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THE NATION

An Eminent Domain High Tide

Riviera Beach, Fla., wants to displace about 6,000 of its residents and raze their homes to build a yachting and residential complex.

By John-Thor Dahlburg, Times Staff Writer

November 29, 2005

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. "” It's across the inlet from Palm Beach, but this town "” mostly black, blue-collar and with a large industrial and warehouse district "” could be a continent away from the Fortune 500 and Rolls-Royce set.

But Riviera Beach's fortunes may soon change.

In what has been called the largest eminent-domain case in the nation, the mayor and other elected leaders want to move about 6,000 residents, tear down their homes and use the emptied 400-acre site to build a waterfront yachting and residential complex for the well-to-do.

The goal, Mayor Michael D. Brown said during a public meeting in September, is to "forever change the landscape" in this municipality of about 32,500. The $1-billion plan, local leaders have said, should generate jobs and haul Riviera Beach's economy out of the doldrums.

Opponents, however, call the plan a government-sanctioned land grab that benefits private developers and the wealthy.

"What they mean is that the view I have is too good for me, and should go to some millionaire," said Martha Babson, 60, a house painter who lives near the Intracoastal Waterway.

"This is a reverse Robin Hood," said state Rep. Ronald L. Greenstein, meaning the poor in Riviera Beach would be robbed to benefit the rich. Greenstein, a Coconut Creek Democrat, serves on a state legislative committee making recommendations on how to strengthen safeguards on private property.

With many Americans sensitized to eminent-domain cases after a much-discussed ruling by the Supreme Court in June, property-rights organizations have been pointing to redevelopment plans in this Palm Beach County town as proof that laws must be changed to protect homeowners and businesses from the schemes of politicians.

"You have people going in, essentially playing God, and saying something better than these people's homes should be built on this property," said Carol Saviak, executive director of the Coalition for Property Rights, based in Orlando. "That's inherently wrong."

"Unfortunately, taking poorer folks' homes and turning them into higher-end development projects is all too routine in Florida and throughout the country," said Scott G. Bullock, a senior attorney for the Institute for Justice, based in Washington. "What distinguishes Riviera Beach is the sheer scope of the project, and the number of people it displaces."

In June, a divided U.S. Supreme Court approved the plan of New London, Conn., to force some homeowners to sell their properties for a private development that was supposed to generate more jobs and tax revenue. That ruling has led to moves in Congress and at least 35 states, including Florida, to restrict the use of eminent-domain seizures of private property.

In Florida, the law allows local officials to take private land for redevelopment if they deem it "blighted." In May 2001, a study conducted for the city found that "slum and blighted conditions" existed in about a third of Riviera Beach, and that redevelopment was necessary "in the interest of public health, safety, morals and welfare."

A skeptical Babson, who lives in a single-story, concrete-block home painted aqua that she shares with parrots and a dog, did her own survey. For three months, she walked the streets of Riviera Beach photographing houses classified as "dilapidated" or "deteriorated" by specialists hired by the city.

The official study, she said, was riddled with errors and misclassifications. Lots inventoried as "vacant" (one of 14 criteria that allow Florida cities or counties to declare a neighborhood blighted) actually had homes on them built in 1997, she said. One house deemed "dilapidated," she found, was two years old.

Rene Corie has lived for nine years in a custard-yellow home near the Intracoastal. When the house was earmarked for acquisition under eminent domain four years ago, the 56-year-old seamstress became so depressed she couldn't put up her Christmas tree. She and her husband decided to fight City Hall in order to keep their home, or at the least, be paid a fair market price for it.

"We tried to elect a new mayor, we went around to churches, we stood on street corners with signs," Corie said. "When we got home from work, me and David would get into the truck and go door to door, and all day Saturday and Sunday."

Corie said she could be served at any time with another letter of acquisition for the house and the double lot it sits on. "My home is no longer my own," she said.

Mayor Brown and Floyd T. Johnson, executive director of the Riviera Beach Community Redevelopment Agency, did not respond to repeated requests from The Times for an interview.

The redevelopment agency's website says the plan will "create a city respected for its community pride and purpose and reshape it into a most desirable urban [place] to live, work, shop, and relax for its residents, business and visitors."

In past media interviews, Brown has said his city was in dire need of jobs, and that if officials weren't allowed to resort to eminent domain to spur growth, Riviera Beach could perish. '

Dee Cunningham, who made an unsuccessful bid for mayor in 2003, said the blueprint was written to benefit developers. Her own flower shop has been classified as "functionally obsolete" under the plan and could be razed.

"People here are so stressed out from being under threat of eminent domain," said Cunningham. "It's like living in Iraq with a bomb threat."

The median household income in Riviera Beach in 2000 was $32,111 compared with $94,562 in nearby Palm Beach, the U.S. Census said.

The redevelopment project designed to bootstrap Riviera Beach to prosperity is supposed to take 15 years. It involves moving U.S. Highway 1 and digging an artificial lagoon to serve as a yacht basin.

In September, the City Council chose a joint venture between a New Jersey-based yacht company and a builder of condominiums in Australia to serve as master developer. The developer, Viking Inlet Harbor Properties, and the city now must agree on a contract.

Residents affected by the plan are supposed to be eligible for new homes elsewhere in Riviera Beach and compensation for business damages. But the uncertainties have been maddening for some.

For 25 years, Bill Mars has sold and serviced luxury sportfishing boats in Riviera Beach. He hasn't been told yet, he said, whether a place in the redevelopment zone has been kept for him.

Under the plan, his sales and service center is supposed to make way for an aquarium.

"If you look at our business, we're one of the shining stars of Riviera Beach," Mars said. "Yet no one has come to us to say, 'We're going to take care of you and relocate you.' " That despite the plan's incorporation of a "working waterfront," including boat sales and repair.

The owners of another business in Riviera Beach's downtown accuse local leaders of not enforcing city codes in order to produce the decay that redevelopment is supposed to remedy.

"They want to leave everything in a dilapidated condition so it seems to everybody and to the government like it's blighted," said Mike Mahoney, a Riviera Beach native who runs Dee's T-Shirts.

Some foes of the redevelopment plan have attended seminars in Washington organized by property-rights advocates to learn how to better fight to save their homes.

Some residents have accepted offers from developers and moved out; others have retained lawyers to try to get a better price from the city. Still others are waiting to see what happens, noting the troubled history of local redevelopment efforts. "This is the fourth eminent domain CRA plan I've seen since I've been here," said Mars. "I survived those, and I may survive this one too."

Babson said she was counting on the Florida Legislature, as well as public interest kindled by the recent Supreme Court case, to halt the developers.

"We're definitely in Tiananmen Square: one little guy in front of all of those tanks," Babson said. "We've slowed them down, but we haven't stopped them."

Copyright 2005 Los Angeles Times

******************************

....and Mayor Michael Brown, being another misfit from that so-called Black middleclass. When Mayor Brown's usefulness runs out, the wealthy Jews, that he is bringing in to displace Black folks from their own property, through exercising his authority to use eminent domain, to provide the land for luxuries for the wealthy, will soon come back to haunt this real Sambo, UT, idiot, traitor, etc. Disgraceful Mayor Michael Brown's usefulness to the wealthy will soon runout, and he will meet the same fate, as the Black people he plans to uproot from their own property.

There people on this board referring to others as being a UT, Sambo, etc., etc., but when the true UT's, Sambos, traitors, idiots, hit the scene, the name callers wouldn't know the difference if a true U.T., Sambo, passed in front of them, Mayor Michael Brown, being a fine disgraceful example.

But Oh well, that is the perversion of that Black middleclass. Michael Brown will probably be honored, praised, and placed at the top of the list of the Who's, Who's of Black America.....

.....While individuals truly deserving of praise are unwarrantedly called Sambos, UTs, they can't be Black, they need mental treatment, etc.

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Wait a minute! Michael this is a horrible story and no sane political progressive would try to defend Michael Brown's use of emminent domain to throw poor people off of waterfront property to make way for upscale condominiums or over-priced developments. Now CF, on the other hand, will probably argue you down because for people like him it is all about the money.

Whatever happened to you in your past has made you so bitter you often cut your nose to spite your own face. If you have truly read the posts of your sworn enemies, you would know that our championing for the rights of the poor never ends, and that we are very vocal in criticizing people of our own ethnicity who do wrong (not who are perceived to be wrong).
Considering my knowledge of Agenda 21, Sustainable Loss, Biodiversity--I am not surprised. by this new development. It is just a "Pam" exercise from another level. You have no idea what is being planned for the 'not so distant future'.

I suppose this new development won't be a repeat of the Tulsa Riots 'cause I'm sure the good blaq folk will go quietly, right?...

Fine
My friend Isome:

I am a strong proponent of PROPERTY RIGHTS. This is one reason why I oppose the punitive progressive taxes that you are inclined to support.

You see in my view INCOME is used to PURCHASE PROPERTY. So it stands to reason that if you confiscate large percentages of a person's SALARY in the pursuit of a certain political agenda (quasi-socialism) then you also prevent this person from PURCHASING PROPERTY that the government can take via ED.

It is interesting, Isome, that when we look at the recent Supreme Court decision on the subject it was the LEFT LEANING wing of the court who voted to hand the states the decision of using ED for PRIVATE economic development purposes.

Normally when such bedrock decisions are made that are counter to the US Constitution we will here Jesse tell us "how far the CLOCK HAS BEEN TURNED BACK". I wonder why we did not hear such a metaphor used with this decision that the leftwing arm of the court brought to us?

It is not suprising being that COLLECTIVISM trumped INDIVIDUAL property rights.
quote:
Originally posted by Constructive Feedback:
My friend Isome:


We're not friends, cut the snide commentary because it distracts you from the topic.

quote:
It is not suprising being that COLLECTIVISM trumped INDIVIDUAL property rights.


The use of emminent domain to transfer private property to a private developer for personal profit is no more collectivism than Hitler's dictatorship was socialism.

Come on, man. Intellectual integrity... get some!
The redevelopment project designed to bootstrap Riviera Beach to prosperity is supposed to take 15 years. It involves moving U.S. Highway 1 and digging an artificial lagoon to serve as a yacht basin.---article

This kind of public rationale survives because of people like this mayor who endorses it.

We all remember the howl sent up by the hosts of 'conservative radio', and notably by Limbaugh. Well...Limbaugh is a resident of the Palm Beach-West Palm Beach area, if I'm not mistaken.

You WILL NOT hear him yelling over the airwaves about this.

This African American community will not be successful in getting their 'voice' heard in the mass media. Why?

The mass media is the voice of corporate America.

The mass media IS cororate America.

As in Republican.


PEACE

Jim Chester
Empty Purnata meet a misfit, misfit meet Empty Purnata

"Take that to Vanguard, please. In case you didn't notice, this is a Black forum, not a White conservative forum." by Empty Purnata

*************************
"Wait a minute! Michael this is a horrible story and no sane political progressive would try to defend Michael Brown's use of emminent domain to throw poor people off of waterfront property to make way for upscale condominiums or over-priced developments. Now CF, on the other hand, will probably argue you down because for people like him it is all about the money.

Whatever happened to you in your past has made you so bitter you often cut your nose to spite your own face. If you have truly read the posts of your sworn enemies, you would know that our championing for the rights of the poor never ends, and that we are very vocal in criticizing people of our own ethnicity who do wrong (not who are perceived to be wrong)." by Isome

"man....you sound like one of those bubba types from texas.........." by Kevin41 directed at Blacksanction

Ya Right......

......based on the absurd and totally baseless inaccurate comments of condemning, and/or unwarranted character assassination of a Michael Lofton, a CF, a Blacksanction, and/or others, while giving praise to that truly fitting misfit set, you couldn't convince me, CF, a Blacksanction, the Black underclass, and/or others that your word is true, be it Isome, a Kevin41, Empty Purnata, and/or others.

***********************

...See what I mean, when the human trap is set, it doesn't take long to catch someone from this board who wouldn't know an UT, a misfit, a disgraceful individual if the two were sitting side by side taking a crap, and the misfit had an alarm on his body to prove that he was a Sambo, a UT, sleazy, disgraceful, a jerk, unfit, incompetent, etc., etc!

"Judicial Panel removes Ross from Superior Court seat

By GENE JOHNSON JR., Staff Writer

INGLEWOOD "” Embattled Judge Kevin Ross, removed from the bench for ethical violations and lying to the state panel that investigations judges, has yet to file an appeal in an effort to be reinstated.

Ross had been privately sanctioned by the commission in February 2001 for abusing his authority and demeaning and humiliating defendants.

The recent decision by the Commission on Judicial Performance, a state agency, was reached Nov. 16, said Victoria Henley, director/chief counsel for the commission. The commission's decision will be final 30 days after it was rendered.

Ross, who gained a seat on the Inglewood Municipal Court bench in 1998 by defeating Judge Lawrence Mason in an election, became a Superior Court judge in 2000 when the municipal court system was eliminated.

He has 60 days after the commission's decision is final to file an appeal, Henley said.

Under the state Constitution, the commission may admonish, censure or remove a judge from office for violating judicial canon.

Ross had been assigned to Dept. 67 at the downtown Metropolitan Courthouse. He earned his law degree from Southwestern College, serving as president of the Black Law Students Association. He unsuccessfully ran for the Los Angeles City Council in 1995.

In an earlier statement, Ross said he was unsure whether he would appeal the commission's decision to the state Supreme Court.

"As I have previously indicated, I accept complete responsibility for those specific actions that did not exemplify the highest standards of judicial excellence," he said.

Ross gets his $149,160 yearly salary while he decides whether or not to appeal the commission's ruling.

Calls to Ross' attorney, Long Beach-based Edward George, were not returned.

The commission removed Ross after their investigation found that he engaged in a "shocking abuse of power" that led to the wrongful conviction and two-day jail stay for a woman challenging a traffic violation, Henley said.

In 2003, Ross threw a woman in jail who was challenging a seat belt violation. He concluded that she lied when she said she wasn't the motorist who was pulled over.

According to the commission, Ross never informed the woman of her right to an attorney or right to challenge the case. Once officials learned of the woman's plight, another judge released her and dismissed the case.

The commission also reported that Ross tried to cover up the 2003 jailing during hearings before the commission.

Ross was also cited for filming a pilot television series called "Mobile Court" in a Los Angeles strip club.

The show never aired, but sitting judges are forbidden from arbitrating disputes outside the public court system. Other television judges are retired."

*********************************

Speaking of UTs, Sambos, traitors, proven misfits, and/or disgraceful individuals, it wouldn't be surprise at all for me to learn where the Black middleclass name a street passing through Inglewood, or name a public school where the predominate student body are Black people, and/or pay tribute in some other fashion in the name of no good kicked off the bench for being no good, "Hanging the Innocent High while more than likely setting the Truly criminal free" former Judge Kevin Ross.

....but Oh Well, the Empty Purnata's can't do anything but but show praise for such an individual

...while making unfounded allegations against those in the Black community who have yet to become a part of such treasonous activity.

.....and mind you neither Kevin Ross, nor Michael Brown have any affiliation with the Republican Party, the conservatives, the Black conservatives, because both of these individuals at one time or another are definitely associated with the Democratic Party, the liberal community, the treasonous set of that no good Black middleclass.
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quote:
The use of emminent domain to transfer private property to a private developer for personal profit is no more collectivism than Hitler's dictatorship was socialism.


My enemy Isome:

Clearly you don't know about all of Hitler's plans with respect to taking care of the "chosen people".

It seems that you don't want to have real world evidence to cloud your "socialist" dreams.
quote:
Originally posted by Constructive Feedback:
My enemy Isome:

Clearly you don't know about all of Hitler's plans with respect to taking care of the "chosen people".

It seems that you don't want to have real world evidence to cloud your "socialist" dreams.


IF YOU THINK THAT ADOLPH HITLER WAS A SOCIALIST, YOU'RE A FUCKING MORON.

Adolph Hitler was a right-wing Fascist. If he was such a Socialist, why did he blame all of Germany's problems on Jews, Socialists, Communits and Liberals? Why did he go to war with the Soviet Union to fight against Communism?

Anyway, Socialism is different than Communism and is not about collectivism. Democratic Socialism strikes a balance between the two extremes of individualism and collectivism (because in all reality, no society is totally one or the other, neither is human nature).
quote:
Originally posted by Michael:
Empty Purnata meet a misfit, misfit meet Empty Purnata

"Take that to Vanguard, please. In case you didn't notice, this is a Black forum, not a White conservative forum." by Empty Purnata

*************************
"Wait a minute! Michael this is a horrible story and no sane political progressive would try to defend Michael Brown's use of emminent domain to throw poor people off of waterfront property to make way for upscale condominiums or over-priced developments. Now CF, on the other hand, will probably argue you down because for people like him it is all about the money.

Whatever happened to you in your past has made you so bitter you often cut your nose to spite your own face. If you have truly read the posts of your sworn enemies, you would know that our championing for the rights of the poor never ends, and that we are very vocal in criticizing people of our own ethnicity who do wrong (not who are perceived to be wrong)." by Isome

"man....you sound like one of those bubba types from texas.........." by Kevin41 directed at Blacksanction

Ya Right......

......based on the absurd and totally baseless inaccurate comments of condemning, and/or unwarranted character assassination of a Michael Lofton, a CF, a Blacksanction, and/or others, while giving praise to that truly fitting misfit set, you couldn't convince me, CF, a Blacksanction, the Black underclass, and/or others that your word is true, be it Isome, a Kevin41, Empty Purnata, and/or others.

***********************

...See what I mean, when the human trap is set, it doesn't take long to catch someone from this board who wouldn't know an UT, a misfit, a disgraceful individual if the two were sitting side by side taking a crap, and the misfit had an alarm on his body to prove that he was a Sambo, a UT, sleazy, disgraceful, a jerk, unfit, incompetent, etc., etc!

"Judicial Panel removes Ross from Superior Court seat

By GENE JOHNSON JR., Staff Writer

INGLEWOOD "” Embattled Judge Kevin Ross, removed from the bench for ethical violations and lying to the state panel that investigations judges, has yet to file an appeal in an effort to be reinstated.

Ross had been privately sanctioned by the commission in February 2001 for abusing his authority and demeaning and humiliating defendants.

The recent decision by the Commission on Judicial Performance, a state agency, was reached Nov. 16, said Victoria Henley, director/chief counsel for the commission. The commission's decision will be final 30 days after it was rendered.

Ross, who gained a seat on the Inglewood Municipal Court bench in 1998 by defeating Judge Lawrence Mason in an election, became a Superior Court judge in 2000 when the municipal court system was eliminated.

He has 60 days after the commission's decision is final to file an appeal, Henley said.

Under the state Constitution, the commission may admonish, censure or remove a judge from office for violating judicial canon.

Ross had been assigned to Dept. 67 at the downtown Metropolitan Courthouse. He earned his law degree from Southwestern College, serving as president of the Black Law Students Association. He unsuccessfully ran for the Los Angeles City Council in 1995.

In an earlier statement, Ross said he was unsure whether he would appeal the commission's decision to the state Supreme Court.

"As I have previously indicated, I accept complete responsibility for those specific actions that did not exemplify the highest standards of judicial excellence," he said.

Ross gets his $149,160 yearly salary while he decides whether or not to appeal the commission's ruling.

Calls to Ross' attorney, Long Beach-based Edward George, were not returned.

The commission removed Ross after their investigation found that he engaged in a "shocking abuse of power" that led to the wrongful conviction and two-day jail stay for a woman challenging a traffic violation, Henley said.

In 2003, Ross threw a woman in jail who was challenging a seat belt violation. He concluded that she lied when she said she wasn't the motorist who was pulled over.

According to the commission, Ross never informed the woman of her right to an attorney or right to challenge the case. Once officials learned of the woman's plight, another judge released her and dismissed the case.

The commission also reported that Ross tried to cover up the 2003 jailing during hearings before the commission.

Ross was also cited for filming a pilot television series called "Mobile Court" in a Los Angeles strip club.

The show never aired, but sitting judges are forbidden from arbitrating disputes outside the public court system. Other television judges are retired."

*********************************

Speaking of UTs, Sambos, traitors, proven misfits, and/or disgraceful individuals, it wouldn't be surprise at all for me to learn where the Black middleclass name a street passing through Inglewood, or name a public school where the predominate student body are Black people, and/or pay tribute in some other fashion in the name of no good kicked off the bench for being no good, "Hanging the Innocent High while more than likely setting the Truly criminal free" former Judge Kevin Ross.

....but Oh Well, the Empty Purnata's can't do anything but but show praise for such an individual

...while making unfounded allegations against those in the Black community who have yet to become a part of such treasonous activity.

.....and mind you neither Kevin Ross, nor Michael Brown have any affiliation with the Republican Party, the conservatives, the Black conservatives, because both of these individuals at one time or another are definitely associated with the Democratic Party, the liberal community, the treasonous set of that no good Black middleclass.



**Lofton....remember that you are the one who has had the problems, not me....and I could educate the hell out of you before you could teach me anything....so if you think that denying yourself of more knowledge would hurt me...then your dysfunctional, criminal, self-hating mind is really off track. You talking to me about not listening is like a poor man making fun of a rich man's mansion...the rich man is holding and the poor man needs to try and be more like him...not the other way around....so please quit that warped form of self-flattery....you live in a hood full of blacks and mexicans and you hate them all...now who really has a problem? It is like how you brag about being a republican, who are the biggest racists, murders, criminals and theives.....yet you try to turn around and castigate black people exclusively......negro have you lost your little mind? and what is a UT? a student at university of texas?
"Lofton....remember that you are the one who has had the problems, not me....and I could educate the hell out of you before you could teach me anything....so if you think that denying yourself of more knowledge would hurt me...then your dysfunctional, criminal, self-hating mind is really off track. You talking to me about not listening is like a poor man making fun of a rich man's mansion...the rich man is holding and the poor man needs to try and be more like him...not the other way around....so please quit that warped form of self-flattery....you live in a hood full of blacks and mexicans and you hate them all...now who really has a problem? It is like how you brag about being a republican, who are the biggest racists, murders, criminals and theives.....yet you try to turn around and castigate black people exclusively......negro have you lost your little mind? and what is a UT? a student at university of texas?" by Kevin41

....nope, you wouldn't have any worthwhile that I would be interesting in grasping.

...Nothing you have would interest me!
oh yeah you would....i could show you how to improve your financial condition, health and educational level and get some balls and see yourself as equal to whites...as opposed to be cursed for being born black (if that is the case).....but you like things the way they are in your community lofton...it gives you a chance to see your own sad azz existence as worth something as opposed to having to get off of your azz and improve it.....but hey, don't do me no favors....if you like how things are....then I love it.....you can'tbeat that kind of agreement can you?
quote:
Originally posted by Vox:
Am I missing something here, or don't we all agree here that this eminent domain threat in Florida is a bad thing? As was the Supreme Court decision?

What's with all the arguing if we all agree? Confused


Because Michael thinks Black people in general are amoral ne'er do wells, especially Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, et al. And, he doesn't think much of Martin Luther King either because in 1967 his family was the victim of some injustice and though they knew about it none of those people, including organizations like the NAACP, SCLC and SNCC didn't help them. As a result his mother, Esther, has been trying valiantly to get a court ordered judgement enforced but no one will listen to her. It has something to do with $5,000, too.

So, that makes the majority of Black people primitive beasts, except for the underclass, whom he prefers to associate with over other classes of Black people.

*gasp* I think I got it all.
that explains it all Isome.....but he'll never look inward and see why they were targeted as opposed to the million other blacks living around...i can tell the way he poo poo's facts in here about the social reality of blacks in this country that he would never humble himself to realize that maybe his people did mess up.....and that is not a bad thing....we all make mistakes...but when you are trying to posture yourself as a white man with a god complex...you will never take time out to look at self.........
I really hope you guys were not at work doing these posts nono

The issue at hand is that 6000 people are getting screwed in a land grab under the guise of ED. Whether you're a bleeding heart liberal or a cement head conservative this is just wrong but typical, considering who is running that state and country.

There needs to be strict oversight of ED claims or it will eventually lead to civil unrest (perhaps that is what is needed to get the laws to protect property rights).

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