Sunday, July 31, 2005

Gimme That House, Part II

A little more than a month ago the U.S. Supreme Court said, in Kelo v. City of New London, Conn., that goverments could take property from one person and give it to another in the name of "public intererst," even if that public interest was nothing more than building something like a shopping mall, or office buildings. The ruling was noted in this post.

There were more than a few lawyers trying to calm the waters, those who said there was no cause for alarm.
I hope those lawyers are paying attention to this story in the New York Times by Timothy Egan.

... The ruling has emboldened some cities to take property for development plans on private land. Here in Santa Cruz (Calilfornia), for example, city officials started legal action this month to seize a parcel of family-owned land that holds a restaurant with a high Zagat rating, two other businesses and a conspicuous hole in the ground and force a sale to a developer who plans to build 54 condominiums.

California's Legislature is expected to ban the practice. Conservative Sen. Tom McClintock, a Republican who lives in Simi Valley, CA, is up in arms about it:
"This decision opens a new era when the rich and powerful can use government to seize the property of ordinary citizens for private gain," said State Senator Tom McClintock, a Republican who proposed the amendment.

This issue is not going to go away anytime soon.