An alternative for dealing with blight

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David Sucher at City Comforts, the blog, reminds us that there is a better alternative to eminent domain for dealing with blight -- nuisance abatement. If a property is blighted in the literal sense of the word, require the owner to clean it up, or clean it up for him and send him the bill.

We already do this to some extent -- the city will mow the grass on an untended property then bill the owner, for example. This alternative wouldn't satisfy some public officials, because the aim of some urban renewal is not to clean up blight, but to get ownership out of the hands of one group of owners into the hands of another, and "blight" is defined broadly enough to make this possible.

In the previous entry, Sucher calls attention to a new meaning for the word "persuade":

Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy has said that eminent domain is an important tool. The city used the threat of eminent domain to persuade Pittsburgh Wool Co. to make way for an expansion of H.J. Heinz Co. facilities, which were later purchased by Del Monte Food Co.

The city was persuasive in the same way that a man with a gun at your head is persuasive.


Joseph Wallis said:

I can say that a similar method has worked on my neighbor to certain extent. I kept calling the PD to tow off the abandoned vehicles parked in front of my residence that my neighbor would drag in. After about the 5th one he figured out that people weren't going to put up with his mess anymore and stopped leaving junkers on the front of the street.

It is up to us citizens to do code enforcement, but likewise it is up to the city to timely address code violations and address all equally, not just the ones they want to take over the property ownership.

susan said:

Regarding using child labor to help trim high grass and pick up trash, I guess some group got tired of looking at the trash and untrimmed grass the City of Tulsa is supposed to mow and trim near Memorial today. The kids picking up trash and trimming tall grass might have been 16 yrs old or less but they certainly were not the normal mowing crew we see when the city finally mows. It's possible the City of Tulsa brought in these kids that had committed small crimes where they needed community service, or they might have been a group that is tired of waiting on the job to be done right.

As annoying it is to see the police department waiting at speed traps trying to meet their ticket quota,I certainly have seen plenty of police speeding when their lights were NOT on and police think they are above the law to speed as they wish.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on October 17, 2005 11:24 PM.

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