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Reply #16: Michigan Municipal League on Eminent Domain/Prop 4 [View All]

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Hidden Stillness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 12:36 PM
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16. Michigan Municipal League on Eminent Domain/Prop 4
There was a really interesting forum on the ballot proposals put on by the Michigan Municipal League, and information at their site, at http://www.mml.org/legislative/bills/ballot.htm ; they are against both the Eminent Domain and Prop 5 Education Funding proposals.

A big point made during the Eminent Domain presentation is that the strict regulations concerning proving "blight" would essentially make it impossible for a local Government to purchase abandoned factories and other now-neglected commercial properties, to keep them from further deterioration. First of all, the recent outrageous Federal Supreme Court decision extending eminent domain to apply to mere corporate interests that wanted to take property and lands for their own selfish profit-making does not apply to Michigan, as we were and are already under the jurisdiction of the stricter Michigan Supreme Court "Hathcock" case. The new proposal, if passed, would raise the level of proof for a claim of eliminating "blight" that a City or other "condemning authority will have to show by 'clear and convincing' evidence that the taking is for blight. The language is also worded in such a manner as to require that proof of blight be demonstrated on a parcel by parcel basis," (from M.M.L.). This raises the burden of proof to an almost comical "beyond a reasonable doubt" criminal statute level, and makes studies and evidence-gathering of the City or etc., to make the case for it, prohibitively expensive. No ordinary city would be able to clear blighted areas anymore, and could no longer prevent themselves from turning to slums.

Many cities have very active purchasing programs, where the City will buy a property that the owner cannot sell on the market, because of the economic situation, etc., and will then keep up the property, by mowing the lawn, keeping it painted, paying the property taxes, etc., and keeping the neighborhood clean and well-maintained until it finally does sell. Everyone benefits from this kind of local "capital improvement" investment by a City. Businesses themselves prefer to move to areas with more active governments that put money back into the infrastructure, streets, lighting, schools, water and sewer pipes, and blight removal. Making this activity of the government of older cities--still good areas but not rich--so painfully hard to meet, will doom them all.

"Oddly," although not odd at all really, the backers and initiators of this Eminent Domain Proposal 4 are the extremist, archconservative capitalist Republican, Mackinac Center for Public Policy think tank (where DeVos likes to go), and strangely enough, on their website, at http://www.mackinac.org/print.asp?ID=7968 , they refer to the "blight" clause as a "loophole" that "would close" under the new law if passed--then what? Other groups behind this thing are the Michigan Homebuilders Association, Michigan Association of Realtors, and what the Michigan Municipal League speaker called, "as well as a few other private property-rights groups." Sounds ominous to me. If this is to "protect" "little homeowners" from the "big, bad Government," then why aren't ACORN (poverty advocacy group), the NAACP, the League of Women Voters, and all the other citizens' groups for it--they are not. It is a further, rich capitalist erosion of soveriegn Government's ability to determine the course, even the nature, of its own place; as all gradually becomes the corporate fiefdom, the global "market." Vote NO on Proposal 4; Vote No on all Proposals.
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