Monday, April 03, 2006

Sink These Putzes!

If you wanted to write a screen play that caricatured the issue of eminent domain you couldn't have even imagined this current scenario in affluent North Hills, Long Island. As the NY Post editorializes today ("Eminent Dementia") the town wants to use ED to confiscate a private golf course for another essentially private golf course.

In Mayor Natiss' view the acquisition of a "public" course (not really so since it would be restricted to North Hills property owners) would enhance local property values. As the Post points out, however, this is precisely the kind of taking that Kelo prohibits since it is designed to benefit exclusively "a particular class of identifiable individuals" (the property owners of the town).

What North Hills seeks to do is to enhance the value of some of the richest property in the region and, in the process, aggrandize the already wealthy (although in their defense there seems to be the kind of "well developed plan" that the SC and the NY Times saw as girding the defense of ED).

Sometimes, as Freud pointed out, it takes the truly irrational forms of behavior to really illuminate the so-called normal patterns. In this North Hills case what is exposed is the unseemly side characteristic of many ED property transfers. It is time for clarification and legislative reform.