New Terminology? Eminent Domain AKA Re-Development

Posted: March 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

Townhall: If development is considered to be so bad, why is redevelopment considered to be good, by many of the same people?

Its political appeal is more mundane. By bulldozing low-income neighborhoods and replacing them with upscale malls and condos, local political leaders get more tax money into their coffers, offering more opportunities for them to do things that enhance their chances of being reelected

What is “re-development”? It is just another way of saying “moving-money”. It moves the poor out, and rich in. The poor still exist, they just had to move to another place. The rich existed, they just moved in. What is the point? Taxes. Who benefits? Government.

Redevelopment can be knocking down old run-down buildings and popping up new condos, and or new shops, etc.  Oh and if you have not picked up in this yet, apparently “re-development” is apparently a new way of saying “eminent domain” with out using those words.

The writer of the article is specifically talking about California, due to the financial situation the state is in. It would help if funds were cut for re-developers, but will that happen? Don’t count on it.

I watched “re-development” happen in the Inner-harbor in Baltimore. The Inner-harbor was nothing more than a slum, filled with homeless, drug dealers, and was a nasty & dangerous place to even ponder passing through. A “revitalization” project dumped funds into the Inner-Harbor an over-priced shopping center. The hype and focus was the (filthy) harbor that the buildings surrounded. Within a few years after it was built up, it was already declining. The problem how far do you tear down? The fringe of the Inner-Harbor, which was not more than a few blocks outside of the ritzy newly built area, was still filth, crime, drugs, and homeless. You still had to wade through panhandlers if you stepped outside of the pristine new area. I have not been back to the Inner Harbor in a long time, I do not imagine it has improved since I was last there, and the last impression I had, was not a positive one.

The Inner-Harbor project had a lot of controversy with it, because it was knocking down tons of low-income housing. Yet it has been heralded as such an important project that the same idea has been repeated.

I understand it on one level.. you have a marketable centerpiece, in this case it was the harbor, so they wanted to milk that feature. But again how far do you extend such a project, how much area do you include, how many people do you relocate? And where can/do you relocate them to? Were they employed? If they were, will they end up being unemployed, since they relied on public transportation? There are risks that underline these types of projects. I understand on financial levels, but if you are just moving the money, not improving the economy.. someone surely is being negatively affected.

Ok lets review what  “eminent domain” is, which too often means the land-grab affects private property for (supposed) public gain.

Here is an interesting scenario on the DailyReporter (story from last year):

…landowner challenging a plan to build an entrance ramp on Highway 43 in Sheboygan County for Whistling Straits Golf Course “It’s an interesting case because the ramp would only be open one week a year and it creates the question of whether the project is public or private use,”

PBS has an interesting history on Eminent Domain, which even mentions the Inner Harbor project:

Early uses of eminent domain were primarily for public works — large-scale projects such as the utilities of the Tennessee Valley Authority or the grand highway schemes of the years after World War II. In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled in Berman v Parker that private projects meet the definition if they have a “public purpose”. Under this rationale, the court approved a slum-clearance plan of the government of Washington, DC. In the latter half of the 20th century the process was used to clear “blighted” areas of American cities for redevelopment — with projects such as the Baltimore waterfront standing as successful eminent domain stories.

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