Kelo Fallout Here in California

Alsco Laundry in San Diego looks like it is going to be the next victim of an eminent domain seizure for the betterment of a real estate developer.

The city wants to move out the laundry service to make way for the project, which also includes retail stores. But with 150 employees on its payroll and service to 3,000 area businesses, Scacco said the company doesn’t want to move.

“With the requirements that we have in our business, with the water requirements, the size of the building, there are very, very few, from what I understand at this point, sites that could accomodate us anywhere in San Diego County,” he said.

If this isn’t a clear example of rent seeking then I don’t know what is. This kind of thing is also bad for business over all. Now every business faces increased uncertainty and new businesses might decide not to start up in California due to this uncertainty.

Alsco Laundry is hardly alone in being threatened with forced evacuation. Thousands of state and local agencies can claim eminent domain. In California, hundreds of homes and businesses are facing eviction from their land.

Funny, I always thought liberals were for standing up for the little guy, and that it is the conservatives that will sell you out to the big corporations. Guess not.

Via James Hamilton.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, Law and the Courts, , , ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. bryan says:

    Egad, could you imagine trying to complete environmental requirement forms to move a laundry facility?

    Hopefully, someone in Calif can get something on the ballot to stop this kind of sickness.

  2. McGehee says:

    Hopefully, someone in Calif can get something on the ballot to stop this kind of sickness.

    And hopefully the Secretary of State won’t accidentally-on-purpose create a fatal conflict between the ballot proposition and the petition forms.

    [/extreme cynicism about Prop. 77]

  3. Markah says:

    Pretty much everyone I talk to is against this kind of taking – both liberals and conservatives.

    I am curious why the snark about liberals in the post? Is it because of the SCOTUS vote? Just an opportunity to get in a quick dig?

  4. lumi says:

    Hey, as a self-proclaimed liberal, I welcome the snarky comment about liberals (what else would cause me to post to a conservative blog?). As I started to roll up my sleeves on the issue of eminent domain, I was wondering where the liberals were too.

    Many liberals still have faith in the practice of social engineering to promote equality. This includes, in theory, the practice in the 60’s and 70’s of clearing entire inner city neighborhoods that were “blighted” for redevelopment. Also, most recently, environmentalists are exploring the concept of using eminent domain to take private property for conservation purposes (another conceivable “public purpose”).

    Unfortunately, what we are witnessing nationwide is that many of those who are most at risk from eminent domain seizures are from the lower or middle classes. Eminent domain is never used in the wealthy enclaves of the politically connected. Liberals who recognize this inequality ARE on the property rights bandwagon.

    There is conservative blame to pass around too. The current administration’s knee-jerk support of any policy favoring big business is a familiar theme. Luckily for the Bush administration, conservative stalwarts convinced the White House not to file a friend of the court brief in favor of the City of New London. [see, WSJ Editorial, “Ownership Society,” January 13, 2005.] Bush’s most recent statement made last week indicate a Flip Flop on this matter, where he said he was “troubled” by the Kelo ruling and he’s “concerned about government overreaching.”

    Fortunately for the regular citizens and small business owners, this is one issue where the left and right can generally agree.

    Good luck to Alsco Laundry and the citizens of San Diego! Brooklyn supports you.

  5. bryan says:

    The problem for “conservatives” with Kelo is that it features a clash between two basic “conservative” beliefs: personal property and economic growth. See John Hinderaker’s limp defense of the Kelo ruling. Further, most Americans aren’t really “conservative” in that sense, but more libertarian, which agrees more with the personal property belief than the economic development belief.

    As “lumi” noted, liberals have no such qualm, because they don’t necessarily believe in the principality of personal property (personal rights, but not the right to property), instead placing their faith in social engineering.

    I’m glad, however, that politicians have proven that they can listen to constituents when those constituents are sufficiently P.O.’d.

  6. Scott_T says:

    Here in the Inland Empire of Southern California (Riverside, Ontario, etc), you’ll see Agricultural land that is sitting idle or “under utilitized” as how the local city government sees fit, and then gobbled up.

    A local 80 acre parcel of agricultural land in Riverside has gotten sucked up already I believe because of it and they’ll stuff 160+ houses on it for the City of Riverside to gain tax dollars from, instead of the non-existant tax dollars from agricultural land.