Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Eminent Domain: Wal-mart Giveaway

Eminent Domain Ruling Hits Home - The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register

Every time I hear about this Supreme Court ruling, I think about the dozens of fat-cat developers, having bought and paid for the members of their local zoning commissions and city councilmen, eyeing some neighborhood for a new Wal-mart and taking property away from working-class folks.

The fact that the moderate (meaning not hard right, there aren't any true liberals anymore) justices on the court banded together to form the majority makes it even more painful.

The decision says that economic benefit is a genuine "public use," but we all know how economic benefit is calculated in Bush's ownership society. It means if the wealthy get a government kickback in tax refunds, or more burden is somehow shifted onto the poor and middle-class, there is an economic benefit.

The Phoenix New Times has been running an incredibly damning series on our own Civic Center; how Phoenix will be paying millions to expand the failing facility and buy its own goddamned hotel as well. This is all in the name of "economic benefit," and there isn't a shred of evidence that this will make a dime for Phoenix... historical studies suggest losses in perpetuity.

Now, do you think a city (once named "Best Run" in the US) capable of commissioning reports so corrput and bereft of viable economic theory to support spending millions on a downtown boondoggle would have even a hesitation in taking your property to secure a sweetheart deal with Wal-mart?

I'm thinking your city is just as likely to have this problem.

"Herron said that General Growth Properties Inc., a development enterprise started by David Glimcher of Dublin, Ohio, acquired the Lowe's property a year ago, purchasing the land from the private owners independent of city involvement. THF, the developer that was originally looking at the Wood/Jacob street area for a potential Wal-Mart, did not end up with the contract.


Though neither the city nor GGP has plans to develop the property, the area is officially a 'blighted' community, making it eligible at any time for acquisition by a local government agency - especially after last week's Supreme Court decision."

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