One Cheer for Hiram Monserrate

A member of the NYC Council introducing legislation to limit the power of government is about as uncommon as a smile at the DMV, but Council Member Hiram Monserrate is making a modest effort with respect to limiting eminent domain abuse. A strong opponet of the Willets Point redevelopment scheme, Monserrate is introducing a bill that would force the city to define exactly under what conditions it can declare a neighborhood blighted, and would guantee that any displaced business owner is properly compensated.

Obviously, that doesn’t go nearly far enough, since “blight” — regardless of how it’s defined — is a bogus reason to take someone’s property. A good starting point might be for NYC to pass its own version of the 5th Amendment, which the Supreme Court eviscerated in its notorious Kelo decision. If there are to be takings, then at most they should only be for true public uses, such as roads and defense, not for economic development — i.e., gifts of property to private developers. Ideally, eminent domain would never be used under any circumstances — the government should just buy what little property it needs in the free market like anyone else — but but I’d settle for a return to the Bill of Rights.

2 comments for “One Cheer for Hiram Monserrate

  1. Mark Axinn
    August 24, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    Don’t get so excited over this scuzball so quickly.

    He also sponsored legislation requiring co-op boards to disclose the grounds for any rejections and affording contract vendees the right to sue co-ops for punitive damages if they don’t like the reason. So much for private property.

  2. JMB
    August 18, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    “but but I’d settle for a return to the Bill of Rights.”
    I totaly agree, Nice Post Jim.

    This “KELO” is a deceleration of rights for all government to use independently, as they may now see it convenient to override the true constitutions of the people, for their own private use, of our property. This supreme court kingly configurations, minded to the tormenting’s of our peoples history, and this United States constitution, must be rejected, and placed upon the supreme rights of the whole people, to revisit these issues of their rightful public use.

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