JLF Memo
Oct. 18th, 2010: - johnlocke.org

Featured Article

Blight Abuse in Action
By Daren Bakst

In the Spotlight

Apparently believing that forcing people out of their homes serves its "noble" purpose, Columbia University is abusing New York's blight law to grab land in West Harlem.

To understand eminent domain abuse, one must understand that blight laws are the biggest source of the abuse. From the Columbia Spectator:

Christina Walsh, director of activism and coalitions at the Institute for Justice ... explain[ed] that vaguely defined terms favor developers and disproportionately impact low-income black residents.

"We see bogus blight happening across the state using vague criteria, even when the developer himself causes the blight, even when the city causes the blight," Walsh said, adding that in a study conducted of 1,000 eminent domain projects, two-thirds of the people displaced were black.

 

Fair Market Value Is Hurt By the Threat of Eminent Domain

What happens when the threat of eminent domain brings down the value of property that likely will be seized? Eminent domain victims receive less money because fair market value isn't determined based on the value of property before the threat of eminent domain but after the threat of eminent domain was made public -- conveniently allowing the government to offer less compensation.

Property values falling because of a threat of eminent domain is precisely what is happening in Palo Alto, California, where a high-speed rail project has been proposed.

 

Quick Takes

Asheville City Council pauses annexations, for now

People worried that city government will annex their suburban neighborhood should not take much comfort from City Council's decision Tuesday to stop the process of taking part of the Royal Pines area into the city.

Judging by comments members of council made during or after the meeting, the 5-2 vote reflects specific concerns about the Royal Pines proposal and was not the beginning of a major policy shift by council on the annexation issue.

 

Bank of America Says Added Foreclosure Costs 'Grossly Distorted,' Stands by Policies

Bank of America Corp.'s head of home lending said outside estimates of costs stemming from delays in foreclosures are "grossly distorted."

Reviews of foreclosures will delay fewer than 30,000 sales, said Barbara Desoer, president of Bank of America's home lending and insurance unit. Desoer didn't specify which estimates she believes are imprecise. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender will rework 102,000 pending foreclosure affidavits in 23 states and stands by the accuracy of its procedures, she said.

 

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Tuesday, Oct. 19th, 2010 at 6:00 p.m.
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Thursday, Oct. 21st, 2010 at 6:30 p.m.
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