Eminent domain for slum clearance hurts the poor

| | TrackBacks (0)

From The American Magazine, a sad story about eminent domain. Dr. Joseph Erondu, an immigrant from Nigeria, opened a dental clinic in Gaslight Square, a rundown neighborhood in St. Louis. After years of being a lone bright spot in a neighborhood known for drugs and prostitution, he heard the magic words: "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help."

Erondu was later thrilled to learn that the city was planning to redevelop the area--until he learned that he wasn't welcome in the new Gaslight Square. St. Louis wound up acquiring his land using eminent domain, forcing Erondu to rebuild his practice from scratch in another neighborhood. Perhaps as a result of the stress, Dr. Erondu fell ill while his new practice was being constructed. He died on June 23rd, 2005, the same day the Supreme Court handed down its infamous Kelo decision.

Erondu's property loss is a story that has been repeated across Missouri and across the United States. Entrepreneurs purchase property in a marginal neighborhood and struggle to build a viable business, only to have the city take their property and give it to a wealthier business with better political connections. Every time that happens, it sends a powerful message to future entrepreneurs that they should think twice before setting up shop in low-income communities.

That's just one of the ways in which urban renewal policies designed to help the poor do just the opposite. Many urban planners argue that the power of eminent domain is needed to combat "blight" in urban areas. But closer examination shows that eminent domain only shifts the problems of poverty to another neighborhood, while destroying the social fabric that is essential for a genuine revitalization of poor neighborhoods. States that truly care about the welfare of their urban poor should prohibit the use of eminent domain for private urban redevelopment projects.

The author of this article, Timothy B. Lee, has coauthored a policy paper outlining the history of eminent domain and its uses and abuses for the Show-Me Institute, a free-market-oriented public policy think-tank based in Missouri.

(Via Eminent Domain Review.)

0 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Eminent domain for slum clearance hurts the poor.

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.batesline.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/3293

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 30, 2007 8:06 PM.

Technical trouble was the previous entry in this blog.

ORU alumnus blogger on the changing of the guard is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed:
[What is this?]