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?


Blogger andy said...

Have not, under the power of “eminent domain”, the local, state and federal governments been “taking” and (under)paying citizens for land for many, many years?

I think that it has only come into the public sphere, if you will, lately is for two main reasons.

First, there is so little undeveloped land left that wherever a project is planned to go there is already something there. There are no “empty” lots left in or around DC. There is very little farm land left to be sold. A new project must now replace something else.

This leads to the second point. They are now taking land that is no longer just owned by the poor, or in building that are inhabited by the poor. These projects are going into areas where middle class people now live. Now, I’ve never been one to jump up and defend the poor mind you, but it will tend to make more news etc. if it’s happening to others.

10:47 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hope you don't mind, I answered up here.

10:50 AM  

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