Scanning the legal notice advertising in the Long Island, New York daily Newsday of February 21, 2008 I ran across one entitled "Request For Proposal Blight Study and Urban Renewal Plan City of Long Beach, New York." As a Libertarian leader experienced in defending property rights from eminent domain abuse, I have learned to read the legal notices sections in newspapers carefully to find out what horror stories are on the way.
"The City is considering the feasibility of two separate and distinct Urban Renwal Projects; as such, seeks the professional services of a planning consultant to prepare a blight study, and ultimately, an Urban Renewal Plan, for each project."
It describes the two areas covered by these projects. For outsiders, it would be meaningless. What do they plan to do with these areas? "The City is hoping to encourage office, residential, recreational and marine uses, including a meaningful affordable housing component."
Further along we come to the key point "The City is hoping to encourage the elimination of of blight through development in accordance with relevant zoning provisions. If appropriate, the City will consider exercising its powers under the Eminent Domain Law to acquire the properties."
The current owners and their tenants would be replaced with "office, residential, recreational and marine uses" that meet the approval of the City government, which means the individuals who control and staff it. If they do not fall into line, the cudgel of eminent domain will bring about their replacement.
Legalized theft by eminent domain abuse transferring property to others is the prime component of this plan. What is at stake here is the subjection of property owners and their tenants to the whims of politicians and bureaucrats.
The City of Long Beach is advertising for planning consultants to carry out their plans. Will they be hired if there is some danger that the consultant will say "We have studied the situation carefully and we believe the city should not impose zoning restrictions on property owners and their uses of the land. Nor do we believe that eminent domain is justified." Would such a consultant be considered or hired? The planning consultants are accomplices before the fact to legalized theft. They represent in Hannah Arendt’s words "the banality of evil." So too do the officials who hire them.
As a libertarian I reject urban renewal and eminent domain abuse schemes as violations of property rights and individual liberty. Economic and social development should come about through the individual choices of property owners and other individuals in the market.
The Supreme Court decisions of Berman and Kelo must be overturned.
What Long Beach, New York does is not unique in America, nor for that matter, in the world. From Zimbabwe to China to America, the lives and property of individuals are disposed of when convenient by the ruling class.
All our individual plans can be beached by the whims of those who have the power of the state, not just in Long Beach, New York but everywhere until Libertarian philosophy is adopted. -30-
(About the author: Richard Cooper is the export/import manager of a Long Island manufacturer. He was Chair of the Libertarian Party of New York www.ny.lp.org and many releases on eminent domain topics are posted there. He fought the dispossession of St. Luke’s Pentecostal Church in New Cassel, the New York Times scheme he dubbed Time$cam and the Ikea furniture store in New Rochelle. Currently, he is campaigning against the Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn and his alma mater Columbia’s designs on West Harlem).
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For other eminent domain stories, see
As a Ron Paul delegate, I was pleased to write
On NYC Mayor Bloomberg and Atlantic Yards a/k/a Brooklyn Nets Arena see
Drew Carey takes on eminent domain abuse
I graduated Columbia which is conducting its own eminent domain scheme in West Harlem, which the University likes to call Manhattanville
A review of a book on eminent domain http://www.groundreport.com/Politics/A-Childs-Book-of-Eminent-Domain