The Electric Commentary

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The WSJ on Kelo

The Wall Street Journal had an oddly pro-Kelo article yesterday:

In Washington, D.C., a proposed federal ban on giving federal money to communities that use eminent domain for private developments could imperil the Skyland Shopping Center project, which has been 15 years in the making. "There are a lot of things against us every step of the way," said Kathy Chamberlain, vice president of a nearby neighborhood association. "Why is it so hard for us to get a shopping center we can use?"

The project, in the southeast part of the city, would replace a cluster of nail salons, a liquor store and check-cashing facility with a big-box discount retailer, a restaurant and bookstore. City economic-development officials, who say the project could still go through without federal money, have notified six owners that their property will be condemned to make way for the center, which is designed to improve the neighborhood's shopping and create jobs.

But the backlash against the Supreme Court ruling has emboldened land owners to fight the seizures. In Washington, the business and property owners had already been fighting the seizure. Elaine Mittleman, a lawyer for some of them, says the city never proved the area was blighted to support its use of eminent domain. "Why should they lose a business just so people can shop at Target?" she asks.

Perhaps instead of bribing retailers to enter blighted areas the government could take a look at why they need to make the bribe in the first place.

(Hat tip, MDS. Buy the way, you should read his posts on Raffi and Bush, and on Charles Krauthammer.)


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