Thursday, June 5, 2014

Eminent Domain Abusers Are Making a Comeback

Dana Berliner, of the Institute for Justice, writes in WSJ, that there is a:
new wave of eminent-domain abuse, as cities and redevelopment agencies try to regain some of the power they lost:

• California actually abolished its redevelopment agencies in 2011. Now cities and powerful development interests have launched a ballot initiative to restore the redevelopment agencies and greatly expand their power to seize properties for private projects.

• In Colorado, Denver suburbs and other cities have been on a spree of condemnations for shopping malls.

• Minnesota, Alabama and Illinois have added powers to state and municipal agencies to condemn for such projects as sports stadiums, industrial developments and business-district economic development.

• Philadelphia is taking an artist's studio for a private development.

• A Louisiana port agency is taking one private commercial port to be replaced by . . . another private commercial port.

• New York never stopped abusing eminent domain—taking property for Columbia University, the Brooklyn Nets and the ever-present "mixed-use development" across the state.

This renewed eagerness to seize private property for the private profit of others comes despite its poor track record.

• Nine years after the Kelo taking in New London, Conn., nothing but weeds occupies the area once populated by more than 70 homes and businesses.

• The 22-acre Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, N.Y., was supposed to include several office towers, thousands of housing units, retail, parks and other amenities to accompany the Barclays Center sports arena. But construction plans change, and the project will now include far less than originally promised.

• A thriving cigar and coffee lounge in San Diego was bulldozed in 2005, supposedly for a hotel. The space remains an empty parking lot nine years later.
It should be noted that George W. Bush acquired most of his wealth when the City of Arlington, Texas  grabbed through eminent domain homes, so that Bush could build a new baseball stadium for the Texas Rangers, a team then-owned by a group where he was the general manager.-RW


  1. The Barclays Gold Fix: Fake Justice For Real Criminals

    One former precious metals manager at a big investment bank says there has long been an understanding among market participants that sellers and buyers of digitals [exotic options derivative contracts] would try to protect their positions if the benchmark price and barrier were close together near expiry.

    That quote is from the Financial Times: Trading To Influence Gold Fix Price Was “Routine”

    As most of you know by now, Barclays was fined a meagre $43 million for the “misconduct” of one options trader by England’s Financial Conduct Authority, the equivalent of FINRA in the U.S. The lack of a far deeper investigation into Barclay’s gold price manipulation activities – and that of the other LBMA Gold Fix member banks – is an outrage. The decision and the process to reach the decision is a complete farce.

  2. The Purchase of Our Republic (guest essay)

    Americans know that something is wrong, deeply wrong. They see signs of the problem everywhere: income inequality, growing concentration and power of mega corporations, political donations/corruption, the absence of jobs with decent salaries, the explosion of the US prison population, healthcare costs, student loan debt, homelessness, etc. etc.

    However, the true causes and benefactors behind these problems are purposely hidden from view. What Americans see is Kabuki Theater of a functioning form of capitalism and democracy, but beyond this veneer our country has devolved into the exact opposite.

    Those who benefit from this crony capitalist state go to extreme lengths to paper over the reality and convince Americans that the system works, the American Dream is still a reality and that American democracy is in fact democratic.

    Below I hope to begin to outline some of the underlying dynamics and trends that have evolved in recent decades and led us so far from what we once were. As fun as it would be, the answer is not some evil conspiracy by the Illuminati, but rather the unfortunate result of three long term and mutually reinforcing components that have been attacking the fundamental roots of the structure of our Republic.

    The first is the increased concentration of corporate and private wealth. Both of which are quickly yelled down in the media as anti-free market and class war hysteria.

    The second is the use of this wealth to capture all three branches of government in order to ensure the continued extraction of capital from the many and to the few.The rich might have climbed the ladder because they earned it, but they have then purchased government to pull up the ladder behind them.

    The consequence of the first two components is a democracy in name only that represents the very few.

  3. See guys, this kind of thing will NEVER go away until you get rid of government altogether. The lobbying shit will NEVER end.