Today is the day. The California state legislature is scheduled to vote on Governor Jerry Brown’s proposal to abolish redevelopment in this state. So if you are interested in this topic, stay tuned.
What we find fascinating is that the Republican legislators are solidly opposed to Brown’s proposal. So much for the fairy tale that Republicans, more so than Democrats, are respectful of private property rights. Maybe in some theoretical way they are. But when push comes to shove — when eminent domain is involved — they come down on the side of the government. Why? We can’t really explain. But it seems plausible that Republican personalities also tend to favor authority, and are opposed to claims of harmed parties who come to court seeking compensation. As the late, great Detroit eminent domain lawyer, Bert Burgoyne once put it: “The problem with the field of eminent domain is that liberal judges don’t believe in private property rights, and conservative judges don’t believe in making the government pay. So between them you have a hard row to hoe” Well said.
For a summary of what’s been going on with regard to this subject in Sacramento, see the Huffington Post piece at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/16/california-legislature-to_n_836542.html
Follow up. Not yet, folks. The California legislature voted on several budget provisions today, but that did not include the bill to abolish redevelopment agencies. Stay tuned.
Follow up. Evidently, the vote against redevelopment in California failed by one vote when Assembly Republicans — yes, Republicans — refused to vote for it. For an excellent commentary on this point by Steven Greenhut, former op-ed editor at the Orange County Register, and author of a book on eminent domain abuses, see his March 18, 2011, blog piece CA GOP Saves Eminent Domain, http://www.calwatchdog.com/2011/03/18/ca-gop-saves-eminent-domain/
Follow up. For some acerbic, though well deserved commentary on the Republicans’ failure to do the right thing, by Tim Cavanaugh in Reason magazine of April 1, 2011, go to http://reason.com/blog/2011/04/01/more-fun-with-urban-renewal-re