More Fun With Urban Renewal, Republican-Style


The building hasn't been redeveloped. Just the vacant lot.

Recently I noted how California Republicans have been opposing the one undoubtedly good idea that has come from Gov. Jerry Brown: abolishing the state's redevelopment agencies (RDAs). 

Opposition to RDAs is sort of the bare minimum of fiscal conservatism. These organizations routinely violate property rights, substitute cronyism for market decisions, distort local economies, and dispense public largesse on a variety of thugs—usually but not always thugs of the left. They are a disaster in free-market terms, and they violate any legitimately progressive concern for poor people and neighborhoods. There are also old-fashioned law and order reasons to oppose RDAs. 

Yet only one Republican is actually voting to end these agencies. In an article (that could use some proofreading) from today's Flash Report, Orange County Assemblyman Chris Norby issues a challenge to his fellow Republicans: 

Imagine a new government program that:

  • Raises tax revenues without public approval
  • Issues bonded debt without voter approval
  • Uses eminent domain for private purposes
  • Builds state-subsidized housing projects
  • Distorts the free market by subsidizing some businesses at the expense of others
  • Gives bureaucrats vast new land use powers.

Would Republicans support such a program? I would hope not.

Yet, redevelopment agencies have been doing all these things for five decades. It would take just two Republican Assembly Members to help end these abuses, and so far I've been the only vote from our party to do so.

I was on the phone with Norby a little while ago. Note that Republicans are not voting against Brown's RDA-elimination plan because it's part of some broader piece of legislation. SB77 is a stand-alone bill that would send a clear pro-market message, free up billions of dollars in state funds, and allow actual free economics to prevail in cities around the state.

Chris Norby feels your pain.

Yet Republicans are held back in part by the desire to oppose Jerry Brown, in part by paranoia that the Democrats are trying to trick them, in part by suspicion of the teacher unions (who support SB77 because RDAs take funds away from other services), and in part because plenty of Republicans still believe providing corporate welfare and using eminent domain to help connected developers qualify as being "pro-business." 

Norby notes that as RDAs come under threat (Brown still has the legislative Democrats in support of his plan) and in some cases see their eminent domain powers expire, they are trying harder to get blight findings so they can continue big projects. But courts are becoming more skeptical of blight claims, and recently threw them out in Glendora, Mammoth Lakes and Temecula. 

"So the institution that was supposed to improve the blight has to prove its own failure to justify keeping itself alive," Norby said in our interview. "It's like a psychiatrist who tells you after you've been seeing him for five years that you have to keep seeing him because you're not cured." 

NEXT: The New American Landscape: Just Add Zombies

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  1. What a sick, fucked-up political culture. CA RIP.

    1. Well stated. Jeebus…

  2. Yet Republicans are held back …. in part by paranoia that the Democrats are trying to trick them,….

    One does have to admit that it is rather easy to trick Republicans, (however wicked it may be to mock the afflicted), and rather fun to boot.

    But this is being stubborn for being stubborn’s sake.

  3. Chris Norby looks like he’s having an opium baby.

    1. That’s him “feeling our pain”.

      1. That’s him “feelinginflicting our pain”.


        1. WTF? He’s the good guy.

    2. Why is everyone insulting the one guy who actually gets it? Don’t the morons who are voting against ending the RDAs deserve the hate?

      1. I read the alt-text first, then insult, then maybe I’ll glance at the article.

        1. And that is why you fail.

          1. Insults from the likes of you are a badge of honor.

            1. I’ve found better badges of honor in a cereal box.

              1. I just talked about honor badges in a different thread and hadn’t even read this. That’s a little strange. What’s in the air? So much honor and badges to go around, I suppose.

                1. It’s better than horny badgers.

                  1. I don’t know. If I liked the girl, the fact that she went to the University of Wisconsin wouldn’t stop me.

                    1. It should.

                  2. I don’t need no stinkin’ badgers!

        2. As long as you have a process…

          1. I fully endorse the “capL Method” of blogreading.

            Now, to read a bit of the article and figure out what the argument is about.

            1. I just wanted someone to ask me what an opium baby was. But, I guess if anyone would know what that is, it would be a group of loserdopians.

  4. any legitimately progressive concern


  5. Huh?

    Like “any monster present in Loch Ness.”

    1. I tought I taw a puddy tat!

  6. “Blight” = Anyplace that can’t afford to buy insider connected politician’s, judges and lawyer’s

    1. +1

      “If they can’t afford to donate to our campaigns, how can they afford to maintain their property?”

      1. How can they afford their healthcare or to feed their children even. Shit, these non-contributors should be in jail!

  7. Republicans still believe providing corporate welfare and using eminent domain to help connected developers qualify as being “pro-business.”


    It’s even worse in NJ. In my town, they designated two, profitable businesses as “blighted”, to make way for a senior housing complex. Of course, the woman in charge of the Economic Development Office is married to the owner of GE Mechanical, an HVAC/plumbing contractor. NJ invented the word “cronyism”.

    1. Hey, if’n you can’t help your friends, who can you help?

  8. That actualyl makes a lot of sense dude.

    1. With a name like JingJoo, it would make a lot of sense.

      Fucking anon-bot is a Asio-centric zionist asshole who hates black people.

      1. …is a Asio-centric zionist asshole who hates black people.

        I can actually imagine MNG saying this in an earnest way.

  9. “Without the government, these things would never have happened.”

  10. Try reconciling this story with your “republicans stand for liberty and the free market” meme, Mr. Smith.

    1. Republicans stand less against liberty and the free market.

      1. slightly.

      2. In this particular case, looks like the Dems are supporting the free market and liberty.

      3. Our “Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos” moment.

      4. The lesser of two evils is still fucking evil.

      5. As long as it doesn’t get in the way of election/re-election, or engaging in a little rent-seeking.

        Slightly less untrustworthy than the Dumbocrats.

  11. Yet Republicans are held back in part by the desire to oppose Jerry Brown, in part by paranoia that the Democrats are trying to trick them, in part by suspicion of the teacher unions (who support SB77 because RDAs take funds away from other services), and in part because plenty of Republicans still believe providing corporate welfare and using eminent domain to help connected developers qualify as being “pro-business.”

    Eh, it’s a lot simpler and more depressing than this. Everyone in Sacramento loves the RDAs because they love graft: RDAs provide an easy way for representatives to funnel money to cronies in their districts, and because they’re so poorly understood by the public there’s no chance of being held accountable for it. From the rep’s perspective, it’s a win-win.

  12. Republicans stand less against liberty and the free market.

    And Democrats don’t care what you do in your bedroom.

    Unless it involves tobacco or incandescent light bulbs.

    1. Republicans may care what you do in your bedroom but there’s little they can do about it.

      1. When I start filling out a sexual 1040 form, I’ll be more concerned with puckerbutt pachyderms.

        1. “My SSN? Honey, you gave me two blowjobs and we stopped seeing each other. Do you really need to give me a fucking 1099-BEEJ for that?”

          1. “Yes, or else I lose my health insurance.”

        2. “Well it certainly would make chartered accountancy a more interesting job.”

          1. California would never tax thingy. That would just reinforce the patriarchy…

  13. because they’re so poorly understood by the public

    But they sound like a good idea, and nothing else matters. You know, the way a grant of FREEEEEEEEEE! government money sounds like a good idea.

    1. Exactly. They’re all about “development”. What kind of an evil bastard would oppose that, right?

  14. It’s like I’m taking crazy-pills.

    1. Just go with mescaline, the trip doesn’t last as long.

      1. I need to contact the AMA for proper endorsement, but that’s sound medical advice if I’ve ever heard it.


    Apparently some nude pic that Elizebeth Taylor gave Michael Todd has now at her death been released. I think it puts lie to any idea that she was never hot. And to think, she had already had two kids when that shot was taken.

    1. She looks like a fucking mouse. Do you have fantasies about Minnie Mouse, dude?


      1. You are fucking incorigible. What, do you only like amazons? There is nothing wrong with small brunettes.

        1. Sure. Small brunettes like Allison Brie. Why do you make retarded assumptions about “amazons” because I don’t like mousy women?

          1. She is not mousy. And that chick you link to has a nice body but she is not that pretty. Her mouth is too big and her nose doesnt’ fit her face. She is at best cute.

            1. …and John has just proven that he has no taste. I already knew that, but thank you for proving it so conclusively.

              1. You have no taste if that is the best you can come up with. Also, I bet that chick has had more platic surgury than Micheal Jackson.

                1. Wow, you are truly full retard. Plastic surgery? That’s your response? From the guy who likes Elizabeth Fucking Taylor? Do you have no grasp of irony, or are you just an idiot?

                  1. We are talking about Taylor in the 50s not later when she became a parody of herself. She was hot in the 50s. I never claimed she was afterwards.

                    And you are full retard on this. Men threw themselves off of buildings for her in the 50s and early 60s. They dumped their wives and families for a few months of banging her.

                    1. You’re so mired in the “the 50’s were AWESOME” shit that it’s pathetic. Do you even look at why you fetishize that shit so much? Of course not. That would require living in the present, which you can’t do.

                    2. C’mon guys, can’t we all just get along? Maybe you can agree on her.

                      Uh… “about” her.

                    3. When have I ever said the 50s were awesome? I just said she was hot in the 50s.

                    4. Gotta agree with John on this one, Liz Taylor was smoking in her day.

                    5. I usually think you both are way too picky, but this time I have to mostly side with Epi.

                      The nude photo shows she’s decent, but I wouldn’t call that a hot one. She’s got a pretty face, but something looks off with her body and breasts. Maybe it’s just the angle.

                      And Allison Brie is fucking gorgeous, although that may be helped by playing one of the innocent girls who doesn’t know they’re attractive.

                    6. She looks like Crystal Bernard dude. Not that that is a bad thing. Crystal was pretty cute back in the day. But that was what she was, cute.

                    7. I can’t believe we just had a 12 (and counting) comment bitch-fest about the relative hotness of vintage Liz vis-?-vis Allison Brie. . . But I love it! One of the um, reasons for coming here.

                      Sadly I’m not in a place where I can check out the linked pictures so I will have to withhold judgment of my own. However,

                      “There is nothing wrong with small brunettes.”

                      I may be an atheist but that doesn’t stop me from saying a hearty amen to that! Thank God for small brunettes.

                    8. Sorry, the saddest example of the havoc that time doth wreak has to be Anne Ramsey.

                    9. WTF? Oh my God. I can’t believe that is the same woman. That is really disturbing. Much more disturbing than Taylor’s weight gain and decision to wear a mullet the last 30 years of her life.

                    10. Tulpa is fucking with you, John. The first picture is Kate Mulgrew (Captain Janeway from STV), even though it says differently. The old woman is the psychotic mother from Goonies.

                    11. Apparently I was fucking with myself… can we not trust Google image searches anymore?

                    12. I don’t believe you. You’re clearly a Janeway fanboy; how could you not recognize her?

                    13. Nah, I grew out of my thing for older female bridge officers right after the Beverly crush faded.

                    14. the Beverly crush [link]

                      Almost a scissors.

                    15. Looks like Madcow not Janeway.

      2. The Donald/Daisy porn beats the Mickey/Minnie smut hands down. Going through life without pants makes one less inhibited, I presume.

        1. In Ball Four, Jim Bouton mentioned a player who could imitate Donald Duck. He said the guy’s best routine was Donald achieving orgasm.

          1. That is a really funny scene. You read that book and you realize that even for jocks, baseball players are fucking children.

            And Epi just got beat up and had his lunch money stolen by a nice jewish girl in grade school and has never gotten over it.

            1. Episiarch doesn’t like a woman who looks like the rich man’s Stockard Channing.

        2. +1, that was hilarious

      3. This post was equal parts funny and disturbing.

    2. A bit disappointing because her mams always looked bigger and finer when they were only peeking out. Just proves the old adage once again that leaving something to the imagination is way sexier than the full monty.

      1. I like the smaller boobs. i also like the small round nipples. The torpedo bras of the past never did anything for me either. I like the fact that her hips are so slim. Great legs and hips.

        1. Agreed. Aesthetics and proportion wins over size every time.

        2. If I wanted to touch small boobs I’d date myself.

        3. no boobs
          slim hips
          … so you like boys? šŸ˜›

          1. Ew seriously. I can understand the small boobs thing but slim hips makes even a small waist look too big.

            1. Agreed. Bigger is definitely not always better, but the no chest/hips fetish always has a subtle “I jerk off at playgrounds” undertone to it.
              Most guys, I imagine, would much rather have a woman who actually looks like a woman.

              1. Of course, those of us in Generation Porn may have a different standard of what constitutes “small boobs” (and unfortunately for our self-esteem, small other things as well)

  16. While I am not a fan of term limits for politicians- seeing as how they restrict the ability of the people to actually choose their rep- this might make a good argument for one. Maybe if they were less worried about being re-elected they would do the right thing instead of the political thing… but probably not.

    1. Personally, I think “restricting the ability of people to choose their rep” is far less important than restricting the ability of rep to destroy our freedom. I really believe the constant campaigns for re-election drive a lot of crappy behaviors.

      1. “My name’s Otto, and I love to get blotto!”

        I haven’t seen anyone post that, and I had to get it out of my system.

        1. Springfield Retirement Castle Bus:

          “Slow down, you maniac!”
          “Turn up the heat! It’s freezing on this bus!”

          “Hey, mellow out old people, or I’ll jam this bus off a cliff!”

          1. “Hey, mellow out old people, or I’ll jam this bus off a cliff!”

            “You’d probably screw that up too.”

  17. Thanks Tim for helping to give Norby a platform.

  18. I don’t think Elizabeth Taylor or Alison Brie compare to this hot piece of ass.

  19. seeing as how they restrict the ability of the people to actually choose their rep

    Since I think we would get vastly improved governance by randomly selecting names from the phone book (or property tax records- I’m not that picky), I don’t see preserving the ability of Teh Voting Public to saddle the rest of us with their preferred brand of idiocy as being particularly desirable.

    1. I think that is probably correct. We radomly choose jurors and that system has worked well. Most people would rise to the occasion and try to do the right thing. Yeah, you would get some crooks and some crazies. But you have that anyway.

      I think that a system where you had an elected higher chamber and a radomly selected larger lower chamber would be a perfectly acceptable form of Constitutional Republic. And considering the debased nature of our current political class, probably an improvement over what we have much to the sadness of our founders.

  20. I don’t think Elizabeth Taylor or Alison Brie compare to this hot piece of ass.

    Nice try, heller.

    There’s no way in Hell I’m clicking that link.

    1. It is the wikileaks dude getting down in a disco. It is pretty surreal. But not disturbing

      1. John, you’re weakening your case for Liz with this. There is simply no way seeing the wikileaks dude getting down in a disco is not disturbing, surreal or not. The concept is just disturbing in principle.

    2. and it explains helle

      1. Oops I made poopy again!

  21. Yeah, you would get some crooks and some crazies.

    I’m one hundred per cent certain the size and influence of that group would be dramatically reduced.

    1. Our current system gives us Peter King, Chuck Schumer, Al Frankin, and Heny, the evil mole man from Planet X, Waxman. Could a system of radom selection do any worse?

      1. Whenever I get to thinking that we need to empower the ordinary person, I watch the audience for an episode of “WWE SmackDown!” to get my senses back. No way I want those people empowered.

        1. Yeah, that’s scary enough. But what’s even worse to me is just reading the comments section to almost any mainstream daily paper. It’s just an atrocious cesspool stupidity and partisan hackery from both sides.

          And these are people who actually take the time to read a paper. Presumably these are the ones most likely to vote and to see themselves as educated, civic-minded, concerned citizens and such. But when you read what (and the way) they write, well let’s be honest, there’s no way any of us would trust them with taking care of our dogs or tending our gardens, much less making important decisions in our lives. Yet somehow people want to attribute some kind of nobleness to the whole ugly process of collectivisng this stupidity through voting.

          Majoritarianism might be the lesser of two (or several) evils, but as someone above noted, the lesser of two evils is still evil. No need to indulge it any more than absolutely necessary. Attempting to thwart its excesses, whether through term limits or otherwise, is a virtue not a vice.

          1. Hell, just read people’s posts on Facebook and you get overwhelmed by stupidity. Some stupid jerkoff from high school who friend requested me recently (I literally cannot even remember who she is) posted some bullshit about her being state employee and that they actually–wait for it–work, like, super hard for their insane pay and benefits!

            I normally just hide the schmucks who friend me, but she got instantly unfriended. I was actually going to rip into her in the comments under her post, but then I figured that wouldn’t really be productive.

            1. email then

              1. You’re so fucking stupid, rectal. Are you some kind of mutant that feeds off your own stupidity? That would explain a lot.

                1. Poor Epi, mutants are after him. They probably won’t suck your dick either

                2. Wow. You’re even nicer than me. If I don’t really remember someone, or we didn’t get along that well, I just don’t accept the friend request. I think it’s weird and unnecessarily obligatory. Hey, we were in the same place fifteen years ago!

                  That would have been funny if you unfriended her and commented on it, though.

            2. Crap like that is why I go by my middle name now. Though I did get an email from from my high school graduating class whore, asking for help tracking down missing class members for our 10 year reunion. The “missing persons list” consisted purely of me and my friends of that time, heh.

              1. Crap like that is why I don’t have a Facebook account. My brother got a message from a real asshole I used to know asking for my phone number. Fortunately, my brother isn’t an idiot and asked me before sending it.

                For the most part, I’m talking to the people from my past who I still want to talk to.

                1. Crap like that is why I go by my middle name now

                  Your middle name is actually “Douchebag”? That’s amazing, Commodore Decker.

                  For the most part, I’m talking to the people from my past who I still want to talk to

                  I don’t want to talk to any of these people, and I generally have no fucking clue who they are, either. Nothing is as boring as seeing their posts about their ugly fat kids and their dumbass opinions. That’s why they go straight to “hide”.

          2. i always liked buckley’s comment about rather being governed by names taken out of the phone book than by the current politicians.

        2. If the people WWE took over they might do what? Put us trillions of dollars in debt, create huge government programs that are nothing but ponzi schemes, pass laws that do nothing but enrich themselves and their buddies at the country’s expense and refuse to deal with the country’s problems (most of which they created) in any serious adult way?

          Gee you are right. We wouldn’t want any of that to happen would we?

    2. Our representative pool would be greatly improved by using a set of darts and a stack of phonebooks.

      The president would be decided by the electoral college. And trial by combat.

  22. No way I want those people empowered.

    Because your average citizen can’t possibly be as honest and upstanding as Charlie Rangel, right?

    Get a grip.

    1. If they had Charlie Rangel’s power? I’m not so sure.

      And of course, Rangel isn’t the average Congressperson.

      1. No, he’s a “leader”.

  23. Presumably these are the ones most likely to vote and to see themselves as educated, civic-minded, concerned citizens and such.

    Hence the need to eliminate them from the process.

  24. I think I mis-read your comment first time around, dfd.

    The energized concern troll army which tramps faithfully to the polls is exactly who I don’t want telling me what to do.

    1. P Brooks, yes, maybe it wasn’t clear but the gist of what I’m saying should agree with your point above:

      “I don’t see preserving the ability of Teh Voting Public to saddle the rest of us with their preferred brand of idiocy as being particularly desirable.”

      This, in a nutshell, represents my view as well.

  25. Speaking of corrupt government, has anyone witnessed the new Showtime series “The Borgias” yet?

    1. Is it any good?

      1. I was hooked after the first few minutes. Who wouldn’t want their dad to be the pope?
        Think of the perks.

    2. I forget, is that the Borgias series that’s from Tom Fontana or the other one that was in production recently?

      1. This is the Neil Jordan production starring Jeremy Irons and Colm Feore.

  26. Apparently Charlie Sheen is getting booed relentlessly in Detroit tonight. Still winning?


  27. F-ing republicans…no better than any democrat you care to name with very rare exceptions.

  28. OK, this makes a lot of sense when you think about it.

  29. Dongo Monog

    Are you serious?

  30. Clarence Thomas and Scalia are Pro-Government Assholes

    Lithiwick writes some stupid stuff but this one is not bad. Thomas’ regular, slavish devotion to qualified immunity for government officials is alone enough to expose the “Thomas is the most Libertarian justice on the SCOTUS” meme as b.s.

    1. Scalia is right about a lot of things. But at heart he is an elitist ass clown who bends over backwards to ensure that no other elites are ever held responsible for anything. Thomas I really can’t explain. He of all people should know better.

    2. MNG, shouldn’t you be propagating the “Thomas and Scalia are Kochsuckers” meme instead of destroying it?

    3. But who is his competition?

      1. Seriously. Thomas is the most libertarian of all Supreme Court justices. It’s a tallest midget contest, though.

    4. Actually, this is a case of Thomas’ slavish devotion to precedent that does not blatantly violate the Constitution. Something that you guys on the left generally like, at least when the precedent favors your position.

  31. By the way, this morning the head blathering clown on Fox was busily propagating the lie that failing to raise the debt ceiling will put us in “default”.

    Fucking idiots- how do they get work?

    1. I suspect they got their current jobs precisely because they tell the lies the customer wants to hear.

  32. I’ve lost my trust in Reason bloggers to tell me the truth on issues like this one. I’ve had the experience before of a movement person’s hijacking an issue for relatively parochial reasons and giving a distorted impression of it, causing activists to take the wrong position on a bill; it took a good deal of research on my part to find that out. Whether that’s going on here I don’t know, but the impression given by the commenters on this issue at the Volokh Consipiracy has been at least more balanced and nuanced. Not to say that the judgment of the Republicans in the legislature on this issue is correct or sure to be less parochial, but now I’ve got to look at Reason as an “interested” party as well, unfortunately.

    And damn it, anyone I can think of as likely to be knowledgeable and whose judgment I mostly trust — John Fund came to my mind — I still can’t completely trust on this issue for the same damn reason! All these people have reasons to posture from time to time.

    It’s not just Team Red and Team Blue, it’s Team Outsiders You Can [snicker] Trust.

    1. Specifics?

    2. Maybe you should make up your own mind instead of kavetching about trust.

      1. I just want the facts. Is this a vote which would have the effect stated by Cavanaugh and no other? Does the interaction of the laws of Calif. and the rules of the legislature make the result as simple as that stated? Or is this assemblyman Norby trying to put one over on him? Or he on us?

  33. I’ve lost my trust in Reason bloggers to tell me the truth on issues like this one.

    That’s taking the long way around, but:


    1. Yeah, I’m smart enough to have never put my trust in your bastards in the first place.

    2. Are you playing by the rules that get libertarian women drunk twice as fast?

      1. No Virginia, Santa exist but libertarian women don’t

  34. So, is anyone else looking forward to two more days of insufferable Butler-Hoosiers comparisons.

    1. Bullshit comparison. Butler stopped being a mid-major a long time ago.

  35. good work..thanks for your share…

  36. I like what you have said,it is really helpful to me,thanks!

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