Commentary

First Kelo Hit?

The dust has barely settled and public officials are already starting up their bulldozers! Washington DC mayor Anthony Williams, along with council members could barely hide their glee at yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling. D.C. officials want to acquire 14 acres near the Anacostia waterfront by the end of the year to build a stadium for the Nationals. In addition, they are trying to buy the 1950s-era Skyland strip mall in Southeast to build a larger, upscale retail complex. D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) said that the ruling should give the city a powerful hand during negotiations with the 33 property owners at the ballpark site. “It puts to rest the issue of whether the city has legal rights to take the properties,” Evans said. “This strengthens our hand to get control of the property. Hopefully, it will encourage owners to settle with the District…and move on.” Property owners will have 30 to 45 days to negotiate with the city, Mitten said. If a deal is not reached, the city will seize the land, and a court will decide the sale price. Maybe this isn’t too far fetched afterall.

Geoffrey Segal is the director of privatization and government reform at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets. He is also editor of Reason's Privatization Watch.