If there is anybody who, one would think, should be at the forefront of the fight against uncompensated, regulatory takings, it’s the building industry. Sometimes it appears that this is the case. Just hit Lexis and see how many cases you come up with that have the phrase “Building Industry Association” in their captions. It is a familiar scenario to see the building industry types appear as parties or amici curiae in regulatory inverse condemnation cases, fighting regulatory takings and advancing the cause of costitutionally protected property rights, only to be opposed by cities, which around here often means the League of California Cities.
So imagine our surprise whwn we came across the CBIA Reports of February 9, 2011, which carries the headline Redevelopment on Chopping Block: CBIA Expresses Opposition to Wholesale Elimination. It informs us that the “CBIA took official action last week to oppose the elimination of local redevelopment agencies. CBIA’s Governmental Affairs team, along with our allies at the League of California Cities and the California Redevelopment Association, is actively engaged in a comprehensive effort to oppose the elimination of redevelopment.” (Emphasis added).
“[O]ur allies?” The League of California Cities? That’s what it says. And no, these clowns do not appear to be kidding. They are evidently trying to be serious.
But how the League of California Cities, these self-proclaimed paladins of forces working as hard as they can to undermine constitutionally protected private property rights, got to be the allies of the building industry which is usually on the receiving end of confiscatory land-use regulation, goes without an explanation. Oh sure, we understand that builders make a buck by building, so it figures that they would favor any activity that stimulates construction. Like development, even development with the prefix “re” attached to it. Fair enough. But aren’t there some limits to this mind set? Don’t these guys realize that by embracing the cause co-sponsored by the League of California Cities, they are allying themselves with forces that on ideological grounds threaten their own property rights? Aren’t property rights of condemnees in redevelopment areas just as worthy as property rights of developers? So why did the CBIA take this position?
You will find the answer to that question in the Bible which teaches that men stand ever ready to trade their birthright for a mess of pottage.