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Monday, June 19, 2006

Redevelopment Abuse?

Private businesses are being seized in Hollywood by the City to be given to other private businesses - major real estate developers - many of whom have contributed to a number of local elected officials.

This is an issue that flies way under the radar of the local news, but any of us could wake up one day to find the city wanting to take our land and give it to someone else.

The Hollywood and Vine project - which on the face of it could be a very good project for the area - apparently needs the city to use its power of eminent domain to seize land cheap from local businesses. Some of these businesses have been in existense for years.

Traditionally, eminent domain has been used by government to seize private land for specific public purposes. For example, building a road, bridge, post office, school, etc. But local municipalities, emboldened by a recent Supreme Court decision, are taking property often to transfer them to more politically well connected developers.

The situation has become so alarming, that the Federal Government is investigating several redevelopment projects in Los Angeles. In addition to the Hollywood and Vine project, they're looking at the seizure of a furniture manufacturing plant in South LA - to be sold by the City to another furniture manufacturer - and the taking a shopping center in South Central to be transfered to another shopping center developer.

The Castle Coalition is an organization that works to fight eminent domain abuse nationally and details the story of one business about to be destroyed by this project.

Councilman Eric Garcetti announced the approval of the project, which included a deal involving the socialist leaning "Los Angeles Alliance for A New Economy." The deal included the paying of "greenmail" to so called "funds" that benefit the "community" as well as the usual deals with the local unions politicians like Garcetti are beholden to. Of course the Alliance for a New Economy apparently cares nothing about the folks contributing to the old economy they're putting out of work. But that's another topic.

I am all for the Hollywood and Vine project. But let the developers negotiate in good faith with the property owners in order to gain the land they need. Lets not send in city thugs on our dime to evict otherwise law abiding folks who've been contributing to the well being of the community for a long time.


Anonymous Anonymous said:

It is well and good that the Feds are looking into this issue.

The Hollywood Project is especially suspect. The City Redevelopment Agency, as is its wont to do, has fallen in love with another developer, CIM.

Every project that comes up, Hollywood and Vine, Hollywood and Highland, Downtown, somehow everyone else who applies is found to be "non-responsive" and then CIM magically gets the projects.

Meanwhile, CIM knows how to spread the political donations around pretty well.

This time, the CRA may have bitten off more than it can chew. Blue isn't backing away and he has stirred up the rest of the merchants in Hollywood.

Garcetti better take a closer look at his agency.

June 19, 2006 5:43 AM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

June 19, 2006 6:39 AM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

City officials abuse their power not just by exercising the eminent domain for private profit, but also by using tax dollars to subsidize developments -- welfare for the rich.

June 19, 2006 6:40 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Soon, no one will do business in LA. We all know it's a sucker game and we are not the fools that the Mexican mafia thinks we are.

And BTW, all this development and taxpayer money for the downtown project is a sinkhole. Who in the hell would live downtown? The gangs and filthy barrios surround the few blocks of development and you would have to be INSANE to live around there.

And the fools in LA are funding 150 new schools for the illegals! When are you going to wake up people.

You voted for Prop 187 but Dan Lundgren and Gray Davis sold you all out. Unless you have another Prop 187 to get rid of all the illegals and stop supporting them, you will never be able to live in that cesspool called CA.

Wake Up!

June 19, 2006 9:44 AM  

Blogger Mitch Glaser said:

Eminent domain has a long and shameful history in Los Angeles, with Chavez Ravine (Dodger Stadium) and Bunker Hill being two especially notorious examples. Mayor Sam, this issue does fly "under the radar," so I'm glad you're raising it here. It's a political matter, but it need not be partisan.

The definitions of "blighted area," "public use," and "fair market value" have been stretched and twisted so much over the years that they have little meaning anymore. It's hard to consider Hollywood & Vine a "blighted area" these days, and it's especially difficult to consider a fancy new hotel and pricey condominiums a "public use."

There might be some instances where use of eminent domain is more appropriate, though not necessarily fully justified. One example I could imagine is a redevelopment project in South L.A. that would bring a supermarket and affordable housing to a neighborhood that is underserved. Let's assume you had one or two "holdout" absentee property owners who demanded exorbitant prices for their land; if the City took those parcels by eminent domain, the new project would have tangible community benefit.

Eminent domain abuse is a threat to every property owner in Los Angeles and the United States. Mr. Moore is right, it can become "welfare for the rich."

If anyone is interested in this topic, check out my post on Eminent domain and the Supreme Court's recent decision

Oh, and 9:44, it seems you haven't been to L.A. in awhile. Believe it or not, thousands of people have moved Downtown and it's become a "hot" area. Gentrification is even affecting Pico Union, Westlake, and Echo Park. Come by and see how our little "cesspool" is evolving!

June 19, 2006 6:54 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Mayor Sam you or Doug McIntyre should connect the dots and show how these politicians have been paid off.

June 19, 2006 7:29 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

On top of everything, an Antonio appointment to head the LA Planning Commission appears to be meeting outside commission meetings with planners and forces changes to planners reports, determinations and agenda'd items without the other commissioners knowledge, and without timely notification prior to commission meetings, all this without the Planning GM in attendance. Sounds like there are serious Brown Act violations going on.

June 20, 2006 7:39 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Kelo v. City of New London

Remember that name--that is the eminent domain case. It will go down in history with Dred Scott, Plessy v. Ferguson, the Slaughterhouse Cases, as one of the most worst Supreme Court decisions EVER.

The irony about the decision is the most of the majority were the liberals on the court (Ginsburg, Breyer, Souter, Stephens, etc.).

I thought liberals were supposed to be for the little guy.

June 22, 2006 9:44 PM  

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