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Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle on Development Without Eminent Domain:

Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle recently published this report explaining how cities (including his own) can promote development without resorting to the use of eminent domain. Many of the arguments are not new, but it is significant that the mayor of a major city is publicly endorsing them. Plus, Mayor Pringle was kind enough to cite my article on the notorious Poletown case as an example of how using eminent domain to promote development often causes more economic harm than good.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST WATCH: Pringle's report was published by the Institute for Justice, the libertarian public interest law firm that litigated the Kelo case. As longtime VC readers know, I have done some pro bono work on takings cases for IJ myself.

whackjobbbb:
Somin,

I'm gonna go you one more on this, speaking to the evils of this "eminent domain" nonsense, since I'm sure you're too dignified to speak to the potential evils of your peers.

I do work for certain lawyers I'm sure you know in this field, and yeah I'm a good little wannabe libertarian who feels good about standing up to the evil government and all, but I'm cynical enough to believe that the process is rigged sometimes. I've delivered my "Engineer's Opinion of Probable Cost" to the process which has come in as much as 10 times beyond the figure first entered into the legal process by the government agency, and accepted by the court, presumably.

Now, how is it that this first figure was EVER accepted... by ANYBODY? How is it that when something approaching my estimate is finally settled upon, we don't look suspiciously on the first part of the process, and suspect that it was so wrong as to have been "conveniently" arrived at, by multiple parties, to generate a large settlement fund (to be "distributed" appropriately, in the aftermath)?

And who's getting this distribution? I like my guy, but I also know he's a lawyer and he's gonna do what he's gotta do to be successful in this field... so legitimately and perhaps illegitimately... that money is gonna go places (and not enough to ME, believe me!).

Eminent domain isn't just bad as public development promotion policy, as there are other tails attached to this, land options scrambling and all the rest, corrupting influences on politics, the courts and more. I think you'd do well to bring up that in some fashion. I know you lawyers don't wanna rat each other out, and perhaps I'm being too suspicious here, but there's more than just the classic libertarian argument to be made here, there's some old fashioned greed and corruption which has to be accounted for too, I suspect, and that's as big an argument against it as the other.
6.14.2007 7:39pm
JNS405:
Interesting idea, assuming that someone is actually willing to start the trend of building high class restaurants next to crack houses (native Detroiter here).
6.14.2007 8:53pm
David Welker (mail) (www):
I don't understand why Mr. Somin thinks it is particular notable that a Republican with libertarian tendencies who happens to be a mayor would publish a report advancing libertarian ideas. This is not really noteworthy. At all.

Imagine if a liberal who happened to make a huge amount of money in the stock market were to advocate expanded government. Would this be suprising?

That Pringle has libertarian leanings is more significant than the job title he happens to hold.
6.14.2007 10:35pm
markm (mail):
Unfortunately, nowadays it is remarkable when any local government realizes that market forces will better further it's goals than having the government pick winners and losers by force. One might think that they are addicted to picking winners and losers...
6.15.2007 4:51pm