Eminent domain

WichitaLiberty.TV: John Todd and the fight against blight

WichitaLiberty.TV: John Todd and the fight against blight

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: John Todd explains how cities in Kansas are seeking additional power to seize property, and tells us why we should oppose this legislation. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 188, broadcast March 17, 2018. Shownotes John Todd’s video at YouTube John Todd’s written testimony to the Kansas Legislature Kansas Legislature: HB 2506: Rehabilitation of abandoned property by cities. This is where you can find the text of the bill, supplemental and fiscal notes, plus the legislative history, including votes. Bob Weeks: Property under attack in Kansas
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Property under attack in Kansas

Property under attack in Kansas

Local governments in Kansas are again seeking expanded power to seize property. In Kansas, officials of many city governments feel they don't have enough power to deal with blight. This year, as in years past, there is legislation to expand the power of cities to seize property. [1. Kansas Legislature. HB 2506. Rehabilitation of abandoned property by cities. Available at http://kslegislature.org/li/b2017_18/measures/hb2506/.] [1. Weeks, Bob. Power of Kansas cities to take property may be expanded. Available at https://wichitaliberty.org/kansas-government/power-kansas-cities-take-property-may-expanded/.] John Todd, along with Paul Soutar, made a video to explain the bill and the surrounding issues. It's just five minutes in length.…
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In Kansas, the war on blight continues

In Kansas, the war on blight continues

Kansas governments are trying -- again -- to expand their powers to take property to the detriment of one of the fundamental rights of citizens: private property rights. Last year cities in Kansas lobbied for a bill that would expand their powers to take property from its lawful owners, all in the name of saving neighborhoods from "blight." Governor Brownback vetoed that bill, explaining, "The right to private property serves as a central pillar of the American constitutional tradition."[1. Weeks, Bob. Governor Brownback steps up for property rights. https://wichitaliberty.org/kansas-government/governor-brownback-steps-property-rights/.] The governor further explained: "The broad definition of blighted or abandoned…
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In Wichita, revealing discussion of property rights

In Wichita, revealing discussion of property rights

Reaction to the veto of a bill in Kansas reveals the instincts of many government officials, which is to grab more power whenever possible. When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that justifies it. -- Frederic Bastiat Kansas Governor Sam Brownback's veto of a bill that gives cities additional means to take blighted property has produced reaction from local officials in Wichita. The bill is Senate Bill 338. As has been noted…
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Wichita City Council speaks on blight

Wichita City Council members speak in opposition to Kansas Governor Sam Brownback's veto of Senate Bill 338, which would have given cities additional power to take property. April 12, 2016. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. For more on this issue, see Governor Brownback, please veto this harmful bill.
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Governor Brownback steps up for property rights

Governor Brownback steps up for property rights

Today Kansas Governor Sam Brownback vetoed Senate Bill 338. As explained by John Todd, this bill unnecessarily and dangerously increased the power of cities over private property rights. Thank you to the governor for understanding the harm of this bill and acting appropriately. Most of all, thank you to John Todd for recognizing the bill's danger, for his committee testimony, and for his tireless work in helping inform the governor and his staff about this bill. Following, the governor's veto message: The right to private property serves as a central pillar of the American constitutional tradition. It has long been…
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Wichita planning results in delay, waste

Wichita planning results in delay, waste

Wichita plans an ambitious road project that turns out to be too expensive, resulting in continued delays for Wichita drivers and purchases of land that may not be needed. A major road construction project in east Wichita is deferred after the design is too expensive, reports the Wichita Eagle. (East Kellogg interchange plan getting major reboot, August 30, 2014) It's bad news that Wichita drivers will suffer through more years of delay as they travel through east Wichita. The value of the lost hours sitting in traffic? It's impossible to say. But here's something that will probably be easy to…
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Government planning, itself, is dangerous

The very existence of a government plan is dangerous, as its construction creates powerful constituencies that have shaped it to fit their needs and are highly motivated to see it implemented. In Sunday's Wichita Eagle, Sedgwick County Commissioner Tim Norton defended the regional community planning initiative underway in south-central Kansas. (Tim Norton: Planning effort helps shape region’s future) Much of the Commissioner's article simply described the program and the need for it in vague generalities that are neither correct or incorrect, and which do little to advance understanding of what is really likely to happen. But Norton did write something…
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Special interests will capture south-central Kansas planning

Special interest groups are likely to co-opt the government planning process started in south-central Kansas as these groups see ways to benefit from the plan. The public choice school of economics and political science has taught us how special interest groups seek favors from government at enormous costs to society, and we will see this at play over the next few years. Sedgwick County has voted to participate in a HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant. While some justified their votes in favor of the plan because "it's only a plan," once the planning process begins, special interests plot to…
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In Kansas, planning will be captured by special interests

The government planning process started in south-central Kansas will likely be captured by special interest groups that see ways to benefit from the plan. The public choice school of economics and political science has taught us how special interest groups seek favors from government at enormous costs to society, and we will see this at play again over the next few years. This week the Sedgwick County Commission voted to participate in a HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant. While some justified their votes in favor of the plan because "it's only a plan," once the planning process begins, special…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Wednesday December 14, 2011

Property rights in Wichita. At yesterday's meeting of the Wichita City Council, the city approved its legislative agenda. The city incorporates the agenda of the League of Kansas Municipalities. One plank: "We support increased flexibility for local governments to use eminent domain for economic development purposes, including blight remediation, without seeking legislative approval." Susan Estes of Americans for Prosperity appeared before the council, asking members to strike this provision, as the taking of property by eminent domain for the purposes of giving it to someone else is one of the worse violations of property rights and freedom. No council member…
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Eminent domain reserved for use in Wichita

As part of the plan for the future of downtown Wichita, the city council was asked to formally disavow the use of eminent domain to take private property for the purpose of economic development. The council would not agree to this restriction. Susan Estes noted that the legislative agenda that the city council passed earlier in the meeting supported "home rule and local control as the most valid solution for recurring legislative issues." High on the list of these issues is eminent domain. Estes asked that the city adopt a statement that the city will not use eminent domain to…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Tuesday December 7, 2010

Political pretense vs. market performance. What is the difference between markets and politics or government? "There is a large gap between the performance of markets and the public's approval of markets. Despite the clear superiority of free markets over other economic arrangements at protecting liberty, promoting social cooperation and creating general prosperity, they have always been subject to pervasive doubts and, often, outright hostility. Of course, many people are also skeptical about government. Yet when problems arise that can even remotely be blamed on markets, the strong tendency is to 'correct' the 'market failures' by substituting more government control for…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Thursday October 14, 2010

Wichita mayor to lead LKM. City press release: "Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer was elected as the 81st president of the League of Kansas Municipalities (LKM) during the organization’s annual conference Tuesday morning in Overland Park. ... He also urged his fellow local leaders to restore the public’s confidence in government. 'We need to have our citizens recognize the value of competent government, and why our freedoms and security depend on it,' he said." As noted a few days ago on these pages, the League of Kansas Municipalities is a special interest group working in favor not of the citizens who…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Tuesday October 12, 2010

Wichita Visioneers in Louisville. The Wichita Business Journal's Emily Behlmann reports on a trip by Wichitans to Louisville to get ideas on transforming Wichita's downtown. Hopefully they won't get this idea, as reported yesterday by the Louisville Courier-Journal: "The heavily subsidized 4th Street Live entertainment district has come under criticism from locally owned businesses for receiving millions of dollars in tax breaks and government subsidies -- including a controversial, $950,000 city loan that won't necessarily have to be repaid." According to Wichita planner Goody Clancy, heavy subsidy isn't supposed to be necessary in Wichita. And, I hope all the planners…
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Goody Clancy: public subsidy required for Wichita downtown plan

The recent presentation of the draft master plan for the revitalization of downtown Wichita gave Wichitans a preview of the forms of public assistance that Goody Clancy recommends the city use. The plan may be viewed at the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation website. It is a given, according to Goody Clancy, that downtown development will require public subsidy. Here's an example as to why it is necessary: One of the issues with downtown development, especially in Wichita according to Goody Clancy, is "land acquisition & land lease issues." It is contended that land ownership is fragmented, and assembling parcels for…
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Letters on Wichita Bowllagio

Letters recently appeared in the Wichita Eagle regarding the proposed Bowllagio project, a west side entertainment destination. Bowllagio is planned to have a bowling and entertainment center, a boutique hotel, and a restaurant owned by a celebrity television chef. The developers of this project propose to make use of $13 million in STAR bond financing. STAR bonds are issued for the immediate benefit of the developers, with the sales tax collected in the district used to pay off the bonds. The project also proposes to be a Community Improvement District, which allows an additional two cents per dollar to be…
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Jeff Fluhr updates status of downtown Wichita

Last Friday, Jeff Fluhr, president of the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation, addressed members and guests of the Wichita Pachyderm Club. His topic was the future of downtown Wichita and its revitalization. "It's very important that we have a downtown that is very clear and very concise on where it wants to go," he said. He likened the development of downtown to the planning of an automobile trip, so that we don't make major investments that we later regret. The potential of increased private investment is an important goal for downtown. Predictability will help the private sector invest, he said. As…
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