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Florida eminent domain may transfer 6,000 poor people's homes to the rich.

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Florida eminent domain may transfer 6,000 poor people's homes to the rich.

Old 12-15-05, 08:17 PM
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Florida eminent domain may transfer 6,000 poor people's homes to the rich.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...yndication=rss

Land-use battle rages in Florida

By John-Thor Dahlburg

Los Angeles Times

December 7, 2005

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — It's across the inlet from Palm Beach, <b>but this town — mostly black, blue-collar</b> and with a large industrial and warehouse district — could be a continent away from the Fortune 500 and Rolls-Royce set.

But Riviera Beach's fortunes may soon change.

<b>In what has been called the largest eminent-domain case in the nation, the mayor and other elected leaders want to move about 6,000 residents, tear down their homes and use the emptied 400-acre site to build a waterfront yachting and residential complex for the well-to-do.</b>

The goal, Mayor Michael Brown said during a public meeting in September, is to "forever change the landscape" in this municipality of about 32,500. The $1 billion plan, local leaders have said, should generate jobs and haul Riviera Beach's economy out of the doldrums.

Opponents, however, call the plan a government-sanctioned land grab that benefits private developers and the wealthy.

"What they mean is that the view I have is too good for me, and should go to some millionaire," said Martha Babson, 60, a house painter who lives near the Intracoastal Waterway.

"This is a reverse Robin Hood," said state Rep. Ronald Greenstein, meaning the poor in Riviera Beach would be robbed to benefit the rich. Greenstein, a Coconut Creek Democrat, serves on a state legislative committee making recommendations on how to strengthen safeguards on private property.

With many Americans sensitized to eminent-domain cases after a much-discussed ruling by the Supreme Court in June, property-rights organizations have been pointing to redevelopment plans in this Palm Beach County town as proof that laws must be changed to protect homeowners and businesses from the schemes of politicians.

"You have people going in, essentially playing God, and saying something better than these people's homes should be built on this property," said Carol Saviak, executive director of the Coalition for Property Rights, based in Orlando. "That's inherently wrong."

<b>"Unfortunately, taking poorer folks' homes and turning them into higher-end development projects is all too routine in Florida and throughout the country," said Scott Bullock, a senior attorney for the Institute for Justice, based in Washington, D.C. "What distinguishes Riviera Beach is the sheer scope of the project, and the number of people it displaces."</b>

In June, a divided U.S. Supreme Court approved a plan by New London, Conn., to force some homeowners to sell their properties for a private development that was supposed to generate more jobs and tax revenue. That ruling has led to moves in Congress and at least 35 states, including Florida, to restrict the use of eminent-domain seizures of private property.

In Florida, the law allows local officials to take private land for redevelopment if they deem it "blighted." In May 2001, a study conducted for the city found that "slum and blighted conditions" existed in about a third of Riviera Beach, and that redevelopment was necessary "in the interest of public health, safety, morals and welfare."

A skeptical Babson, who lives in a single-story, concrete-block home painted aqua that she shares with parrots and a dog, did her own survey. For three months, she walked the streets of Riviera Beach photographing houses classified as "dilapidated" or "deteriorated" by specialists hired by the city.

The official study, she said, was riddled with errors and misclassifications. Lots inventoried as "vacant" (one of 14 criteria that allow Florida cities or counties to declare a neighborhood blighted) actually had homes on them built in 1997, she said. One house deemed "dilapidated," she found, was two years old.

Mayor Brown and Floyd Johnson, executive director of the Riviera Beach Community Redevelopment Agency, did not respond to repeated requests for an interview.

The redevelopment agency's Web site says the plan will "create a city respected for its community pride and purpose and reshape it into a most desirable urban (place) to live, work, shop, and relax for its residents, business and visitors."

In past media interviews, Brown has said that his city was in dire need of jobs, and that if officials weren't allowed to resort to eminent domain to spur growth, Riviera Beach could perish.

The redevelopment project designed to bootstrap Riviera Beach to prosperity is supposed to take 15 years. It involves moving U.S. Highway 1 and digging an artificial lagoon to serve as a yacht basin.

In September, the City Council chose a joint venture between a New Jersey-based yacht company and a builder of condominiums in Australia to serve as master developer. The developer, Viking Inlet Harbor Properties, and the city now must agree on a contract.

Residents affected by the plan are supposed to be eligible for new homes elsewhere in Riviera Beach and compensation for business damages. But the uncertainties have been maddening for some.

For 25 years, Bill Mars has sold and serviced luxury sportfishing boats in Riviera Beach. He hasn't been told yet, he said, whether a place in the redevelopment zone has been kept for him.

Under the plan, his sales and service center is supposed to make way for an aquarium.

"If you look at our business, we're one of the shining stars of Riviera Beach," Mars said. "Yet no one has come to us to say, 'We're going to take care of you and relocate you.' " That despite the plan's incorporation of a "working waterfront," including boat sales and repair.

Babson said she was counting on the Florida Legislature, as well as public interest kindled by the recent Supreme Court case, to halt the developers.

"We're definitely in Tiananmen Square: one little guy in front of all of those tanks," Babson said. "We've slowed them down, but we haven't stopped them."

-----

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelo_v._New_London

Kelo v. New London

Holding - The governmental taking of property from one private owner to give to another in furtherance of economic development constitutes a permissible "public use" under the Fifth Amendment.

Majority by: Stevens, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer

Dissent: O'Connor, Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas

<b>Justice O'Connor suggested that the use of this power in a reverse Robin Hood fashion—take from the poor, give to the rich—would become the norm, not the exception: "Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms."</b>
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Old 12-15-05, 08:25 PM
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how much are they going to pay them for the land?
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Old 12-15-05, 08:44 PM
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The Fifth Amendment reads:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
I'm not sure what the originalist explanation of "just compensation" would be. The argument would seem to be that economic development is "public use." I don't think I buy that argument since they are building private business and residences on this land.

So, I'll have to go with the Dissent on this one.
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Old 12-15-05, 09:13 PM
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<i>Surely</i> the city will give them the equivalent of what their waterfront property is worth.

Wait a minute. They proposed $1,000,000,000 for this plan, and they're moving 6000 people out? That's $167,000 per home without even factoring in building costs. <i>Surely</i> that's a mistake.
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Old 12-15-05, 09:26 PM
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Whatever happened to that proposal to use eminent domain to bulldoze Souter's house?
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Old 12-15-05, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Groucho
Whatever happened to that proposal to use eminent domain to bulldoze Souter's house?
http://www.freestarmedia.com/

Logan to appear on Hannity & Colmes Thursday 12/15


LOGAN DARROW CLEMENTS, leader of the Lost Liberty Hotel project, will appear on the Hannity & Colmes show to discuss the January Rally and other developments in the project.

Watch the show on the FoxNews channel Thursday, December 15th at 6 pm PST / 9 pm EST. It is rebroadcast at 11pm PST / 2 am EST.

January Rally—Supporters Across America called to Action

Date & Details Announced 12/15 on Hannity & Colmes

THE FIRST BATTLE is fast approaching in our campaign to end eminent domain abuse by having those who advocate it experience it themselves. We are planning a rally in Weare, New Hampshire in the first half of January. Specific details are being decided and will be provided to all who express interest. As of December 5th, over eighty people from as far west as Washington State and far south as Texas have indicated a desire to fly to Weare for the rally.

The purpose of the rally is to help our supporters in Weare gather signatures for their ballot initiative. This initiative asks the Town of Weare to use eminent domain to seize the land of Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter for the purpose of economic development through the construction of an Inn. It must be filed by the end of January and will be voted on in March 2006.

Although it only takes 25 signatures to put this initiative on the ballot we would like to collect as many as possible. Souter has reportedly laughed at us and thinks we aren't serious. Let's show him otherwise. Let's try to get more than 50% of Weare's 5,552 registered voters to sign it!

If 100 people from across America show up and each one collects 30 signatures over a January weekend we will send a message to all politicians—stop stealing our property or YOU will be on the receiving end of the eminent domain steamroller.

Make a vacation of it. New Hampshire offers great options for the whole family: skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, throwing snowballs at rotten politicians.

Please post this notice to blogs and websites and e-mail it to your friends. E-mail us if you might like to attend. More details will be provided when they are ready.
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Old 12-15-05, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by al_bundy
how much are they going to pay them for the land?
I don't know.
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Old 12-15-05, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by CRM114
The Fifth Amendment reads:



I'm not sure what the originalist explanation of "just compensation" would be. The argument would seem to be that economic development is "public use." I don't think I buy that argument since they are building private business and residences on this land.

So, I'll have to go with the Dissent on this one.
additionally is "just compensation" the $50,000 the house is worth as a house, or the $5,000,000 that plot of land becomes worth once it contains part of a mall

I hate ED
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Old 12-15-05, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by al_bundy
how much are they going to pay them for the land?
Peanuts?
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Old 12-15-05, 10:03 PM
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Wow.

I wonder who voted with the liberals on this poll - I didn't think anybody was really for this.

Does anybody out there really expect us to believe that "public use" means something other than what it obviously does?

"Public Use" is a road or some other USE.

What the liberals on the Supreme Court did was basically cross "Public Use" out of the Constitution and change it to "Public Benefit", which is quite clearly something else.

And now city councils can sieze land and transfer it to those who can give greater campaign contributions at will.

It's a shockingly bad decision.
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Old 12-15-05, 10:59 PM
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NOTE!!

I accidently clicked the wrong button on the post!!!! I did not mean to vote with the liberal justices.
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Old 12-15-05, 11:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Tommy Ceez
NOTE!!

I accidently clicked the wrong button on the post!!!! I did not mean to vote with the liberal justices.
Thank you for letting us know. I really appreciate it.
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Old 12-15-05, 11:50 PM
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I am very glad that Washington has (and had) a much stricter set of rules for emminent domain that the feds use. This is so incredibly wrong that it is a wonder it happens in America. I am blown away that Kennedy voted for this. It seems so ironic that the liberal judges sided with something that will be a windfall for large corporations. But I think they voted for it because of the role they see government having. The corporate grab probably wasn't on the radar, except for O'Connor and the others that dissented.
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Old 12-16-05, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by natesfortune
Wow.

I wonder who voted with the liberals on this poll - I didn't think anybody was really for this.
Back when <i>Kelo</i> was first handed down we had a huge thread about this. I remember there was at least one person who thought it was a good idea. I don't remember who it was.
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Old 12-16-05, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
Back when <i>Kelo</i> was first handed down we had a huge thread about this. I remember there was at least one person who thought it was a good idea. I don't remember who it was.
If memory serves me correctly - I believe it was Red Dog who was a staunch defender of Kelo.

Seriously - didn't JasonF defend it?
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Old 12-16-05, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by natesfortune
Wow.

I wonder who voted with the liberals on this poll - I didn't think anybody was really for this.

Does anybody out there really expect us to believe that "public use" means something other than what it obviously does?

"Public Use" is a road or some other USE.

What the liberals on the Supreme Court did was basically cross "Public Use" out of the Constitution and change it to "Public Benefit", which is quite clearly something else.

And now city councils can sieze land and transfer it to those who can give greater campaign contributions at will.

It's a shockingly bad decision.
Well said nate. The key is Public Use, vs. Public Benefit. They (The Supreme Court) have simply gone too far here.

The really stupid thing is, you can't get rid of the poor by moving them somewhere else. There will always be poor sections of town.
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Old 12-16-05, 07:17 AM
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He didn't defend it so much as say that Kelo didn't represent a change from how things were before Kelo.

Wait a minute. They proposed $1,000,000,000 for this plan, and they're moving 6000 people out? That's $167,000 per home without even factoring in building costs. Surely that's a mistake.
6000 residents != 6000 residences

Obviously, I think this is about as unamerican as you get. However, everyone should keep in mind that the case was not decided wrongly just because we don't like the outcome. The case was decided wrongly because the interpretation handed down by the SCOTUS will basically allow any government to take whatever land it wants, as long as it believes it has a better purpose for it. Even if that's transfer to another party.

That doesn't qualify as "public use" in my mind, nor could it possibly be what the Framers intended (if you are partial to original intent).

Last edited by Duran; 12-16-05 at 07:20 AM.
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Old 12-16-05, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
If memory serves me correctly - I believe it was Red Dog who was a staunch defender of Kelo.
I'm glad I had finished my drink of coffee before I read that.

Most people I know personally, from the extreme left (and I mean like 'Raving Maoist' left) to the extreme right, were as apoplectic as I was when the decision was handed down.
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Old 12-16-05, 07:43 AM
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is it 6000 people, or 6000 homes with more than one person in each home?

sounds like 2000 homes with 3 people in each
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Old 12-16-05, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by al_bundy
is it 6000 people, or 6000 homes with more than one person in each home?

sounds like 2000 homes with 3 people in each

Does it really matter?
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Old 12-16-05, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
If memory serves me correctly - I believe it was Red Dog who was a staunch defender of Kelo.

Seriously - didn't JasonF defend it?

JasonF defended Kelo on the basis of precedent. Needless to say, I called the precedent a load of crap (particularly since the genesis of private-to-private transfer - Poletown has been struck down).

BTW, there was barely a peep out of you about Kelo. Why was that? For someone who gets up in arms about site designations, I figured you would have been one of the folks most outraged about this blatent violation of the 5th amendment.
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Old 12-16-05, 09:18 AM
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I didn't get involved too much - I believe I made a post or two about it - because you views on the matter represented mine very well. It seems that the last sentence of The V Amendment doesn't mean much anymore - unfortunately.
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Old 12-16-05, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
I didn't get involved too much - I believe I made a post or two about it - because you views on the matter represented mine very well. It seems that the last sentence of The V Amendment doesn't mean much anymore - unfortunately.
There are apparently a whole slew of amendments that don't mean much anymore.
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Old 12-16-05, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Duran
There are apparently a whole slew of amendments that don't mean much anymore.
Chief among them, the Tenth, which our entire government seems to simply ignore at will on a daily basis.
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Old 12-16-05, 10:31 AM
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Well I was very vocal against ED, and now we see why. It's unbelievable. As a homeowner with not much else to my name if something like this happened to me I'd be ruined. It's really shocking that it can happen in America. Just incredible.
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