Thursday, June 23, 2005

Freeport is now master of its domain


The Supreme's 5-4 vote favoring local governments' eminent domain powers would appear to signal checkmate in a long-running slugfest in Freeport, where city officials are in the process of taking land owned by two wholesale seafood companies.

The city, through its economic development arm, is loaning a rich guy in Dallas $6 million to build a marina for fancy yachts, hoping that will kickstart some sort of economic redevelopment in Freeport, one of the dreariest seaports on the Gulf Coast. Not just the Texas Gulf Coast. The entire Gulf Coast, from Brownsville to Miami.

The battle has been waged on billboards, on the Web and on flyers stuck on people's front door handles, but at every key turn, whether it's in the courts or at the ballot box, the powers-that-be at City Hall have proven victorious.

Yep, it's hell to fight City Hall. Especially when the Supreme Court's got Mayor McCheese's back.

So, at some point in the future, there will be fewer shrimp boats docked at Freeport's old harbor and a whole lot more fancy yachts occupied by guys in ascots and cap'n hats.


[voice of america]
[Der Faxen]

4 comments:

ttyler5@hotmail.com said...

Jeeze!

Read the article! Justice Stevens wrte that local governemnts know best what projects are good for development!

What planet is that fruitcake living on?

cacafuego said...

TT: You write as if local governments were some collection of bureaucrats foisted on the humble citizens by, God forbid, Washington. In my experience, local governments are usually made up democratically elected local business types, land owners, insurance salesmen and dentists. Who else would have an idea about LOCAL economic development?? Some company out of New York?? Some businessmen from out of town?? Who??

ttyler5@hotmail.com said...

The Kelo decision gave local government the right to grant unlimited powers of eminent domain to a private development corporation. Here's a summary:

"The case came from New London, Conn., where the city government, like all governments, wants more revenue and has empowered a private entity, New London Development Corp., to exercise the awesome power of eminent domain. It has done so to condemn an unblighted working-class neighborhood in order to give the space to private developers whose condominiums, luxury hotel and private offices would pay more taxes than do the owners of the condemned homes and businesses.

The question answered yesterday was: Can government profit by seizing the property of people of modest means and giving it to wealthy people who can pay more taxes than can be extracted from the original owners? The court answered yes."
Here's the WashPost link:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/23/AR2005062301420.html


2) "Some company out of New York?? Some businessmen from out of town??"

The Kelo decision gives those very people the upper hand over the local people who actually live there.

3) Local governments are for sale to the highest bidders.

Kent Lind said...

So let me get this straight.

If I'm rich enough to own a fancy yacht and can moor it anywhere in the Gulf Coast, I'm going to be attracted to:

"one of the dreariest seaports on the Gulf Coast. Not just the Texas Gulf Coast. The entire Gulf Coast, from Brownsville to Miami."

Yep, that's where I want to park my million dollar baby.