Property Rights

Victory Against Eminent Domain Abuse in San Pablo

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The Contra Costa Times reports on some great news from San Pablo, California:

The San Pablo City Council this week dropped plans to extend its eminent domain authority, bending to a raucous groundswell of mistrust and resentment of city government that included threats of a recall.

The council action—4-0 with Councilman Arturo Cruz abstaining—amounted to a no-vote on a series of ordinances and resolutions to amend redevelopment plans covering more than 90 percent of the city; one of the ordinances would have reinstated for 12 years the agency's powers of eminent domain, which lapsed in March 2009. It ends, at least for now, an emotional, four-months-long public debate during which opposition solidified and city officials failed to rally support for eminent domain as a land-acquisition tool to facilitate development.

Read the whole story here.

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  1. Nice try, Damon, but this story is like putting Bactine on Radley’s sucking chest wound of a post below.

  2. The citizen quotes from that story FUCKING ROCK:

    “Instead of being for the people, you are for the developers,” said resident Adolfo Sanchez.

    Handing the agency the power of eminent domain would be like “having your chicken house guarded by a pack of very hungry wolves,” said resident Jai Sun. “I want to live in a San Pablo where I feel safe and my home is safe,” Sun said, imploring the council to “cease your hostile tactics.”

    “We definitely have a trust issue,” resident Pat Ryan told the council. “We just don’t trust you.”

  3. “We just don’t trust you.”

    Baby steps.

    1. “Instead of being for the people, you are for the developers,” said resident Adolfo Sanchez.

      Will the citizens of New York State ever get it?

      1. So why do they elect people that they don’t trust?

        1. It’s a question I’ve often pondered.

          Sometimes I think geneticists could really do the world a huge amount of good, if they’d only isolate – and find a way to excise – the gene that makes people think it’s a good idea to vote for someone just because the name is familiar.

        2. Because, in the typical municipal election, in which 10% or less of the electorate turns out to vote, the vast majority of the voters are municipal workers and their families.

          1. There’s that, plus the fact that NY’ers votes are reflexively partisan even when it’s not in their own interest–and especially when the only choices are Douchebag and Turd Sandwich.

        3. A) The process of actually putting a candidate they trust on the ballot is much more onerous than the process of voting for the person they distrust, but not as much as the other guy.

          B) Even if they trusted the guy when they voted for him, there are often no mechanisms to keep leaders in check between elections. Even when elections are considered, there has to be a credible challenge in the election or the primary for them to care.

          C) There are lots of theys. Society’s villains get a vote too, after all.

  4. That actually makes sense when you think about it.

    Lou
    http://www.being-anonymous.at.tc

  5. So why do they elect people that they don’t trust?

    Because “they” are not a homogeneous collective who all vote in lockstep, jackass. How old were you when your mom finally stopped feeding you paint chips?

    1. But almost everybody says that they don’t trust the government/politicians.

      It’s kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy…sort of like when when we elect Republicans who campaign on the idea that government can’t do anything right by its very nature.

  6. “Instead of being for the people, you are for the developers,” said resident Adolfo Sanchez.

    Of course, libertarians also think that businesses should be able to “donate” unlimited amounts of money to politicians…then they wonder why polticians tend to favor certain interests over the good of the population in general.

    You guys are well-meaning I think but damn if you can’t put two and two together sometimes.

    1. Of course, libertarians also think that businesses should be able to “donate” unlimited amounts of money to politicians…then they wonder why polticians tend to favor certain interests over the good of the population in general.

      No. Libertarians think that government shouldn’t have powers that businesses would want to bribe them to exercise.

      In the current case, remove government’s power to seize private property and give it to businesses.

  7. So why do they elect people that they don’t trust?

    A surprisingly good question, considering the source.

    Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that only thieving douchebags want to run for office.

  8. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that only thieving douchebags want to run for office.

    I don’t think that’s true at all, but it may be true that decent people are dissuaded from running for office because they don’t want to be instantly labeled as such.

    What it comes down to is that when Americans say they don’t trust the government what they mean is that we don’t trust each other.

  9. From a commercial real estate standpoint, it would be interesting to see how much eminent domain contributed to the glut of commercial space put on the market in recent years.

    Much of that glut was simply retail space that was built in newly developed suburbs in the southwest in places like Southwest Riverside County, Phoenix, San Diego, Las Vegas… A falling tide lowers all boats.

    But some of it must have been put on the market as a result of eminent domain… Think of it as something like what happens to the currency when interest rates are “too low for too long” and the Treasury is borrowing like mad…

    There was only a certain amount of land available for commercial real estate, with the people living on it effectively constraining the supply of land available for commercial development. But then the government came in, especially after 2003 or so, and pumped a ton of commercial land onto the market, via eminent domain, that wouldn’t have been on the market otherwise.

    It would be interesting to see how much of an effect that’s had on the retail side of the commercial real estate industry, and how much that’s effected the banks and the CMBS market, which remains practically nonexistent.

    Maybe the effect of eminent domain was minimal, but then maybe it wasn’t.

    1. The effect of eminent domain is pretty minimal in increasing supply. Generally at most it’s used to work around zoning and other environmental restrictions. On net it does little to increase overall supply compared to what would happen without the restrictions, but it does end up in a lot more money going to politicians and favored developers at the expense of those not favored.

      There’s not really a “glut” of commercial space. Prices are still too high, and there’s still less supply of residential housing and commercial buildings in most of those areas.

      However, there are a fair number of unoccupied spots. Exactly what one would expect in a market where supply is artificially limited, and the elasticity of supply is restricted through regulation (and also it takes a long time to navigate through the rules and regulations.) Small changes in demand cause huge swings in prices, and in occupancy rates when prices are slow to fall. It’s possible, nay expected, to have a lot of empty units in the down cycle despite supply being far lower than it would be in a competitive market.

  10. What it comes down to is that when Americans say they don’t trust the government what they mean is that we don’t trust each other.

    No, it pretty much means we don’t trust the government. Or anyone who trusts, works for, contracts with, contacts in any manner, or…

    Okay, yeah. I don’t trust you, either.

  11. They should go ahead with the recall anyway, just to teach the bastards a lesson.

    1. I agree. You shouldn’t let perps go unpunished just because their plans were thwarted.

      -jcr

  12. Any politician who enables an eminent domain grab, should have their own house taken away from them. If it’s such a boon to society, and all.

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