok, Joe, how do you answer this?

    There are a number of stories in NJ where the govt. takes land, ostensibly to build a school, something which, unfortunately is clearly within the precedent of eminent domain.

    They throw the people off, and are in the process to demolish the homes, when guess what?

    They realize they don't have enough money to build all of the schools they had originally planned, do to, of all things govt. mismanagement. Who would have thought?

    http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkyJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2NzQyODcz

    Can these citizens sue? Probably not.

    The idea that ED is justified is because the courts say so is absurd. The courts at one time said it was legal to own another human being and treat him as property.

    This refusal of the court to strictly limit the govt. power under ED is an outrage.

  • ||

    Steve,

    The criteria for judging the validity of an eminent domain taking, or more aptly, the value of the taken property, has nothing to do with how badly the property owner wants to retain ownership. If there are two identical properties, the guy who's sorry to leave gets the same check as the guy who's eager to sell.

  • ||

    the value of the taken property, has nothing to do with how badly the property owner wants to retain ownership.rty

    In a real market, the above statement would be false. Of course, the use of force negates the owners' wishes, and the government is only too willing to use force to get its way.

  • ||

    I stuck on a question here that has little directly to do with Kelo or ED. If a person, corporation, or city, like New London, claims lost rent, I ask how it came to own, or how it was wrongfully deprived of owning, the property for which they are trying to charge rent ?

    The Kelo decision says its OK to transfer private property from one owner to another owner, with a plan and a bromide about the public good. It does not say, AFIK, that it's OK to confiscate property, charge rent, and then sell it.

    But this law suit about charging rent indicates an intention by the City to take ownership of the property at some point. The City cannot claim to be owed rent unless it owns the poperty. Why would they want to take ownership ? I submit the purpose of taking ownership was to fish for higher bids for the property, with higher taxes, and more revenue for the public employee's retirement fund.

    The City was either lying then or it is lying now. There's a pony in there somewhere.

  • ||

    The problem is, while liberals look at this case and say, "We've got to fix that," an awful lot of libertarians look at is and say, "Aha! This is our big chance."

    Funny, ending private-to-private takings seems to strike a lot of folks as "fix[ing] that". But oh, well. It's important to you for some demented reason to cast any organized opposition to eminent domain abuses as a sinister libertarian plot.

    I mean, come on. When you're seriously trying to tell people that libertarians are scheming against poor, innocent municipalities, you really need to step back and look at your twisted little thought process, joe.

  • ||

    The funny thing about city planners is that just about every one I've ever met, spoken to, or read suffers from "Kunstleritis".

    "Kunstleritis" is a condition where the sufferer can describe to you, in voluminous detail, the ways in which virtually every redevelopment program undertaken in the United States since the end of the Second World War has been a complete disaster, and can also describe to you, in voluminous detail, the ways in which the best urban areas in the United States almost always seem to still retain the development pattern they had during the 19th Century - but the sufferer is still somehow convinced that redevelopment is a good and necessary tool, requiring the railroading out of town of bad actors and reactionaries, and is convinced that THEIR redevelopment project will be the first one to work "right".

    It is basically the American version of Zapatistitis, as described in a blog entry farther down this page.

  • ||

    That joe guy is a total dick and I'm glad we have a place to show him what a dumbass he is, instead of talking more about eminent domain.

  • ||

    Zach,

    The real crime in the Ardmore case is using a determination of "blight" to grease the Eminent Domain process. To be fair to both sides, the only blighted building in that block is Brownies 23 East (but yeech!!! what a skeeze pit that is!). Though I have to admit, it would settle everyone's hash just fine if they put the school district bus depot there. First off, that would be an old-school "white hat" emanent domain use instead of the Snidely Whiplash model. And second, if the existing high school lots and that underused PECO substation plot are so residential enough to bring 'em out to protest a bus garage improvement, it's gotta go right between Route 30 and the train tracks, hands down.

  • ||

    this stuff is illuminating.

    if you or i get ED no one is getting fucked.

    but when the government gets ED we all get fucked.

    it hardly seems fair.

  • ||

    So... while everyone who's right debates joe, the real question is, what are we going to do about this?

  • raymond||

    "Justice" and "The Law" are rarely members of the same set.

    The job of US courts is to interpret the law. US courts do not "mete out justice".

    The job of legislatures is to make JUST laws. A JUST law - the only valid law - is one which secures the fundamental rights of the people.

    The job of the executive is to sign bills - "if he approve" - and to execute the law. After Marbury, few presidents have felt compelled to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

    The Constitution itself states that it has been ordained to "establish Justice, ... promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity". By that light, I'd say that about 99% of the laws of the US and the various States are unConstitutional. I wonder if any court has ever cited the Preamble in a decision.

    The Constitution is not immune from injustice.

    The US is a land of Law, not of Justice.

    I feel sorry for the people who have had their property stolen and are being billed for rent. But I'm not outraged, because I'm not surprised. It's all perfectly consistent with what the US has become.

  • ||

    rr,

    In the situation you describe in Jersey, I don't see the homeowners as having been victimized any more than those whose homes were taken for a school that was built.

    I'd be pretty pissed off if I lived in that town, though, that the government was throwing around its power, and my money, so recklessly.

  • ||

    "It's important to you for some demented reason to cast any organized opposition to eminent domain abuses as a sinister libertarian plot."

    That's an odd thing to say, Eric, to somebody who supports eminent domain reform to curb abuses.

    Yeah, yeah, if I'm not on board for the whole ideological enchillada, I'm a fascist bastard who puts puppies in blenders. I don't have any respect for that argument when it's made by another liberal, what makes you think I'll do anything but roll my eyes at it when it's made by a randroid?

  • ||

    Found some examples of ED proposals in the wake of Kelo:

    "In Lake Zurich, Ill., town officials are now moving to condemn the property of five owners to clear way for a private development, despite requests to hold off on condemnation. In Arnold, Mo., city officials applauded Kelo, saying it will help push forward plans to raze 30 homes and 15 small businesses to build a Lowe's Home Improvement store and a strip mall.
    And in Baltimore, officials see the ruling as a green light to seize more than 2,000 properties for a biotech park and new residences."


    http://globalpolitician.com/articledes.asp?ID=1074&cid=1&sid=37

    So Joe, do these count as "good" uses or "bad" ones? And, for all your insistence that private-development ED is just fine, despite all the negative stories the liberal media keeps shoving down our throats, I have to ask: just how many bad uses do there have to be before you'd figure that maybe, for all the beauty of private ED on paper, maybe it's not such a good idea in practice? Should the good to bad ratio be 1:1? 5:1? 1:5? How many times does a "good law" have to have bad consequences before you figure it's not such a good law after all?

  • ||

    I'd have to know more about the projects before I could comment on them specifically, Jennifer. Unlike you, just knowing that ED is proposed and the ultimate use won't be a public building isn't enough for me to assume I know what's going on.

    The "ratio" argument is silly. The law should be drawn to allow "good" takings, and restrict bad ones. Your argument is akin to the "keep guns off the street" argument - it treats very unlike things the same.

  • ||

    Let's review: the owners are offered money, refuse it, go to court.

    At this point, the city (apparently) takes title via fiat, and the purchase price is escrowed.

    If the city has title, it can evict the owners. It probably doesn't do this because eviction would be a fundamental change to the facts on the ground that, arguably, could not be remedied, and so is not appropriate while appeals are pending. Because the city has title, it can't charge property tax anymore, by the way.

    Since it can't evict, the (former) owners get to stay on site, making the city a landlord, and so the city does what any landlord does - it charges rent, but collection of rent is suspended pending the outcome of the appeal. Lose the appeal, get evicted, pay the accumulated rent.

    But what about the money in escrow? Any decent escrow account is invested, at a minimum, in some kind of money market fund, and should be accumulating some interest. Not a lot these days, but that interest should go to the owners when they get paid out.

  • ||

    Joe, the ratio argument may be silly but the question is still valid: how many times does something you consider a good law have to be used for bad purposes before it ceases to be such a good idea?

    Just comment on one of the takings I mentioned: thirty people's homes and fifteen people's businesses eradicated so that the Lowe's corporation can get help making inroads in Missouri. Good idea or bad one? How many local Mom-and-Pop businesses and individual homes does it take to equal the importance of one chain-store from a national corporation?

  • ||

    There's been a lot of discussion so far about the negatives associated with ED from the perspective of the experience of the property owner whose property is taken away.

    I don't think that really fully captures the injustice of ED for private development, though.

    After all, if you lose your property to ED, you've lost it just as much if it's taken for a truly public use as you have if it's taken for private development.

    We have to look at the other side of the equation - the fact that this property is received by private individuals who are thereby enriched by it.

    If the public was being taxed, and tax dollars were not being spent on public projects, but were being awarded to an aristocratic class for their maintenance, wouldn't that be an outrage in and of itself, and quite separately from the issue of taxation? In other words, despite the fact that "randroids" and members of the more traditional political establishment might argue about the propriety of direct taxation, wouldn't everyone more or less agree that using the proceeds of taxation to create a titled class would be injustice and exploitation?

    In the Kelo case, and in the host of cases that have arisen in the weeks since Kelo, all that's missing is the titles. [And titles are just words. "Developer" is also a word.]

  • ||

    Joe is not aloud to think outside the box. He can see only what the laws have set forth and thereby follow them. He has no concept of what is right and what is wrong except for what is already on paper. If the law said raping school girls was ok, he would defend it unto the last.

    Joe is a product of a school of thought where you are told not to question the law, only that you should believe in it.

    It is because of narrow sighted people like this that this country has laws in existence that allow the trampling of individual freedoms and rights. Joe is a follower, not a leader...

  • ||

    jimny fucking christmas you people are being a bit melodramatic. teh interwebz has a bad influence on the narrowing of debate parameters; digital manicheanism, if you will.

    i don't think ED is acceptable, and i can't even think of a single case where it would be acceptable, but that speaks no more for my character than joe's acceptance of some cases of ED does.

  • ||

    I don't think ED is acceptable either. Your doctor may have treatment plans that are right for you.

  • ||

    Jennifer,

    If it helps answer your "how many times" question, I supported takings reform before you even heard of the issue.

    As far as the Lowe's question goes, imho, if the only benefit to be achieved is that which accrues to Lowe's, I don't think that's worth taking a single home. Of course, not seeing the plan, I'm not inclined to accept your characterization of its benefits.

    Eric, your rantings are testimony only to your own lunacy. Disagreeing with you about the proper shape of eminent domain reform = "raping school girls was ok?" Seek professional help.

    How many people are following you, great leader?

  • ||

    How many people are following you, great leader?

    Is City Planner an elected or appointed position?

  • ||

    Is City Planner an elected or appointed position?

    It may or may not be an office, depending on the city. Though I'm vaguely curious what Joe's actual position is.

  • ||

    So... while everyone who's right debates joe, the real question is, what are we going to do about this?

    As a start, which SC justices suported Kelo? What presidents nominated them to the SC?

    Supported Kelo decision: Stevens (Ford), Kennedy (Ford), Souter (Bush I), Ginsburg (Clinton), Breyer (Clinton).

    In dissent: O'Connor (Reagan), Rehnquist (Nixon), Scalia (Reagan), Thomas (Bush I).

    We should come up with a table on SC decisions of interest to libertarians, showing which justices voted for/against.

  • ||

    The "ratio" argument is silly. The law should be drawn to allow "good" takings, and restrict bad ones.


    The Kelo decision works toward increasing "bad" takings.

    And, Jennifer's the ratio argument isn't silly. You are the one who started the ratio argument, by claiming that "bad" takings are rare, but highly publicized.

    I'd kinda like to hear about some of your "good" takings. Examples?

  • ||

    "Funny, then, that you keep trying to depict people trying to reform eminent domain that way."

    Actually, it's only a fraction of the people who want to reform eminent domain that I depict that way.

    Don,

    "The Kelo decision works toward increasing "bad" takings." I don't know about "increasing," but yes, it allows bad ones.

    The reason Jennifer's "ratio" argument is silly is not that there isn't a ratio of good takings to bad ones, but that she concludes from the existence of this ratio that we should therefore ban all takings, good and bad.

    I would consider evert taking done by the DSNI to be a good taking.

  • ||

    but that she concludes from the existence of this ratio that we should therefore ban all takings, good and bad.

    No, I was asking how many times a good law has to lead to bad things before you're willing to consider that maybe it's not such a good law after all. Unless you're the type who'd refuse to even CONSIDER the possibility that you may be wrong about something.

    Heck, I'll start by giving an example of a time *I* changed my mind about a law because it was misused: I still support the death penalty in a philosophical way, but because too many innocent people were either executed or came damned close to it, I now support a death-penalty moratorium.

    So Joe, you insist that the BAD private ED stories are in the minority. If ten percent of private ED uses were corrupt, would you scrap the ED-for-private-developers law? Twenty percent? Fifty? Or never, under any circumstances?

  • ||

    Joe,

    After re-reading Jennifer's argument, I think you got it wrong:

    . . . how many times does something you consider a good law have to be used for bad purposes before it ceases to be such a good idea?

    She seems to be asking what you consider a resonable ratio. Unless I've missed something, I don't think she is saying the existance of a ratio proves that it is bad.

    I would consider evert taking done by the DSNI to be a good taking.

    Given that the DSNI takings are all "abandoned vacant parcels", it is hard to argue with.

  • ||

    Jennifer,

    Regardless of the frequency of the problem, I would support attempts to address the problem first. Only if a few interations of targetted reform failed would I support a broad, throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater approach.

    I supported reforms to reign in takings of homes years ago. Seeing as how none of what I'd like to see has been adopted yet, I see no reason to conclude that the types of reforms I support are inadequate to address the problem.

    This is like asking me, "How many Enrons will it take before you agree to abolish all futures trading?" Whoa there big fella. Let's not get ahead of ourselves here.

  • ||

    I supported reforms to reign in takings of homes years ago. Seeing as how none of what I'd like to see has been adopted yet, I see no reason to conclude that the types of reforms I support are inadequate to address the problem.

    Yet you support a Supreme Court decision that will make the problem even worse, as opposed to saying something like "Well, hmm, I support private-developer ED but a ruling which says that the city can take away homes and small businesses and hand them over to ANY developer who will make better use of it than the current owner sounds like a scenario ripe for exploitation!"

  • ||

    Seeing as how none of what I'd like to see has been adopted yet,

    joe, since you're on the front lines and we aren't, can you gives us any details or even just plain musings on WHY none of the reforms you'd like to see have been adopted? That would be a much more interesting thread than what this has developed into.

  • ||

    keith (from way back),

    The real crime in the Ardmore case is using a determination of "blight" to grease the Eminent Domain process. To be fair to both sides, the only blighted building in that block is Brownies 23 East (but yeech!!! what a skeeze pit that is!). Though I have to admit, it would settle everyone's hash just fine if they put the school district bus depot there. First off, that would be an old-school "white hat" emanent domain use instead of the Snidely Whiplash model. And second, if the existing high school lots and that underused PECO substation plot are so residential enough to bring 'em out to protest a bus garage improvement, it's gotta go right between Route 30 and the train tracks, hands down.

    first of all, i'm with you on brownie's. walk a block and you're at some actual good bars that don't charge a cover and aren't packed with frat boys drinking coors lite. and gillane's wings are just fantastic. but anyway...

    i can't really figure out the rest of what you're saying. to my knowledge a school bus depot between the tracks and lancaster ave is not in the cards. and as it stands, the proposed projects are already pretty well separated from residential areas (other than apartments like mine). the main protest has come mainly out of the businesses in jeopardy, and people in the area are just sympathetic to their plight. i can't tell if that's what you meant or not.

    but i do think that, while declaring the area "blight" is ridiculous, this mainly underscores the fact that the motives here have little to do with any need for an improved transit station. so it's not the main thing i'm upset about, i'm mostly just upset that this is happening at all.

  • ||

    now maybe you bolshevik left wing liberal morons will figure out the value of the second amendment

  • ||

    It won't make the problem worse, Jennifer, it will maintain the status quo.

    I've posted a number of critiques of the decision, which keep falling on deaf ears, because of course only those who support the maximalist Thomas position have anything useful to say. Everyone else just gets their kicks tossing old ladies out of their houses.

    I've stated that the situation is ripe for exploitation and suggested remedies. But since I'm not on the bus, you just keep pretending I haven't. That's your problem.

  • ||

    Russ D,

    I'd say the primary reason is that city planning is, for some reason, considered really, really boring. The press doesn't like to cover it, the public only cares when there's a development near them, and there just isn't any great motivator to get the politicians to pay attention. Now, however, with "Kelo" becoming shorthand for any number of interrelated issues, there might be a window of opportunity.

  • ||

    The founding fathers would have started burning things at this point.

  • PintofStout||

    Tar and Feathers anyone?

    I really can't believe the arrogance of these people. We need to stage a Gaza-like protest and overwhelm the city so that it is impossible to take this property or operate a government there anymore.

  • ||

    Actually, it's only a fraction of the people who want to reform eminent domain that I depict that way.

    OK, so who are all the people actively pursuing eminent domain reform (you know, before the grand libertarian hype machine got into the act and convinced people that something bad had happened) who you have no problem with?

  • ||

    Just dropped in who knows how. Here's my con opinion on the Supreme Court's eminent domain ruling as a parting gift.

    http://www.pressaction.com/news/weblog/full_article/beckman06242005/

  • ||

    And we haven't even touched the most fun aspect raised by New London's latest move: Since the criteria for eminent domain is now "public purpose," e.g. more revenue, why take the property and sell it to a developer? Why not jsut take it and rent it directly -- not just for a few months or years, but permanently? Nothing in Kelo v. New London to prevent it....

  • ||

    This is the point where you declare bankruptcy and move into a cardboard box on the government steps and live on the city dole. It's either that or the vandalism to city property makes an odd upswing.

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