Friday, June 24, 2005

Private Property, RIP -- part 3

Some of what the Supreme Court's horrendous Kelo decision has wrought:

After celebrating the Supreme Court's decision yesterday to effectively give local governments carte blanche to seize land for private development, some local officials began quickly moving to use their new unlimited authority. Officials in the beachfront town of Freeport, Texas, announced they would move forward with plans to commandeer property owned by two seafood companies in order to allow the construction of a 900-slip private marina. Freeport will even be loaning the developers $6 million to finance the project, and if it fails the town won't be getting its money back. What is certain is that the displacement of the two seafood companies will cost scores of jobs.

Who gets the shaft here? Lower income workers for the two seafood companies, the companies themselves for having to accede to the condemnation.

Who benefits? The rich buggers who would use a marina and the developers. This is a "public use"? Does Freeport win? At last check, a city tax base is built upon its residents' property taxes (especially in Texas where there is no local or state income tax). Once those seafood company jobs are gone, guess what the workers are going to do: move where the companies relocate.

Thankfully, at least one person in Texas (other than The Monk) wants to stop this type of fiasco:

The Supreme Court's decision, by a narrow majority with Justice Anthony Kennedy as swing vote, has prompted state Rep. Frank Corte, a Republican from San Antonio, to propose a state constitutional amendment limiting the power to condemn private land for use by other private entities. He says the amendment is now necessary in order to "limit a local governmental entity's power of eminent domain, preventing them from bulldozing residences in favor of private developers."

More to come on this issue . . .

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