Mother Nature's Blight


So what constitutes eminent-domainable "blight"? In the Edwards Air Force Base-adjacent town of California City, "15,000 acres of vacant desert land" does, at least when some of the private owners who haven't already buckled don't want to sell their property to Hyundai Motor America, which seeks to build a 4,340-acre test track.

Thankfully, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer is joining a lawsuit to block the seizure. And, supporting commenter joe's controversial thesis, Lockyer sez he's doing so partly at the encouragement of Kelo:

Under state law, a city may only take land for economic development purposes in blighted areas.

The attorney general contends that the intent of redevelopment law was to help cities rebuild aging urban neighborhoods, not develop vacant land. […]

"Including a large vacant rural expanse of land in a redevelopment project is totally inconsistent with legislative intent," Lockyer argued in the court papers. […]

Kelo vs. New London … left states, including California, some discretion to develop stricter standards for use of eminent domain in redevelopment, Lockyer said.

Of course, the states had that discretion before, but Lockyer (who's generally awful) is nothing if not sensitive to the prevailing political winds.