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Under eminent domain,
September 10, 2001 6:50 AM   Subscribe

Under eminent domain, a federal agency can "condemn" a piece of property and convert it to public use for the benefit of the greater community, while providing monetary compensation to the property owner. In Mississippi, however, officials at the state's economic development agency said they must seize (NYT link, login readit11, pass readit) 23 acres in the hands of African-American hold-outs to prove to Nissan that they can. What's especially interesting is that the local newspaper has pretty much ignored that aspect of the story in favor of covering the economic benefits. Is this a case of the rights of the few ceding to the rights of the many, or a case of a local government pushing people around because it can?
posted by headspace (19 comments total)

 
I'm not so sure that it is a case for local government simply pushing people around. That would be random and relatively haphazard. And come on, politics isn't about being the "bully" or anything... it's about money.

And wherever you can find the most of it. And so, it's a double slap, (1) They (those being pushed away) had less money, and secondly (2) they may have been less "appealing" as compared to a big truck company.

But, it is definitely more of the former. As money has a much larger lobbying role than simply "hey, let's do this cuz' we can"
posted by a11an at 6:56 AM on September 10, 2001


And another thing. .. . . this is the 10000th link thingy added ...

=)
posted by a11an at 6:57 AM on September 10, 2001


the state official quoted in the article is "Mr. Burns."

heh.
posted by o2b at 7:05 AM on September 10, 2001


It is? Cool! I'm glad I didn't post a picture of my favorite kittens of all time! But back on topic, what bugged me about this was that the EDA for Mississsippi said outright that Nissan wasn't going anywhere if they didn't get these 23 acres, that they were pushing the point now just to prove to Nissan (and I assume, other businesses interested in moving to the state) that they could and would do it. If the plant's coming whether they get this land or not, but the state will, hell or highwater, get that land, that's when it sorta slips from best interest of the public to outright bullying to me.
posted by headspace at 7:05 AM on September 10, 2001


In Mississippi, however, officials at the state's economic development agency said they must seize 23 acres in the hands of African-American hold-outs to prove to Nissan that they can.

Why did you neglect to mention that these black families has been offered significantly more money to move than neighboring white families, and they still held out for more? Why did you neglect to mention that the price is roughly ten times what the land is worth? Instead, you replay the extortionist "race card" being thrown down in the negotiations. This wasn't about race until those families decided they extort more money from the State of Mississippi by bringing in even handed, impartial, headline avoiding "helpers" like the Reverend Jesse Jackson.
posted by m.polo at 7:07 AM on September 10, 2001


But, it is definitely more of the former. As money has a much larger lobbying role than simply "hey, let's do this cuz' we can"

From Mr. Burns:

"It's not that Nissan is going to leave if we don't get that land," said James C. Burns Jr., the executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority. "What's important is the message it would send to other companies if we are unable to do what we said we would do. If you make a promise to a company like Nissan, you have to be able to follow through."

This is about letting big corporations know that Mississippi can be a bully too.
posted by o2b at 7:10 AM on September 10, 2001


lol, m.polo

But still, these people shouldn't be forced to sell. They've got property rights like all other individuals, and those should be respected -- especially by the government.
posted by dagny at 7:11 AM on September 10, 2001


m.polo: Where do you get the idea that they are holding out for more money? "State officials" said they were just holding out for more money. You're willing to take their word?
posted by o2b at 7:13 AM on September 10, 2001


Pardon, M.polo, but I didn't say it had anything to do with race. It doesn't even have anything to do with the money. My point was that the state plainly said they don't need the land, the company will move in with or without the land, but the state is STILL going to enact eminent domain. The families in question think that has something to do with race, so I mentioned that in my post. That wasn't the issue that interested me, thus that wasn't the question I posed. If you'd like to get angry at those families for calling something racism when you think it's not, please do. However, please don't take something I didn't do, out on me.
posted by headspace at 7:14 AM on September 10, 2001


I'd like to know where Jesse Jackson is??? Those poor white people are getting offered much less for their property. Surely Nissan and the good ole state of Mississippi are racist against white people. hehe :-)
posted by the_0ne at 7:23 AM on September 10, 2001


Sorry, I meant to say "that they were holding out for more money." Once eminent domain comes along, there is no more holding out.

Now they're in court trying to get more than $24,500 an acre. Which is much much less than what they had been offered previously.
posted by o2b at 7:30 AM on September 10, 2001


The government should not use eminent domain to get land for corporations. That's a huuuge denial of property rights, no matter what amount of money you're offered.
posted by dagnyscott at 7:53 AM on September 10, 2001


Now they're in court trying to get more than $24,500 an acre. Which is much much less than what they had been offered previously.

i'll take my foot out of my mouth myself:

$24,500 for each of their 24 acres is $588,000, in the same price range as originally offered.
posted by o2b at 8:40 AM on September 10, 2001


wld.com!? I work for that company and we supposedly shut down that site two years ago...

For some less-dusty information, check this page.
posted by mrbula at 9:18 AM on September 10, 2001


Pardon, M.polo, but I didn't say it had anything to do with race. It doesn't even have anything to do with the money. My point was that the state plainly said they don't need the land, the company will move in with or without the land, but the state is STILL going to enact eminent domain.

Except that you specifically cited the race of the property owners in your posting, pulling that detail from any number of others you might have selected. But you didn't; you chose their race. Perhaps next time, you should be more careful to concentrate on your thesis and not introduce other, inflammatory details that have nothing to your statements.
posted by m.polo at 11:32 AM on September 10, 2001


"The government should not use eminent domain to get land for corporations. That's a huuuge denial of property rights, no matter what amount of money you're offered."


Although it could be seen as an endorsement of Hobbes, do you think the economic benefit of the corporation's entrance into this region would be classifiable in the "greater good" section of government interference?
posted by j.edwards at 11:55 AM on September 10, 2001


Although it could be seen as an endorsement of Hobbes, do you think the economic benefit of the corporation's entrance into this region would be classifiable in the "greater good" section of government interference?

Nissan is building their plant anyway. This looks too much like greed as opposed to an eminent domain issue. I wouldn't be surprised if no one bought this land and it became worthless because its suddenly bordering an industrial area. Its one thing to say "this is our land and our community"' and another to say "pay up!"

m.polo, the article plays the race card right from the headline to the "white landower who got 60,000 dollars." The writers are just stirring the pot. NYT greatest paper in the world. Blah.

"How can you imagine this as anything but a public good?" Mr. Burns said.

Us hotheads are gonna tear down Burn's sun blocker machine.
posted by skallas at 12:09 PM on September 10, 2001


I don't care that Nissan is going to build their plant anyway. Aside from the moral debate about government using eminent domain for the benefit of corporations, don't you think that the state now has a contractual obligation to Nissan to produce the property as promised? The deal is done and now the state has to cough up the land no matter what it takes. It appears that these families have been offered an extremely large amount of money for their property. People lose their homes to eminent domain all over this country, every day of the year. I would bet that many of them don't even get the full market value of their property. These people have been offered TEN TIMES THE VALUE. Eminent domain isn't fair, but its real, all in the name of progress and economic growth. I guess now a court will decide if this is a proper application of eminent domain.

Yes it sucks that the government can come in and take your homestead for the "greater good," and you may not agree with their definition of same, especially when it is your home they are taking. But it's ridiculous to play the race game when the $600,000.00 facts don't appear to support the allegation. It makes a mockery of legitimate complaints of racism.

If these families are victorious and are able to keep their land and Nissan builds anyway, that property won't be worth half of its current market value situated next door to a noisy, nasty auto plant out in the middle of rural Mississippi. They'd be smart to take that money and run.
posted by Scorch at 1:12 PM on September 10, 2001


And another thing. .. . . this is the 10000th link thingy added ...

What happened to this one? I thought they were being saved for the benefit of all mankind...
posted by feelinglistless at 1:45 PM on September 10, 2001


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