City to take parking lot to make parking lot
Supreme court denies cert in a case challenging rent control as a taking, subject to compensation. Increasingly, you’re losing your property rights and all rights are property rights.
9-0, the supreme court tells the EPA no. Good.
The Private Property Rights Protection act, H.R. 1443, would prevent states from using eminent domain over property to be used for economic development, and establish a private right of action for property owners if a state or local government violates the new rule. It would also limit federal funds to states in which property is taken in violation of the law.
Good. Shortly after Kelo, a few states passed similar laws.
Supreme Court decides not to hear eminent domain case in NY. The land grab will continue.
Reporting from Salt Lake City – Long frustrated by Washington’s control over much of their state, Utah legislators are proposing a novel way to deal with federal land — seize it and develop it.
The Utah House of Representatives last week passed a bill allowing the state to use eminent domain to take land the federal government owns and has long protected from development.
Engelking, 27, aimed to hunt deer Wednesday morning when he noticed a pipeline crew on his land. He hopped on his ATV and told workers they had no right to be on his property because he had received no compensation from Enbridge Energy Partners L.P. for an easement.
Engelking said workers told him he was in an unsafe place and asked him to come to an equipment staging area, where he continued to argue his case.
But just as he was turning to leave, Engelking said an officer from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department arrived on the scene and approached with a Taser drawn.
“He ordered me to ‘get down on the ground now!’ And he said that I was being arrested for trespassing,” Engelking said.
The property all the hubbub was about is still vacant. And empty. People lost their homes for nothing. Bad case law established for nothing. City spent $78M for nothing. More at the WSJ.
Government to condemn land for Flight 93 memorial
The government will begin taking land from seven property owners so that the Flight 93 memorial can be built in time for the 10th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, the National Park Service said.
In a statement obtained by The Associated Press, the park service said it had teamed up with a group representing the victims’ families to work with landowners since before 2005 to acquire the land.
Ben notes that the Omnibus Public Land Management Act was opposed by virtually every property rights group.
By seizing land:
Relatives of those who died aboard United Airlines Flight 93 want the Bush Administration to seize the land needed for a memorial where the plane crashed in western Pennsylvania during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Great way to honor their memories.
WASILLA, Alaska — The biggest project that Sarah Palin undertook as mayor of this small town was an indoor sports complex, where locals played hockey, soccer, and basketball, especially during the long, dark Alaskan winters.
The only catch was that the city began building roads and installing utilities for the project before it had unchallenged title to the land. The misstep led to years of litigation and at least $1.3 million in extra costs for a small municipality with a small budget. What was to be Ms. Palin’s legacy has turned into a financial mess that continues to plague Wasilla.
Ms. Palin marched ahead, making the public case for a sales-tax increase and $14.7 million bond issue to pay for the sports center, which was to feature a running track, basketball courts and a hockey rink. At the time, the city’s annual budget was about $20 million. In a March 2002 referendum, residents approved the mayor’s plan by a 20-vote margin, 306 to 286. The city cleared roads, installed utilities and made preparations to build.
Later that year, Ms. Palin’s final one as mayor, the federal judge reversed his own decision and ruled that the property rightfully belonged to Mr. Lundgren. Wasilla had never signed the proper papers, the court ruled.
Mr. Lundgren said he had offered to give smaller parcels to the city free of charge, but the city held out for a larger tract. The former chief of the city finance department, Ted Leonard, says he doesn’t recall such an offer.
After Ms. Palin left office, the city decided to take 80 acres of Mr. Lundgren’s property through eminent domain. An Alaska court confirmed the city’s right to do so and ordered that an arbitrator determine the appropriate price.
Last year, the arbitrator ordered the city to pay $836,378 for the 80-acre parcel, far more than the $126,000 Wasilla originally thought it would pay for a piece of land 65 acres larger. The arbitrator also determined that the city owed Mr. Lundgren $336,000 in interest. Wasilla’s legal bill since the eminent domain action has come to roughly $250,000 so far, according to Mr. Klinkner, the city attorney.
Never mind the jumped-gun and the legal mess and eminent domain abuse that ensued: championing a nearly $15 million dollar public spending project for a rec center for a town of 9,000? That’s about $1,633 per resident: not exactly what I think of when I think of “small government” and “fiscal responsibility.”
I was ridiculed on this site earlier in the week for claiming that Palin was “just another politician.”
Massive public spending projects, hiring lobbyists to win earmarks for her town, for the bridge to nowhere before she was against it — laugh all you want, but it sure looks like politics as usual to me.
H/T: Obsidian Wings
In the country of California, Mark Vargas installed some solar panels. Trouble is that, in a colossal case of failure to plan, his solar panels were installed in the shade of his neighbors’ redwood trees. But get this:
Richard Treanor and Carolynn Bissett of Sunnyvale, Calif., were criminally prosecuted because redwood trees in their backyard cast shadows over their neighbor’s solar panels.
A judge ordered in December that two of the trees be trimmed back. The couple have had one trimmed, hoping that will satisfy the judge.
Criminally prosecuted and threatened with fines of $1,000/day because their neighbors put solar panels in the shade of their trees. Wow. And, seriously, there’s a law that covers that. Governor Moonbeam signed it back in 1978. Mark Vargas was rewarded by the state despite being stupid enough to install solar panels in the shade. More:
“I still think it is sad that we couldn’t have figured it out between neighbors,” Vargas said. “I offered to pay to remove the trees.”
There’s no figure it out you want X and your neighbors wanted exactly the opposite of X. There’s no figuring that out. Unfortunately for your neighbors, there’s also no shortage of stupid in California law.
Update: I think I’d go find one of those spotted owls and let it live in the trees.
County workers accidentally burned down a woman’s home. However, the county will only reimburse her for $100K despite her property being assessed at $230K. She volunteered to let two county trucks dump brush on her property. They knocked over a power line that caused the fire. And this is beautiful:
Don Stallions, who heads the Risk Management Department for Blount County, said the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act protects the government from being sued out of existence.
Well, after displaying such incompetence, is that necessarily a bad thing?
“The government used to be immune from law suits,” Stallions said. “People need to realize that the government isn’t like a business. When you sue a business, you get money that was generated as profit by an income-producing company. When you sue the government, it’s the people’s money you’re dealing with.
Really? There was a time when we couldn’t petition the government for a redress of grievances? You know, first amendment and all that?
“The Tort Liability Act allows counties in Tennessee to do business. Without it, our counties wouldn’t be able to function.”
Do your employees really screw up so much that that is an issue?
Stallions said Blount County has had numerous property damage claims in the past, but none that he can recall involving a claim on an entire home.
I guess so.
This time, at the federal level. Seems the .gov (particularly, the IRS and DEA) had a lease expire. So, instead of taking their hit and moving on, the .gov went before a judge and, under color of law, forced the owner to extend the lease. This is also halting a major skyscraper renovation project. The judge in this case must be retarded. Or just a disgrace to his office.
Update: Fred Thompson on eminent domain.
Think about your neighborhood; think about the use of eminent domain on your house. How do you explain these things to our children?
In the city (my the city) they need more high school. One option was to build a new school and another was to expand the existing school. The trouble with the latter plan is that city would have to take land and homes from about thirty people in the subdivision next to the school and there is apparently some dispute with a local company who has filed suit against the city. So, that, of course, is what they’re considering:
“At some point in time, we have to have land,” said Casteel, who later said some nearby land has been promised to the school system.
Then take the promised land and not that of homeowners. More:
“I don’t ever see us going to a two-high school system,” he said.
Historic neighborhoods will be destroyed. The environment will be damaged. Trees and homes that have been cherished for nearly 100 years will be taken. You can’t replace historic neighborhoods once they are destroyed.
Think about your neighborhood; think about the use of eminent domain on your house. How do you explain these things to our children? When I explained to my children, who have grown up in this historic neighborhood, about the plans for MHS expansion, do you know what they said? “Mommy, someone needs to call the police!” “They can’t tear down peoples houses.” My other son said, “Mom, lets call the President of the United States!”
The New Jersey State Supreme Court issued a blow Wednesday to the way municipalities use their power of eminent domain to acquire private land.
In an unanimous ruling, the court said that for land to be taken against the owner’s wishes it must be “blighted” and not merely “not fully productive.”
The ruling is a victory for private property rights but could make it more difficult to redevelop some communities.
It’s sort of a victory, I suppose. A real victory would have been because that’s unconstitutional.
“Cities use code words,” explained Supervisor Chris Norby, a longtime foe of eminent domain abuse. “In the 1950s and 1960s, governments used the term ‘urban renewal,’ but critics knew that it was widely called ‘Negro removal.’ These days, we’re looking at forced gentrification,” as cities try to redevelop poorer areas into wealthy areas.
Well, I think it’s more poor removal.
Robert Redford has added a celebrity touch to those urging California voters to reject a sweeping eminent domain initiative.
Put on the November ballot by property rights activists, Proposition 90 would amend the state Constitution to make it harder and more costly for governments to condemn property or pass regulations that affect land values.
Well, they don’t take property from the rich and famous.
In defense of Kelo, the argument used to justify it or to quell the masses usually goes something like this:
The Supreme Court in Kelo simply recognized that the State of Connecticut had made a series of legislative choices, spurred by aggressive lobbying from developers, that allowed local officials to take with just compensation private property and then turn the land over to private economic developers.
While that is true (and shame on them), there is also the issue that the bill of rights applies to state government’s as well. The fifth amendment states:
nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Private development is not public use. The significance of Kelo is that the supreme court had the chance to assert that the fifth amendment means something and it did not.
The Ohio Supreme Court did it. The skinny at the Volokh’s:
We hold that although economic factors may be considered in determining whether private property may be appropriated, the fact that the appropriation would provide an economic benefit to the government and community, standing alone, does not satisfy the public-use requirement of Section 19, Article I of the Ohio Constitution.
Update: Another Volokh (I can’t tell them apart) has a lot more.
Apparently, the biggest threat to positive urban development is the fact that people own property:
Fifty-one out of 73 parcels on the 22-acre site “exhibit one or more blight characteristics,” the study found, including buildings that are at least 50 percent vacant or are built to 60 percent or less of their allowable density. The study also noted that, before Forest City came along, 76 parties controlled the land making up the site. Such fragmented ownership, real estate developers say, is what makes large-scale private urban development difficult without government intervention.
The nerve of them, to own stuff.
Ned Ferguson, who I thought was MIA, notes that the .gov can shut down churches using eminent domain:
Churches are tax exempt, hence virtually any “use” except a church generates greater tax revenue for the government and therefore makes the property subject to seizure. See how easy that is?
He even has a sample.
George Bush (yes, that one) issued an executive order that is anti-eminent domain:
It is the policy of the United States to protect the rights of Americans to their private property, including by limiting the taking of private property by the Federal Government to situations in which the taking is for public use, with just compensation, and for the purpose of benefiting the general public and not merely for the purpose of advancing the economic interest of private parties to be given ownership or use of the property taken.
It has a list of exclusions but it’s a start.
Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you.
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