Both proved that Government cannot make a city . . . but it sure can undo one . . .
Now comes the new twist in the wake of Kelo v New London . . . Big Government coming to the aid of Big Developers by using Eminent Domain in their behalf . . . all for alleged public "benefits" such as increasing the tax base. Of course, you'd expect such things to happen in New York City where Big Government is a way of life. . . . but Auburn???
From the Post-Standard: In Auburn, individual rights clash with 'the greater good'
Pioneer wants Auburn to take private properties so it can build a hotel and conference center. One can just imagine something like that happening in Utica. . . . a hard pressed Upstate city desperate for some economic activity . . . and local officials desperate to leave their "mark" . . . what an easy thing to do. . .
People in Auburn sense the wrongness of this and are protesting . . . but will their government listen? And will even their neighbors listen?
Here are thoughts to ponder.
Article VIII of the State Constitution provides that:
Is it OK for Government to loan its power for the same private purpose?No county, city, town, village or school district shall
give or loan any money or property to or in aid of any individual, or
private corporation or association, or private undertaking . . .
Downtowns take generations to develop. As nice as the Utica Radisson and surrounding "new" City Hall and Kennedy Plaza development is . . . it is nothing near the dense economic activity that they replaced. Downtown Utica, even when shabby, was still functioning when Urban Renewal and Government intervention destroyed it.
Places like Auburn and Utica were not built by the government. They were built by individuals -- entrepreneurs -- who risked their own money in ventures. How many would be willing to take similar risks in the future if their hard work and vision can be taken from them by the government teaming up with a competitor?
Fighting Kelo-like eminent domain actions may wind up creating more "public benefits" than a developer's flashy proposals.