Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Great Land Grab Continues--ACORN Helps

The Supreme Court's unconscionable Kelo decision continues to wreak havoc in states which have not passed legislation preventing government takeovers of private property for "public purposes" rather than the constitutionally-allowable "public use." That stylized "ghost" picture you see at the right is the proposed Atlantic Yards project superimposed over the existing private property being grabbed from those pesky "poor people."

Brooklyn will be the site of the new government gift to developers who need to get rid of generational landowners who just aren't producing those wonderful tax payments that the government so desperately needs to feed its social welfare programs. And if 220 years of protection of the rights of private property ownership and eminent domain have to be perverted by a Kelo-like takeover, so be it.

Bruce Ratner's Forest City Ratner Companies LLC is a huge real estate development firm with strong connections to the Democratic political machine that wishes to build a $4.9 billion, 22 acre mixed-use project on the ashes of the homes of the marginal working class residents (who foolishly vote consistently Democrat). Before Kelo, the project would have been out of the question since it would take private property and turn it over to other private parties. Only land taken by the government for governmental use on behalf of the public was allowed under the laws of eminent domain. This is a takeover of private property for private use which may or may not eventually provide a public benefit by virtue of taxes proposed to be earned from the private development. In common parlance, "a pig in a poke."

But oh, what a magnificent project! It would include the Barclay's Center (a mega bank) and multiple large wholesalers, retailers and financial institutions, as well as a sports arena that would become the new home of the New Jersey Nets basketball team (we westerners found it a little odd that a New York football team had a home field in New Jersey, but now that we're used to it, we won't find a New Jersey basketball home court in New York quite so strange).

Now all of this would be bad enough, but we also get to demonstrate how politics makes strange bedfellows. Those of us who have actually read corporate reports know that megacorporations are not the home of evil Republicans but are almost exclusively multinational Democrats. So the local crooks joining up with the development crooks shouldn't be much of a surprise. But guess who the surprise bedfellow behind the curtain is. None other than ACORN.

ACORN is the criminal enterprise which claims to stand for the little guy, the poor, the oppressed against the ravages of Republican big business. They have been among the loudest opponents of "gentrification" of poor neighborhoods which forces up property values and makes the area too expensive for Democratic/socialist proles to live in. In other words, exactly the same situation being created by this development.

ACORN has signed a binding agreement with the developer in which it agrees to support the project, no matter what. For its efforts, ACORN accountant Anita MonCrief reports that ACORN is receiving a $1 million loan, plus $500,000 in "donations" from the developer. A promissory note provided a low interest rate for the loan of 4.58% with a final balloon payment of $100,000 due May 31, 2011.

In order to do a really poor job of covering up this nefarious arrangement, Forest City Ratner wrote a letter of intent to ACORN in which it would disburse the $500,000 "grant" to the ACORN Institute. The Institute is an accounting gag which was created along with hundreds of others to put the money into ACORN tax-exempt nonprofit affiliates. In fact, ACORN will become a paid lobbyist for Forest City. Now that's what I call community organizing! Particularly since the only people not involved in this faustian bargain are the community homeowners who would like to continue living on their own property, thank you very much.

So why would a fine upstanding businessman (conservative credentials, no doubt) like Ratner become involved with a crypto-communist organization like ACORN? Well, think again folks. The mega-rich Ratner makes Van Jones look like Calvin Coolidge. His sister Ellen is a strong leftist commentator on National Public Radio. His role model is George Soros. His brother, Michael, is a Che Guevara superfan, and is president of the Marxist Center for Constitutional Rights, which incidentally also represents ACORN in its suit against the federal government for withholding future public funds formerly earmarked for ACORN.

Ratner and ACORN have a powerful ally in Congress. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) the two-faced (literally, this porcine legislator has at least two faces) has vociferously supported the project and nearly went ballistic over the withholding of Congressional grants to ACORN. But not to worry. On December 18, the ban expires, and Nadler will lead the pack in restoring millions of dollars of the taxpayers' money to ACORN's public feeding frenzy.

Are you scared yet? Coming to your town soon: The ACORN-Nadler-Ratner superdevelopment. Hope you don't live in the wrong part of town.


HamiltonsGhost said...

Lawhawk--It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy that ACORN can start up again with more funding than ever come December 18. At least they're helping to get rid of those pesky poor people. Then they can demand that landowners offer them new homes for free somewhere else, and if they don't get it, ACORN and the SEIU can just occupy premises currently in default or abandoned. What a fun game.

Unknown said...

HamiltonsGhost: It's an American dream. ACORN has a win-win situation. Drive out the poor and marginal, make big bucks for the effort, then demand that other developers in other areas provide housing and marginal financing for the poor they just drove out. What could be better? And they never have to abandon their Marxist philosophy of keeping the masses in permanent dependency while making beaucoup bucks for themselves and posing as the champions of the poor.

AndrewPrice said...

You know, it really makes me furious that the Supreme Court allowed this. Eminent domain was bad enough, but to allow it just because some developer wants the land? That is totally unAmerican. Our country is founded on respect for private property!

As for ACORN, someone should pursue then with RICO.

Unknown said...

Andrew: I had to read Kelo several times to make sure I was seeing what I was seeing. Sandra Day O'Connor departed the bench leaving us with a major dent in the Constitution.

As for ACORN, Obama and Holder are up to their expansive arses in the ACORN sewer. We'll have to wait for a new administration before we ever see the obvious RICO actions hit the courts.

StanH said...

When we start to take power back in 2010. Part of the plank for the Republicans a demand from the voters/taxpayers, to defund ACORN/SEIU or any of their affiliates, or it will their ass politically. Washington is a cesspool!

Unknown said...

StanH: ACORN and the SEIU are major impediments on the road back from serfdom. I agree that they have to be de-funded and bankrupted if possible. But as we discussed on an earlier post of Andrew's, too many specifics, particularly too many targeted "enemies," and the message gets lost. Any conservative who sticks to the platform/policy points we have been suggesting will have no problem with getting rid of those two.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, Those are the sorts of thing you do quietly. It's never good when an enemies lists become public... ask Nixon or Obama.

Even Bush's comments about only letting countries who invaded Iraq bid on contracts blew up on him. He should have just done it quietly. Always make the other guy look like he's paranoid: "they're out to get us."

Unknown said...

New York used to have an inside expression for this kind of urban renewal. They called it "slum relocation," and there was plenty of it going on. But even then, the old slums were replaced mostly by new, government-owned instant slums. At least then they took land for government use, not government handoffs to private developers.

The descriptions I've read say that the area is not even a slum. We can't all live in mansions and million-dollar condo/lofts like Charles Rangel. It sounds much more like a slightly down-on-its-luck working class neighborhood that wants to hold onto its dignity by holding on to its land. God love them, I hope they can succeed.

Unknown said...

CalFederalist: It sounds like you were in NYC maybe five or six years before I got there. I first heard "slum relocation" from a woman I worked with who had emigrated from Queens to Berkeley while working on her master's degree. She also had a slightly raunchy version of "New York, New York, It's a Wonderful Town," most of which is not appropriate for this blog. LOL

Writer X said...

LawHawk, do you think there are enough Dems who'll side with Nadler to restore ACORN funding?

Unknown said...

WriterX: I think the Democrats have become masters of bad timing. If they think that America has forgotten about ACORN by December 18, they will go forward. And they will be wrong.

BevfromNYC said...

The sad fact about the Kelo decision is that Pfizer pulled out of the development project 3 weeks ago after tearing all of the houses down.

Unknown said...

Bev: You are right on the money with that. New London, Connecticut, now has a big hole in the ground where homes and small businesses used to exist. Pfizer has pulled out, and now one of two things will happen. Either some private party will buy the property (though it's financially incomprehensible at the moment), or the city will have to exercise genuine eminent domain and take over the property for public use. But what public use? How will they afford it? When will they apologize to those driven out of their homes and businesses for this "mistake." Or as I called the Atlantic Yards project, "a pig in a poke?"

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