Monday, February 20, 2006

All your land are belong to us

Given all the controversy stirred up by Kelo v. New London last year, you might think that the MSM would be working overtime to outrage the general public with anything resembling a new eminent domain scandal, wouldn't you? Well, you would if you assumed they were more interested in selling copy than selling an agenda. That, however, doesn't seem to be the case - this story's remained a local one for L.A. residents.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The city could lose up to $3 million if it sells a south Los Angeles property purchased through eminent domain procedures for an animal shelter.

The city spent $6 million in voter-approved bond money to force a furniture maker to sell the property for a city animal shelter. Businessmen Francisco Pinedo and Alba Pinedo, co-owners of the Cisco Bros. furniture firm, now want to buy the block of land.

Well, lookey here. Using eminent domain to transfer land from one private interest to another without Kelo! That's gumption, by golly.

Members of the City Council's Public Safety Committee are demanding a written report to explain why the city used its powers of eminent domain to force a furniture maker to sell the parcel so the city could build an animal shelter and now propose selling it to a competing furniture manufacturer.

What, do these people think elected officials ought to be accountable or something? Pick up the clue phone! This is Los Angeles.

Councilman Bernard C. Parks, who has received $1,000 in political contributions from the Cisco owners, has been leading the push to have the parcel sold to Cisco so the company can expand its furniture mart.

I think you can scratch that written report.

Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller said the city would probably get $3 million to $5 million for the South Western Avenue property.

"It's a multimillion-dollar switcheroo for no reason at all," said Councilman Jack Weiss, chairman of the committee. "The city could have saved millions of dollars (by purchasing the other parcel to begin with) and it wouldn't have condemned an existing business."

Miller also said the change of location for the animal shelter would require more delays and a redesign, which officials estimate could add up to $12 million to the estimated cost.

Cisco Bros. has contributed $17,600 to key city officials in the last five years.

I'm torn. What's more disheartening - that millions of dollars of taxpayer funds and corrupt elected officials are so readily available, or that they're available so damn cheaply?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

A Wolfe in elephant's clothing?

Some time ago at No-Pasaran, I came across this somewhat narrative piece on Tom Wolfe at The Guardian. It's what I'd call a "cup of coffee read", but for anyone whose thinking the writing of Tom Wolfe ever played even a minor role in, it's a must-read.

"I think support for Bush is about not wanting to be led by East-coast pretensions. It is about not wanting to be led by people who are forever trying to force their twisted sense of morality onto us, which is a non-morality. That is constantly done, and there is real resentment. Support for Bush is about resentment in the so-called 'red states' - a confusing term to Guardian readers, I agree - which here means, literally, middle America. I come from one of those states myself, Virginia. It's the same resentment, indeed, as that against your own newspaper when it sent emails targeting individuals in an American county."

Yes, this from the same guy who wrote The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Now, as then, he seems to have a keen sense of what something so vague and amorphous as "the left" can be said to center on. I think he just sold a book.

So what is it about his liberal neighbors and fellow diners in his adoptive New York that Wolfe cannot abide? "I cannot stand the lock-step among everyone in my particular world. They all do the same thing, without variation. It gets so boring. There is something in me that particularly wants it registered that I am not one of them."

And well that you should. Maybe you're someone who's explored the question of how a Kristallnacht could happen, and has seen some alarming parallels. I'm not sure the answer is going to be between the covers of "I Am Charlotte Simmons", but I'm curious to see for myself.

Yep, it's another short one this week, but there's probably another quickie or two coming over the weekend. You don't come for the writing anyway though, right? It's all about the furry lovin'. Friday Frickin' Cat Blogging!

Gazelles - a hot meal for cats on the go!