1. What is eminent domain, what are the debates concerning the use of it?
Eminent domain or the commons is the legal sanction of land for public use. In recent years, the proliferation of policies in support of public-private partnerships (PPP) ascribing new meaning to investment and private developer role in governance has restated the meaning of subsidies and tax revenues as secondary tier investment in the planning, construction and maintenance of public lands and buildings intended for public use. The support for eminent domain is that governance of public lands is intended to serve the public good as infrastructure or citizen resource. Counter arguments claim that disabuse of eminent domain laws is common, is generally done by government representatives and large budget corporate or institutional partners in the interest of deep pockets capitalization.
2. How did Kelo vs. New London affect the debate?
When the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer built its plant adjacent to Fort Trumbull in 1998, the controversy over eminent domain in respect to gross negligence and chemical pollution of a residential neighborhood resulted in the City transferring private property to the New London Development Corporation (NLDC). The transference of private property to government control is an example of the negative enforcement of eminent domain. The flip-side to public use protections, the NLDC became a counter target for resident, Kelo et al. in a lawsuit that was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, where in 2005, the court decided that public use was in fact constitutional, and secured New London’s right to the property under the Fifth Amendment. The result to the decision is approximately $80 million in losses of taxpayer dollars, and an abandoned economic development plan. Citizen activism stemming from the case led to organized defeat of similar projects in the U.S., where public-private partnerships “sought to abuse eminent domain for private development” (Institute for Justice nd.).
3. How was eminent domain being used in the neighborhood near Columbia? Do you agree with Columbia or the property owner? Explain why.
The lawsuits surrounding Columbia University’s collusion with the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), “a quasi-public entity empowered by the state of New York to seize private property via eminent domain” (Root 2009), shows the power of University and other lead institutions to abuse eminent domain based on a policy of “blight” (Root 2009). In my opinion, the case reveals that elite public institutions like Columbia work actively on behalf of political interests; evading public review and community accountability.
4. How does Florida law view eminent domain?
5. What happened in New Jersey as a result of eminent domain?
Hackensack, New Jersey’s Planning Board designated privately owned land as “area[s] in need of redevelopment” under the rule of eminent domain. In this action the City attempted to condemn and seize the properties for public use (Tuccille 2013). In this case, the owners of the property sued the City, which was followed by an appeal. The courts determined that the City of Hackensack and its Planning Board had unlawfully seized the property; deeming the argument of “blight” as inappropriate. The result to this case was the removal of Hackensack’s City Council from office.
6. What is the situation is National City and how does it involve eminent domain? What was the end result in the video to the club?
In National City, California, neighborhood advocacy for retention of a community athletic centre serving underserved minority youth in is demolished and replaced by a luxury condominium complex (Reason.com 2007). Counter to the constitutional ideal of eminent domain, the developer decision illustrates how private investment without participatory budgeting may lead to reduction of the commons as a right of public choice to that of independent ownership. The end result: the community athletic club was closed, demolished and replaced by investment property condominium units designed for maximum capitalization on behalf of the developer and business partners.
7. How do you think eminent domain should be used or not used?
The establishment of eminent domain is a precept to democratic right to shared commons within constitutional laws and in legislative policy as promoted in common law customary practice is the territorial assertion of public choice over individual ownership. How well eminent domain is understood as a principle rather than mere transfer of land title has much to do with general public education on the meaning of public use as a common good. Where no introduction to public use as an ideal and shared right exists, the denigration of participatory decision and sufficient dialogue between private investors, governance and the public may result. When lawful conveyances begin to appear as illegal collusion it is a signal that eminent domain law has been abused by state powers in cooperation with dirty private interests. Eminent domain must be applied responsibly, with thorough oversight by a watch committee to avoid corruption by the state or major institutional partner. Upon reduction of the social compact to the will of one creates conflict over resources and waste control generally ensue.
Kelo v. New London:Lawsuit Challenging Eminent Domain Abuse in New London, Connecticut’, nd. Institute for Justice. Available at: http://www.ij.org/kelo
‘National City’, 2007. Reason.com. Available at: http://reason.com/reasontv/2007/11/15/national-city
Root, Damon W., 2009. ‘There Goes the Neighborhood’. Reason.com. Available at:http://reason.com/archives/2009/02/09/there-goes-the-neighborhood
Tuccille, JD, 2013. ‘Attempted Land Grab Ends With Voters Booting Entire City Council’. Reason.com. Available at: http://reason.com/blog/2013/06/13/attempted-land-grab-ends-with-voters-boo