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… and that town is the City of the Angels, where Matt Welch checks in on Democrats who have decided it's necessary to destroy the village in order to save it from Republicans.

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  1. Money quote:

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) opposed Waters’ amendment, arguing that the Supreme Court decision “is almost as if God has spoken.”

    I don’t think commentary is necessary.

  2. …Garcetti said the city would not use its powers of eminent domain to force property owners to sell, unless the developers were unable to reach a deal with the landowners.

    Can anybody explain how this is different from a Mafia Don not breaking any kneecaps unless somebody refuses to sell?

  3. Matt Welch gets the situation pretty straight, especially for a Canadian.

    Let’s make Souter’s house a national monument.

  4. Does anyone remember the Bugs Bunny cartoon where he refused to move his home for a new skyscraper being built? IIRC, after much cartoon-related mayhem, the company decided to build it around his warren. Bugs’s money quote: “After all, a man’s home is his castle!”

    Preach on, fictional lagomorph! Your wisdom endures.

  5. A couple inaccurate characterizations, some out of context quotes, and a handful of scare stories.

    I wonder where Democrats could have gotten the silly, paranoid idea that the anti-ED movement is part of a strategy to effect a broader change in the field of development and regulation? Oh, that’s right, the people who are pushing it said so themselves. Silly, paranoid Democrats, always taking people at their word. Of course this is just about the long-established concern of the right for the little guy.

    What a crappy post.

  6. The hilarious part is how democrats are knifing their constituency in the back by opposing restrictions to eminent domain. Their base of the poor are the ones most of the time forced out under “blight” conditions specified by local ED ordinances.

    Just saying “NO” to the republicans is hurting them more than they can imagine. I’m not a big fan of them anyway, but I know a supremely dominant party is not good for America. Conflict in government is the only thing saving us from the government “saving us”

  7. Gee, joe, then perhaps you’d like to explain why oh, I dunno, Nancy Pelosi didn’t vote to oppose such use of ED then?

  8. Any guesses on how long it will take for the vote of the poor to be effectively marketed to on the grounds that their current party wants their house? Loyalty to ones party runs deep.

  9. a handful of scare stories

    You know, joe, it’s those scare stories – which happen to be true – that make me think that the anti-ED movement is on the right track.

  10. So, joe, say some scare stories happen. Say some people decide that they’d like to make sure it doesn’t go from anecdote to trend. So they push their local officials to restrict the use of ED. Isn’t that what you say the majority endorsed in Kelo?

    What’s wrong with that, exactly?

  11. …Garcetti said the city would not use its powers of eminent domain to force property owners to sell, unless the developers were unable to reach a deal with the landowners. . . . . Can anybody explain how this is different from a Mafia Don not breaking any kneecaps unless somebody refuses to sell?

    The Mafia Don is honest enough to just steal your property, without spewing any bullshit about how this is for the public benefit.

  12. “[A] handful of scare stories” is all we got to go on for the abuse of prisoners at Gitmo. But anyone with a shred of decency is concerned about it and wants it stopped.

  13. In fact, “a handful of scare stories” is all we have to go on for practically any abuse of public power.

  14. One persons “scare story” is another persons forcibly taken house. A house taken and destroyed to make room for a politically connected corporations parking lot. A system that allows this to occur even once is a system that is broken and needs to be fixed.

  15. A couple inaccurate characterizations, some out of context quotes, and a handful of scare stories.

    Which characterizations were inaccurate? Which quotes were out of context? Do the scare stories involve ED uses which are so rare that it’s inherently dishonest for Matt Welch to mention them?

  16. What a crappy post.

    joe only cares about property rights when it means harassing gun owners.

  17. I’m trying to figure out how Joe can look at a group of people who are trying to make it illegal for a wealthy businessman or powerful corporation to confiscate the property of a poor individual, and say it’s fallacious to assumethese people are interested in looking out for the little guy. I’m also wondering how the people who WANT to allow corporations to take people’s property ARE fighting for the little guy.

    Dear God, I’m defending Republicans. The apocalypse is nigh.

  18. “What’s wrong with that, exactly?”

    Nothing’s wrong with that, thoreau. I’m not objecting to the efforts to reform eminent domain law.

    I’m objecting to Welch’s characterization of the issue.

  19. Funny that people keep mentioning the Mafia: The Democratic party always has been nothing more than a vaguely packaged shakedown operation.

    What I don’t understand is why people expect them to be anything else. Everyone knew exactly how Kelo was going to go a year ago – the only question was 6-3 or 5-4? And everyone always knew how the Democrats would react.

    Can’t we just be honest? There are no surprises here.

  20. Jennifer,

    Have you considered the possibility that the characterization of the issue in the media sources you seek out might not be as fair and complete as it could be?

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

    Of course, you’re not against any of these things. You’ve just been sold a bill of goods by some politicos who’ve hitched their wagon to a good story. There was a great piece on how to do ED reform right in Friday’s Boston Globe.

  21. I’m objecting to Welch’s characterization of the issue.

    But where exactly did he get it wrong? There was the one quote from the odious woman who said that the Supreme Court’s decision was “as if God had spoken.” Now, if the full quote involved the woman saying, in a scornful voice, “I can’t believe people don’t want to fight the decision. You’d think it’s as if God had spoken,” then that would indeed be dishonest of Matt Welch to quote it the way he did. But I don’t think that’s the case. Where did Welch give the wrong impression by using half-truths or out-of-context quotes?

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

    I’m opposed to increasing the value of poor neighborhoods by kicking out the people who live there. I’m opposed to forcing poor people to make whatever sacrifices the wealthy deem necessary to improve life for OTHER poor people.

    Christ, Joe, if a person opposes Soylent Green it doesn’t mean she opposes feeding the poor.

  23. Joe,

    if you could provide a single, verifiable, concrete example of this sort of private-to-private ED “done right” I could begin to understand your POV. Otherwise, you’re just playing partisan politics.

  24. Rhwyun,

    Google “Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative”

  25. Jennifer,

    I’m against those things, too.

    And I’m still not buying into IJ’s little jihad.

    How could that possibly be?

  26. http://www.dsni.org

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

  27. The next big ED dispute will be here in Syracuse. A billionaire developer wants to build the world’s largest mall on the shore of Onondaga lake. And he’s demanding unreal tax breaks/incentives and just good old free moola.(There is so much wrong with that last sentence.)

    Upwards of 200 businesses and home owners could be effected. Well Syracuse ain’t exactly a lovely city, but the world’s largest mall won’t help, I don’t think. Better than having the nuke plants in Oswego melt down, I guess.

  28. Meant to say there is so much wrong with those two sentences.

  29. “jihad” ???

    That’s not a scare tactic?

  30. Joe-
    It depends. Are we talking about poor Bostonians being allowed to improve their own property, or Bostonians allowed to take property away from those who, they say, aren’t using it properly?

    Also, since you’re all about helping the poor, why don’t you have more qualms about a system which basically says “We can take your property away if it doesn’t generate enough tax revenue for the government?” It’s not the Bill Gateses of the world who will be affected by this.

    And I did skim through the article you linked to, and I don’t see how it applies here. We’re talking about condeming the homes in which people live–they’re talking about condemning unused vacant land. Which I still oppose in principle, but I don’t think it’s nearly as egregious as what you’re defending here.

    And seriously, HOW was Matt Welch dishonest in his article?

  31. Joe-
    It depends. Are we talking about poor Bostonians being allowed to improve their own property, or Bostonians allowed to take property away from those who, they say, aren’t using it properly?

    Also, since you’re all about helping the poor, why don’t you have more qualms about a system which basically says “We can take your property away if it doesn’t generate enough tax revenue for the government?” It’s not the Bill Gateses of the world who will be affected by this.

    And I did skim through the article you linked to, and I don’t see how it applies here. We’re talking about condeming the homes in which people live–they’re talking about condemning unused vacant land. Which I still oppose in principle, but I don’t think it’s nearly as egregious as what you’re defending here.

    And seriously, HOW was Matt Welch dishonest in his article?

  32. http://www.dsni.org

    I don’t fully understand what sort of ED is going on here, although a quick read suggests they’re taking abandoned land – not land that people are actually living on and want to keep. Still doesn’t make it right, though.

  33. Sorry about the double post. Am I the only one who had problems with the server for awhile?

  34. Yup, le server est fucked. You guys don’t know how to use your bandwidth properly. We oughtta take it away and hand it over to someone who could make PROPER use of it. And maybe generate extra tax revenue and jobs, too!

  35. And I’m still not buying into IJ’s little jihad.
    Comment by: joe at August 15, 2005 11:27 AM>

    “jihad” ???
    That’s not a scare tactic?
    Comment by: Ironchef at August 15, 2005 11:43 AM

    Eiether you’re with joe, or your with the terrorists.

  36. Jennifer,

    just call it “affordable bandwidth” to make it sound all caring and stuff.

  37. You know, that comment about giving the bandwidth to someone who would use it properly struck me as familiar–I’d read something like that somewhere else. And I couldn’t remember where, until it hit me: as a kid I was really into the Laura Inglalls Wilder “Little House” books. (Which were MUCH better than that craptacular TV show.)

    In the book “Little House on the Prairie,” the Ingalls family and some other white settlers went in to Indian Territory and built farms there. And one of the Ingalls’ neighbors, Mrs. Scott, explained why it was perfectly right and just for the white guys to take land from the Indians: “It doesn’t matter who was here first. Land belongs to folks who will farm it. That’s just common sense and justice.”

    Of course, Mrs. Scott had a nineteenth-century mindset. To update it for the twenty-first century, let’s change it to “It doesn’t matter who was here first. Land belongs to folks who will develop it. That’s just common sense and justice.”

  38. Keep in mind that Joe is an urban planner (or something like that). He stands to benefit from constant turn-over of property.

  39. To give Jennifer’s Little House post a current, international flavor: that was also the justification used by Jewish settlers in Palestine prior to the etablishment of Israel. “A land without people for a people without land.” Of course, there were people there. But supposedly they weren’t using the land to its maximize productive potential.

    Joe: take a deep breath. Find your center. Say to yourself “Sometimes Democrats are wrong. Sometimes Democrats are wrong.” Repeat until you can say the words without stroking out.

  40. Urban planners don’t “benefit from constant turn-over of property.”

    What are you talking about?

  41. stubby,

    Sure they are. And sometimes they’re right.

    Making it possible for older cities (where most of the poor people live) to continue to be viable is the right thing to do.

  42. Making it possible for older cities (where most of the poor people live) to continue to be viable is the right thing to do.

    By kicking out the poor people who actually live there?

    By the way, Joe, what did you think of my current take on Mrs. Scott’s justification for giving Indian land to the white man? I’m sure you think it’s a totally false comparison, but how so?

  43. ….taking abandoned land – not land that people are actually living on and want to keep. Still doesn’t make it right, though.

    Actually the loss of title by owners who have abandoned their land or do not actively defend their claim of ownership thru occupation and use is an old Common Law principle. It’s called “Adverse Possession”. It is no longer recognized in many or even most US states.

  44. “We’re going to kick you off your land so we can make your land a nice place for people to be. It’s for your own good! All you were doing with it was living on it anyway. It doesn’t matter who was here first, land belongs to folks who will develop it. That’s just common sense and justice.”

  45. Jennifer – that also sounds like the Georgist philosophy that some folks here were peddling a few weeks back.

  46. Eric–

    “Georgist?”

  47. Yeah, the idea being that no one can morally own land, so if people are allowed by the government to possess land, they have to pay a tax on the “unimproved value” of the land. In such a setup, the government doesn’t have to invest in takings at all – they just have to hike the land tax until you can’t pay it, then kick you off.

  48. Joe-
    It depends. Are we talking about poor Bostonians being allowed to improve their own property, or Bostonians allowed to take property away from those who, they say, aren’t using it properly?

    Jennifer,

    Joe is an urban planner. He doesn’t want the poor people in Boston improving their land unless it fits his plan.

  49. “Little House on the Prairie”

    Keep in mind, in the midwest most Indians followed the Bison, they were not living on a specific piece of land. Putting up a farm would have not really involved taking their land, since they didn’t live on it or own it, and different tribes might cross over it, etc. This example is much more like conviscating land owned by a absent owner.

    A similar sort of dynamic occured between cattle ranchers and farmers, BTW.

  50. Don–Yeah, I know. But I’m disappointed that Joe hasn’t come back to explain why I’m wrong to compare modern ED rationalizations with Mrs. Scott’s rationalization as to why it was okay for white guys to steal land from the Indians.

  51. Jennifer, you see, the problem is that you’ve bought into the vast libertarian hype machine about ED. ED is a fine and dandy thing that none of you remotely understand. All private complaints about ED are ideological foolishness.

    However, if states want to regulate ED, I have no problem with that. This is a conversation we need to have! (Not that there’s anything wrong with ED – it’s perfectly good operating the same way it always has since before 1776.) I don’t even care if the states are creating these regulations on the basis of reactions to a few gazillion completely unrepresentative incidents and evil IJ/H&R propaganda. The conversation gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling.

  52. Jennifer,

    If you haven’t realized it by now, my concern with the “anti-Kelo” backlash being whipped up is that it goes well beyond stopping poor people’s homes from being taken and given to Wal Mart. I’ve actually offered, in earlier threads, a number of reforms I’d like to see put into effect to prevent that from happening.

    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.

  53. Okay, Joe, but how was I wrong in comparing this to Mrs. Scott’s anti-Indian views?

    Though you may not have time to answer; a Reason staffer just posted a new anti-Kelo thread which is positively horrifying for the sheer evil (yes, I said EVIL) of the government.

  54. 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.

    As opposed to screwing the little guys by taking away their homes or small businesses.

  55. Jennifer,

    1) The Native American Peoples in question were not compensated fairly. Or, like, at all.

    2) Said Indigenous Inhabitants WERE using their land productively.

    So you’ve got neither a lawful taking, nor adverse posession.

  56. Said Indigenous Inhabitants WERE using their land productively.

    Not according to the standards of their time. Just as by modern standards, merely living in your home is not considered “productive use.”

  57. From the article:

    “Eminent domain for private development is nothing more than a market shortcut and nothing less than government-sanctioned bullying of the people who least deserve it.”

    And it’s exactly this avoidance of he market that makes it so unjust. I would only add that; NO ONE is any less deserving of this injustice. It’s unfair on principle. The author probably meant that its victims tend to be the less politically well connected, while the recipients of the extorted property definitely tend to be the well politically connected types.

  58. The 4:50 comment was me. I spaced changing back from “Rickey Ramone” which is my Friday fun link screen-name. Sorry.

  59. thoreau PhD at 7:39 AM:

    Can anybody explain how this is different from a Mafia Don not breaking any kneecaps unless somebody refuses to sell?

    I think that it was Albert J. Nock who observed that so many actions of government are indistinguishable from those of an organized criminal class.

  60. ‘Just as by modern standards, merely living in your home is not considered “productive use.”‘

    Yes, it is. I think you’re getting tangled up in a couple of different trains of thought. Eminent Domain has always been used on properties that are in productive uses – farms, occupied houses and barns, businesses…

    On the level of principle, though, the important difference comes with the compensation/lack of compensation. The paying of compensation is how the Fifth Amendment protects individuals’ property rights.

  61. 1) The Native American Peoples in question were not compensated fairly. Or, like, at all.

    Sure they were. They were given reservations and provided beef, bread, bacon, etc. Not bad, given they didn’t have any title to the land, and usually didn’t live there.

    2) Said Indigenous Inhabitants WERE using their land productively.

    Dude, they were just harassing the bison and other animals.

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