There's a way to do eminent domain right, and there's a way to do eminent domain wrong. If you have to take somebody's property, you make it right. I don't have a dog in the fight in the rightness or wrongness of building new hospitals in Lower Mid-City, but this process has been wasteful, divisive and feudalistic.
After years of fighting, Lower Mid-City is about to face the bulldozer, and property owners are going to get nickel and dimed for their homes - homes they did not choose to leave. For the hospitals, there was usable land elsewhere, and there were already existing buildings ready for renovation. (And waste and inefficiency involving tax dollars makes me angry, since I drive past acres of land housing the shell of the Lindy Boggs Medical Center every day)
Liprap once posted a map that demonstrated a massive conflict of interest. I can't find the link, but maybe she'll provide it.
A lot of speculators "invested" in property around the boundaries of the new hospitals. They invested, and then they let those properties moulder (stagnating the vitality of the neighborhood) during the recovery. This was due either to them not knowing what was going to happen to the neighborhood (why invest more money just to have the state nickel & dime you then tear your stuff down) or they did know what would happen, and hoped to redevelop the properties or sell them at a higher value once the new hospitals were being built.
I have no problem with people making money, but at the point of investment, the plans were not yet complete, and residents were still trying to recover their property and revitalize their neighborhood. All this during a recovery process so disorganized that some residents old and new sunk rebuilding money into property to be bulldozed less than 5 years later.
I wonder what the coming class action lawsuit will look like?
Sound familiar? It should. This kind of behavior was codified back in June of 2005 with the Kelo case. It was a BFD at the time, if I recall. Especially to conservatives. States like Georgia immediately constructed legislation to limit and define the state's eminent domain process.
I guess that didn't happen in Louisiana, though one would question Bobby Jindal's conservative credentials for allowing a process like this to continue in the ways that it has.