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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Riviera beach Florida, time for the rich

Florida is going to use eminent domain. Eminent domain is the government taking over the land for public reasons. The government has the right to obtain lands that will increase public welfare. One of the major cases of this was the Supreme Court ruling in, Kelo v. City of New London. Here the Supreme Court sided with the government. The city of New London was granted lands to increase the tax base and job formation. This is the plea of the Mayor of Riviera beach.

In Riviera beach, Florida the same presidence is happening. The mayor, Michael Brown, is using the government to create a beach front, "yachting community." The 15 year construction plan includes: a basin for megayachts with high-end housing, retail and office space, a multilevel garage for boats, a 96,000-square-foot aquarium and a manmade lagoon. This will come with the destruction of upto 6,000 homes and bisinesses. The company that received the contract for the redevelopment is the New Jersey-based Viking Inlet Harbor Properties LLC. They will oversee the mammoth 400-acre redevelopment project. The construction company states, they will only destroy homes and businesses that they must.

The concern I have is for the market of labor in these areas. The population of Riviera beach is not rich. The price that is paid for their homes will not be enough to support them anywhere else in Florida. The government has just created a society that will depend on welfare. I foresee a majority of these people relocating to other states where the realestate prices are not so large. This is okay for the mayor of Riviera Beach. He will be recieiving the benefits from a large rich population that will come to the redeveloped town. The plan to redevelop the town, and eminent domain cases anywhere, must have a strategy to help the population of the existing town. I would agree with the eminent domain in Riviera beach, if the construction, management, and workforce is the residing, displaced population. This will show the benefits to eminent domain. The population gains more capital, and will be able to reside in the surrounding area with their increase in pay.

Eminent doamin is a nasty idea. The priciple that the government can take your land wherever and whenever it wants, is scary. My question is this, if the government can create a more desireable location to live, do you think the private market would have?

Comments:
"My question is this, if the government can create a more desireable location to live, do you think the private market would have?"

I was going to ask you a very similar question. Is there any reason to believe that the government's planned development will be successful in the long run?

I heard the mayor in question discuss the project and his reasons for supporting the project and the use of eminent domain. One of the things that came out in the discussion, provided by the mayor himself, was that one reason they need to redevelop is that some years ago a highway had been built through the area. The result was "cutting off" the community and a gradual decay in the economic activity in the area the highway had been built through. Guess how the land to build the road had been acquired. Yep! Eminent domain. That earlier use of eminent domain seems to have led to a reduction in economic prosperity. Is there reason to think that this new use of eminent domain would be more successful than the last in enhancing economic prosperity for the community? Is there reason to think in general that the use of eminent domain for "economic development" purposes will actually succeed in enhancing the economic prosperity in the community?

I think the answer, in general, is no reason at all. If the use of eminent domain could be used to correct a market failure, then perhaps. What sorts of government projects could use eminent domain to correct a market failure?
 
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