Today the Pacific Legal Foundation filed this brief on behalf of Homer and Julie Tourkakis, property owners and victims of eminent domain abuse in the city of Arnold, Missouri. Homer Tourkakis's dental practice is being targeted because the City wants to construct the Arnold Commons, a large retail shopping center that will include a Lowe's Hardware Store, and Office Depot, and other shops.
We argue that Missouri's TIF Act, the law under which the City claims to have power to condemn the Tourkakises' property, actually does not allow cities like Arnold to condemn this land. In addition, we argue that a broad interpretation of the TIF Act would violate the Missouri Constitution.
The Orange County Register has this editorial on the ballot initiative in California to try to restrict eminent domain abuse.
[S]upporters of a more traditional, constitutional view of private property are back again with the California Property Owners and Farmland Protection Act. Its backers earlier this month turned in more than 1 million signatures to the California Secretary of State, which must certify 694,354 valid signatures to secure it a spot on the June 2008 ballot. The measure is similar to Prop. 90, but it doesn't include any restrictions on regulatory takings. The most controversial provision is one that stops the government from setting "the price at which property owners sell or lease their property." In a free society, that shouldn't be controversial at all. The measure would not end current rent-control statutes, but would simply allow property owners to set their rents at the market rate once a vacancy opens up.
The Wall Street Journal has an important, in-depth look at the "exactions" that are increasing housing costs and standing in the way of the American Dream. It focuses on many of the cases that the Pacific Legal Foundation has litigated, including the case of the Banzons, who were told by city bureaucrats that they had to pay $142,715 for a permit allowing them to build a home, and the Griswold family, who were told that if they wanted a building permit, they had to sign an agreement giving up their constitutionally protected right to vote on property assessments. (The Griswold case is now on appeal before the Ninth Circuit.)
Larry Gilbert has this report on a recent League of California Cities event held to discuss eminent domain reform in California. Unfortunately, it looks like the League is still trying to deceive voters about what their proposal would accomplish.