Monday, May 03, 2010

Standard-Examiner Letter: Is Ogden City's Latest Downtown Blight Designation Bad For Business?

Added Bonus: A scholarly article thoroughly examining the economics of eminent domain for economic development and its effect on individual entrepreneurship

The Mayor and the City Council sit up there in the Council Chambers and treat us like we are stupid, and they know best. Like we are sheep being lead to the Slaughter. This Mayor and the Majority of the City Council has NO Regards for the property owners. This Blight finding is really about two things. 1. Tax Revenues, so the City can spend more money, and 2. Power to control and make new regulations. Both of which are bad for business and will not help growth or lower vacancy rates one bit. If spending money worked, then the Junction would not have a higher vacancy rates than the now declared Blighted area.

Standard-Examiner Letter to the Editor
Property owner questions blight designation
May 3, 2010

The consequences of eminent domain abuse are extremely dire for the low-income potential entrepreneur. An increase in the discretionary use of eminent domain for economic development would lead to a decrease in entrepreneurship. As local officials lack the knowledge and expertise to effectively promote private development, their political missteps can keep their localities in poverty by undermining entrepreneurship, and forgo the wealth it would have created. Moreover, entrepreneurs in the marketplace benefit when their economic decisions are correct and pay when their decisions are incorrect. This acts as a powerful incentive to make the right choices. Government does not face this incentive structure. For that reason, claims by government officials that they possess a more accurate picture of the economic landscape than actual market players should be met with extreme skepticism.

Competitive Enterprise Institute
This Land Ain’t your Land; this Land Is my Land
March 3, 2010
Just to get the conversation going this morning, we'll put the spotlight on this excellent Std-Ex Letter to the Editor from John Bowen, one of the downtown Ogden property owners who was ambushed at The Ogden City Confiscation Committee's sham blight hearing back on 4/16/10. As you'll recall, Mr. Bowen traveled from Durango, Colorado to personally attend that hearing, and to defend his individual property rights. Unfortunately this out-of-town real estate entrepreneur received a most unfriendly reception.

Mr. Bowen advances the proposition that Ogden City's Big Government-style intervention in this matter is "bad for business and will not help growth or lower vacancy rates one bit." And reading between the lines, Mr. Bowen seems to suggest that both the Godfrey Administration and the RDA Board are clueless regarding not only individual property rights but also what it takes to sponsor genuine entrepreneurial activity in downtown Ogden. Imagine that.

Being the curious type, we googled and found some additional evidence to support Mr. Bowen's several assertions:

In that connection, Marc Scribner, of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, published an interesting article this week about the economics of eminent domain for economic development entitled" This Land Ain’t your Land; this Land Is my Land." This paper is the only online document which we could find which thoroughly and specifically examines the economic relationship between centrally-planned RDA urban renewal projects (taking into account the inherent power of eminent domain) and long-term individual entrepreneurship.

We found this paper to be most enlightening.

We hope you'll all check it out.


history tells all said...

Comment bumped to front page

Curmudgeon said...

The Standard Examiner's tendency often to print press releases and public statements by elected officials without doing much, if any, fact-checking to see if the press release will stand up to probing has been commented on here for a while now.

I thought it might be interesting to offer an example of what can happen when a news staff [news editors and reporters] decide to go beyond the press release or public statement, and to ask a few questions the public officials involved might prefer not be asked.

In Baton Rouge, LA, this morning, I picked up a copy of the local daily, The Advocate. A little while ago, the head of the local school board announced that the competitive bidding process to select a firm to oversee a $19 million dollar construction project was over, and the contract would be awarded to an out-of-state firm, the Volker Company. The paper duly reported the announcement.

But then, the editors decided to look into matters a little more carefully, to track down rumors that perpahs the selection process had not been as clean and above board as the school board head claimed. So a reporter was sent to ask more questions. Then more questions. Then lots more questions. The result can be found here.

Really interesting what can happen when news editors look on press releases as the beginning of the reporting, not the end.

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