A Bill Trump The Developer Would Love
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Thread: A Bill Trump The Developer Would Love

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    Default A Bill Trump The Developer Would Love

    OC Register/Steven Greenhut - Contributing Columnist

    SACRAMENTO — I love when the powerless get fed up with a corrupt establishment, defy political correctness and fight back. It’s why I’ve admired Vera Coking, the feisty widow from Atlantic City, New Jersey, who stood up to Donald Trump and the city’s development authority in the 1990s. They tried to use eminent domain — the power to take property by force — to bulldoze her house and turn it into a parking lot for Trump Plaza limousines.

    “He’s a maggot, a cockroach and a crumb, that’s what he is,” Coking said in a 1998 interview. She beat him in court and lived in the house for another decade before moving out West. According to The Washington Post, she was there as Trump’s now-closed casino fizzled. It’s great when the little guy wins a round.

    Without getting into presidential politics, I’ll admit to having never given the presumptive GOP nominee a fair hearing. Anyone who thinks it’s a good thing to take people’s property forcibly for such uses isn’t worth my consideration.
    Trump insists victims often get far more than the property is worth: “Most of the time, they just want money,” he said. “It’s very rarely they say, ‘I love my house, I love my house, it’s the greatest thing ever.’” Yet Coking proves Trump wrong. She rejected his offers precisely because she wanted to stay. He turned to the government because he wanted his way.
    When eminent domain is invoked, the government is generally not allowed to pay above market value. Cities invoke it to strong-arm people into doing what the powerful want them to do. Owners often can’t afford the legal costs. Cities often offer pennies on the dollar, and the long drawn-out process takes its toll. I’ve interviewed victims for my Orange County-based book on the topic. It’s an evil.

    In California, the issue is closely linked to the state’s 1940s-era redevelopment agencies, which were designed to combat urban blight. They would float debt to subsidize development in targeted areas, but found it more lucrative to subsidize malls, car dealerships, movie theaters and hotels. Eminent domain was a key tool in the agencies’ arsenal.

    Gov. Jerry Brown ended redevelopment agencies in 2011, but not out of apparent concern about eminent domain abuse. In a fiscal crisis, Brown found he needed funding and redevelopment siphoned off 12 percent of the general-fund budget. As the budget improved, he has allowed a facsimile of these agencies to creep back to life.

    In 2014, Brown signed a law that creates Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts — like redevelopment, but limited to infrastructure. Last year, he signed Assembly Bill 2, which expands the process to urban renewal. It has more limits than redevelopment (all affected districts must agree to the tax diversion, for instance), but the new laws did not restrict eminent domain. Now, Assembly Bill 2492 is moving through the Legislature.

    It is billed as “clean up” legislation for AB2, but “will expand the number of communities and neighborhoods in which the government can exercise its power to forcibly seize private property from unwilling sellers,” wrote the California Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights. The group refers to the bill as the “Donald Trump ‘Wonderful’ Land Grab Bill.”

    That’s a reference to Trump’s interview with Fox News last October, in which he said, “I think eminent domain is wonderful — if you’re building a highway and you need to build, as an example, a highway and you’re going to be blocked by a holdout … And you need a house in a certain location because you’re going to build this massive development that’s going to employ thousands of people.”

    Yes, the Constitution allows eminent domain for some limited and genuinely public uses, such as building a highway. But the U.S. Supreme Court’s Kelo decision in 2005 deemed it acceptable for government to take property not just for public “use,” but for public “benefit,” which is a disturbingly open-ended concept.

    “Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random,” wrote Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in her dissent. “The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process. … As for the victims, the government now has license to transfer property from those with fewer resources to those with more.”

    Trump now has other things on his mind than seizing the property of little people who stand in the way of his developments. But the Democratic Legislature ought to think twice before passing something that empowers people like him.

    Steven Greenhut is Western region director for the R Street Institute. He was a Register editorial writer from 1998-2009. He is based in Sacramento. Write to him at [Only registered and activated users can see links. ].
    Last edited by Stevejet; 05-08-2016 at 10:07 PM.

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    eminent domain is just one of my concerns about trump.......really about any politician...........

    even former governor rick perry found that many Texans were not as enlightened as he was and he was forced to at least publicly change his tune.....
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    There would be no highways, sewers, water lines, power lines, railroads or factories built without Eminent Domain laws. How many people lose money in selling to their taxpayers. This may make political noise but the facts do not prove up.

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    Interstate 95 cut my grandfather's 200 year old farm in half. My grandfather, a man of considerable County political power and with much State political power, died fighting the Interstate and the federal government. My uncle, who inherited the homestead saw the writing on the wall, took the paltry sum offered by the government and invested in construction equipment. He contracted to help build Interstate 95. He eventually retired to Florida.

    Another uncle still lives there but the land lies fallow. He refuses to sell and his heir refuses to sell, at any price. Cantankerousness runs strong in the family.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dog Soldier View Post
    There would be no highways, sewers, water lines, power lines, railroads or factories built without Eminent Domain laws. How many people lose money in selling to their taxpayers. This may make political noise but the facts do not prove up.
    true.......but it has gone in some cases beyond State public services and into the "private business" sector..........or as they now call it "public benefit"........
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    You used to be able to buy a property, or gun, and it was yours.

    What's going to happen, when the public decides "The hell with it, I'm not buying it,

    if somebody else can come along, and LEGALLY steal it." ?

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    Eminent Domain dates to Biblical times. If you are an adherent to the Bill Of Rights then you know our Founding Fathers added it to the Constitution before they would sign it. It is now used for political noise as if it was just invented. The power of Eminent Domain was and is embodied in the 5th Amendment to the Bill Of Rights.

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    The power of Eminent Domain was and is embodied in the 5th Amendment to the Bill Of Rights.

    And it was embodied in the 5th Amendment with strict limitations. These limits have been removed or grossly perverted.
    deputy and FLcracker like this.
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    Like the Social Security fund. Absorbed into the General Fund by Congress to pay LBJ's "bomb bill" (bombs do cost money and B-52's alone carried 104 500 pounders each) and never "put back" as it's own stand alone fund after Vietnam.

    Thanks DEMOCRATS and Congress.
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    Eminent domain? I worry about my gun rights, my privacy rights, the demographics being diluted with illegal aliens, a dangerously weakened military, and the very real probability that Hillary will turn America's economy into a Venezuela+Greece on steroids. I'll survive the occasional outrage regarding eminent domain - it's not a perfect world and sh!t happens. For now, I'm fixating on the very big picture, that's already looking pretty dark. Eminent domain is just one fish in the pond. Hillary wants to drain the pond and kill all the fish.

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