Greens United Against Eminent Domain Abuse
Green Party Calls Supreme Court Decision on Eminent Domain a Legalization of Theft
While Democratic and Republican officials and so-called leaders appear to side with developers or cower in silence, Greens vow to remain a bulwark against the condemnation of private homes.
The Green Party and the Libertarian Party are the two political parties in the United States not controlled by narrow corporate interests. Here is the latest announcement from the Green Party of the United States.
Green Party leaders sharply criticized the Supreme Court decision June 23 in the Kelo v. City of New London case, calling it a "legalization of theft."
The decision expands the power of government to condemn private property seizures ("eminent domain"), permitting officials to transfer property from one private owner to another.
"Working class and low income homeowners will be at special risk, since they provide less tax revenue, and the Court now gives permission for city councils and statehouses to evict and replace them with commercial and residential development for the sake of a wealthier tax base," said Steve Kramer, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States. "The Court has legalized theft -- theft from the poor for the rich."
Green leaders say that the party will remain steadfast in its opposition to the use of eminent domain to remove people from their homes under the license provided by the Kelo v. City of New London decision.
"Republican and Democratic officials -- including many liberal and progressive Democrats -- accept huge gifts from real estate interests that want to clear out neighborhoods for new development. Greens refuse all corporate contributions," said Peggy Lewis, who is also co-chair of the national Green Party. "In the wake of the New London decision, the choice between voting for a Green and voting for a Democrat or Republican in some races might spell the difference between keeping and losing your home."
Greens around the U.S. are fighting predatory development plans in which residents and small businesses face mass removal under strengthened powers of eminent domain:
Brunswick, Georgia faces a massive redevelopment plan targeting 135 blocks of the heart of Brunswick, the population of which is 78% black, with 57% in entrenched poverty. Elaine Brown, Green candidate for Mayor of Burnswick, is defending African American residents threatened under the plan, which has slated whole neighborhoods for brutal displacement through "takings by condemnation" and eminent domain. Ms. Brown has offered an alternative plan to make Brunswick a national model and a base for black economic empowerment and progressive social and political change.
In Brooklyn, New York, Park Slope Greens are working with other local activists in the Develop Dont Destroy Brooklyn Coalition to head off an attempt by billionaire developer Bruce Ratner to seize homes and businesses in Fort Greene and Prospect Heights. Mr. Ratner, with the support of the current Borough President and other Democratic elected officials, wants to build an arena and 19 high-end residential skyscrapers. Gloria Mattera, Green candidate for Brooklyn Borough President, is challenging the plan and has publicly exposed the secret sweetheart deals behind it. Ms. Mattera calls for a moratorium on big scale development of high rises and big box stores until developers agree to involve the community in decision-making and commit to maintaining the integrity of existing neighborhoods.
"The decision proves that liberals may be as likely as conservatives to side with wealthy and corporate interests, and sometimes even more likely," said Greg Gerritt, secretary of the Green Party of the United States. "We now have reason to fear judicial appointments made by Democrats as much as the hard-right appointments of President Bush. We clearly need a new spectrum to describe politics -- dedication to corporate power versus dedication to the rights of people and the health of the environment. Let there be no doubt where Greens stand."
Greens especially noted the dissenting opinion from Justice OConnor:
"Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private property, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms. As for the victims, the government now has license to transfer property from those with fewer resources to those with more. The Founders cannot have intended this perverse result."
Fred Foldvary: The Day Liberty Died
The Kelo Case -- Homeowners Lose Eminent Domain Abuse Case
Government Takings? What About Givings?
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