Pro-eminent domain officials booted out by voters

Broad-based concern about eminent domain’s use for economic development purposes has apparently led to the ouster of several local officials in Missouri according to the Institute for Justice and the Castle Coalition. An entire slate of elected officials that approved eminent domain condemnations for an upscale shopping center in Sunset Hills, Missouri (St. Louis County) were sent packing..

In the weeks leading up to the election, elected officials in the St. Louis suburb understood that eminent domain could cost them their jobs. A week before the polls opened, incumbent Alderman Robert Brockhaus said, “This election is starting to seem more like a referendum on eminent domain than it is an actual judgment on a candidate’s job performance.”

Apparently, “job performance” doesn’t include decisions to bulldoze neighborhoods for upscale private developers. Read the article here.

Samuel R. Staley, Ph.D. is a senior research fellow at Reason Foundation and managing director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University in Tallahassee where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in urban planning, regulation, and urban economics. Prior to joining Florida State, Staley was director of urban growth and land-use policy for Reason Foundation where he helped establish its urban policy program in 1997.