Los Angeles (December 18, 2007) – "You know the great thing about America is once you own property - you own it," says Drew Carey in a new Reason.tv video examining eminent domain abuse. "You can do anything you want with that property. You can build a house on it, a business. You can plant flowers, grow daisies. Whatever you want to do with it, it's your property. You own it. And the only way somebody can take your property is if they steal it. Am I right? That's why the government invented eminent domain."
And steal it they will. Los Angeles used the power and threat of eminent domain to take a popular Hollywood bar and numerous other small businesses along Hollywood and Vine so that the city could hand the land over to private developers planning to build a W Hotel and million-dollar condos.
Carey says what goes around, comes around, and maybe the W Hotel should look over its shoulder, since someday the government might decide to take that land - again. "[W]ho knows, maybe 20 years from now, just when the W Hotel is making a profit, somebody with deeper pockets is going to come along, steal their land with eminent domain, and build something better."
Just down the freeway from Hollywood and Los Angeles sits Anaheim, where Mayor Curt Pringle says the city is experiencing "great" redevelopment results without using eminent domain. The Reason.tv video illustrates how Pringle has been able to revitalize parts of Anaheim by working with property owners instead of taking their property.
Full Video Online
The new Reason.tv Drew Carey video, Redevelopment: A Tale of Two Cities, is online at http://reason.tv/video/show/58.html. Reason.tv's video examining eminent domain abuse in San Diego, California, is here and an archive of Reason.tv videos hosted by Drew Carey is here.
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Chris Mitchell, Director of Communications, Reason Foundation, (310) 367-6109