Steal From the Rich to Give to the Rich

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Radley Balko points out a new twist on eminent domain abuse: The village of North Hills on Long Island, one of the wealthiest towns in the U.S., has its eyes on Deepdale, one of the country's top golf courses. Local politicians are threatening to seize the course through eminent domain and make it a public "amenity" open to all 1,800 residents of North Hill. There's your "public use." The official goal, in a town where home prices start in the millions, is to enhance property values.

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  1. Someone needs to put a slap on SCOTUS.

  2. This should be an interesting fight, with rich and powerful entities on both sides.

  3. rich and powerful entities on both sides

    That’s a formula for actually reaching a result that clarifies and improves the case-law (as did the WTC 9/11 insurance case). However, it’s also a formula for reaching a confidential settlement, so I won’t hold my breath.

  4. starter condos at $500,000

    That’s from the Newsday article dated a year and a half ago. How quaint! That price is about average for the NYC area.

  5. I wonder what would happen if the Country Club decided, as a ‘screw you’ gesture, just completely destroyed the golf course and then declared bankruptcy.

    See was a big patch of abandoned, useless property does to their real estate values.

  6. It’s the same old thing wherever you go: Typical failure of classical economics.

    The rich keep getting richer, while the not-quite-as-rich are, yes, getting richer, but not quite at the same rate as the very rich.

  7. I wrote a thing about this a couple of weeks ago here. What killed me is that the mayor who’s considering taking the course seems offended that the owners of the course are fighting back.

  8. “There’s your “public use.” The official goal, in a town where home prices start in the millions, is to enhance property values.”

    Rich people are the ones with obsessive/compulsive behavior.

    If only they had good taste.

    Here in Sinincincinnati, building a string of mega-mausoleums along the river was supposed to enhance everybody’s property values.

  9. “just completely destroyed the golf course”

    Stormy Dragon,
    You mean convert it to a Scottish-style course?

  10. I don’t understand the property values charade. Providing universal recreation opportunities in a public park is a much stronger public purpose than raising property values. Much of Central Park was taken that way (and there’s a fairly ugly story).

    Oddly enough, the creation of a public park is the type of obvious, irrefutable public use that not even the IJ could refute on Fifth Amendment grounds. Which just goes to show how wrong-headed it is to draw the line between “good” and “bad” takings based on public ownership and physical occupation.

  11. joe,

    Except this isn’t going to be a “public park”. It’s going to be a golf course–itself not particulary amenable to any use other than… golf–that’s open only to North Hills residents. (The article doesn’t specifically say that, but that’s what’s going to happen–just like the “public” beaches and parks along the North Shore that only residents may visit.) That’s why the mayor admitted it’s all about property values-because he knows he can’t get away with the “public use” ruse.

  12. I have to admit, the real reason I want to be rich is so I can afford to do really expensive and destructive things JUST to spite people.

  13. I think maybe we should move the whole take-Souter’s house project down to Massachusetts — maybe they could put that museum in joe’s house.

  14. There’s your “public use.”

    Actually, Jacob, I think its more like I got your ‘public use’ right here [grabs crotch].

  15. The People have a right to public golf.

  16. Yeah if i was the owner of the golf course the last thing i would do before the land was officially taken away from me is salt the earth

    just one giant sand trap of a golf course

  17. If the city managed to steal my golf course, I’d replace all the fertilizer with salt.

  18. 50 courses within 15 miles? Where the hell is there room for houses? lol.

  19. “It’s the same old thing wherever you go: Typical failure of classical economics.”

    How so? Is there an externality issue? Public goods issue?

    Seems like the only failure here is a governmental one.

  20. “I don’t understand the property values charade. Providing universal recreation opportunities in a public park is a much stronger public purpose than raising property values. Much of Central Park was taken that way”

    Not to mention Bronx Park and much of the entire Bronx River Reservation. Used to be homes.

    What’s vexing here is not the “public use” business — of course it’ll be for public use where “public” is defined as that of that political unit — but the anomaly that the plan is to put it to the exact same use that the property currently has. Is there taking precedent for that? There’s a long history of utilities (transportation, mostly) being taken over by gov’t in the USA, but in how many cases was it by or even under threat of condemnation, rather than a willing sale?

    Robert

  21. I have to admit, the real reason I want to be rich is so I can afford to do really expensive and destructive things JUST to spite people.

    Envey is one dumb motherfucker

  22. >Envey is one dumb motherfucker

    It’s not other right people I want to spite, it’s people who try to screw with me.

    This is wrath, not envy. ;>

  23. If a city can use eminent domain to take a private golf course from the owner to make a “public” golf course, why can’t it use eminent domain to take a nice Lexus for the use of city employees?

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