Thursday, June 23, 2005

Fun with Property Seizure

Barely squeaking through a Supreme Court near you:

"The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses -- even against their will -- for private economic development."
(emphasis mine)

Here in Lubbock, TX we know a little bit about this sort of thing *cough* North Overton *cough* and its implications. Now it seems elected officials will no longer have to justify property seizures as being for the public good.

The dissenting justices were (believe it or not) O'Connor, Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas. From O'Connor's dissent:

"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."

Yeah, that sounds like Lubbock alright.

I think this is a powerful issue with cross-party appeal, and I mean all 3 parties that are active in Lubbock. Let's bring this issue to the foreground when campaign season comes!

Who your local elected officials are matters more now than ever before.


At 11:35 AM, Blogger Keenon! said...

This bothers the hell out of me. For the longest time, I've worried because I have friends and family in Arnett-Benson and figured the XTREME GENTRIFICATION movement was going to transplant a lot more people who can't really afford new property elsewhere.

The only thing that calmed my nerves was the fact that a large percentage of the people in that area own their own houses/land. There are seriously families that have lived there since the 50s. Every time I drive back through there, I see people have consistently improved the quality of their homes & it always made me feel good. Many of those folks would have no urge to sell at a ridiculously low rate just so Mayor McCheese could build some more cookie cutter houses or apartments.

Now I guess they're screwed, too.


At 1:20 PM, Blogger Synthesis said...

NIMBY politics may have just received their toughest defeat ever.

It seems like Steven's majority opinion is overly reliant on local governments not to be in the pocket of corrupt developers.

Sadly, this is not the case in Lubbock.

Normally I think Constitutional Amendments are unwarrented, but in this case I think people's homes ought to be super-ultra-deluxe protected. Outside of public health risks, Americans should have the right to buy and sell homes at their own discretion.

Keenon is right; Mayor McCheese has no business deciding whether my home should be replaced with some office building.

At 12:17 PM, Blogger johnnie said...

The most important part of the Supreme Court decision is that it says that states may enact laws which limit these rights.

We should make a call for this to be done IMMEDIATELY. Texans don't need to lose their family farms and ranches to heartless corporations.

It's awful that a city is celebrating the right to take a house from someone who has lived there 83 years.

At 7:16 PM, Blogger Jess said...

Do you all know of any resources that I could research any more of the gentrification that occurred here? I am writing a research paper over what happened on the east side of Univerisity. It is a big project and any help would be greatly appreciated.


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