Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Randy Treadway

Mystery Department Store

Recommended Posts

[i have printed out some internet stuff for my first "Mommy's Famous Camp Care Package" of the summer and will definitley add good wishes from the PTU gang to Jess..

Nancy

Send her the L.A. Times article in this PTU topic....

<a href="http://www.peacethroughunderstanding.org/index.php?showtopic=2131" target="_blank">http://www.peacethroughunderstanding.org/i...?showtopic=2131</a>

....which will remind her that things could be worse!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John, think again. Check out what has happened in places like New London or maybe Groton, CT where the courts have ruled that cities can take private land and use it for commercial development under the premise that the city will benefit from the additional tax revenues.

Bill,

I would disagree with you that it's as simple as the city would get more tax revenues. There was a development plan in the Kelo v. City of New London case, to improve a blighted area of the city. A commericial district was part of that plan, other parts included residential and recreational areas. Thus, there were multiple benefits and the Court concluded that the sum of the parts produced a public benefit even though the planned commerical district would place some of the property in private hands. However, not everyone on the Court agreed with the majority; it was a 5-4 decision.

In the case of the Lowe's store in Toledo, there was no government sponsored development plan; Lowe's was simply building a strip mall on the edge of town. Eminent domain could not have been justified to benefit Lowe's, a private business. I assume the situation with the Macy's store was similar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, but unless there were tax dollars involved I doubt the city would have tried going after this land. This thing is actually pretty common - have a city declare a "Community Redevelopment Agency", name an area as blighted and force the businesses there to sell out. Watched it happen when I lived in Burbank. They ended up with several empty square blocks for several years until a mall was finally built. I can tell yu there were a lot of protests, but to no avail.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, but unless there were tax dollars involved I doubt the city would have tried going after this land. This thing is actually pretty common - have a city declare a "Community Redevelopment Agency", name an area as blighted and force the businesses there to sell out. Watched it happen when I lived in Burbank. They ended up with several empty square blocks for several years until a mall was finally built. I can tell yu there were a lot of protests, but to no avail.

I am not sure what happened in Burbank, but you can look at the Kelo decision for yourself (see attached Word document). The majority opinion of the US Supreme Court is clear - there is a public beneift in the case of a comprehensive development plan that includes transfer of some of the property to commercial interests and thus taking of property for such a multiuse development is permissable, but eminent domain cannot be used to merely benefit a private business. Thus, if eminent domain was really used in beautiful downtown Burbank take property in order to allow a private developer to build a strip mall, it was misused, which is a cause for judicial action.

post-216-1228859667_thumb.jpg

As they say in the newspaper business, "I stand by my story." The situation with regard to eminent domain may have been liberalized since 1964, but as the recent Lowe's situation in Toledo demonstrates, the law of the land still limits the use of eminent domain to cases where some public benefit can be demonstated. It would be a stretch to think the city could use it to allow Macy's to build a slightly larger store or put in a parking lot, even today.

P.S. I apologize for taking us off-topic. You can probably tell that I was a member of the class of '64 "Fighting Bluebirds" debate team.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's how Burbank, and I presume other cities, go about taking land for a developer.

1) Assess the current property values and the resultant tax payment based on rundown or single story structures

2) Assess the sales tax revenues from those stores

Then come up with a plan for a large mall (not a strip mall, but I guess it would work for that) and recalculate the property and sales tax from this new project.

Look at the difference, see the extra amounts that would pour into the city coffers, then show that as a reason why the city benefits enough to start condemning property.

They didn't take a say $100,000 building and put up another $100,000 one to replace it. I guess they could if they could show greater sales tax from the new one, but here they would replace say 50 $100,000 buildings with a $20,000,000 mall, and get 4x the property tax. Replace a bunch of slow moving family businesses with chains that never close and watch the sales tax soar.

Legal? Seemingly yes. Fair? Depends if you were one of the mom and pops.

What is worrisome is that the same thing is done with houses, not just businesses. In CT the houses came down to build a business, so the city got more tax revenues. What would happen, though, if someone showed up and said they wanted your house and the one next door to rip them down and build a McMansion? The city could be getting a larger property tax check, so watch out...

Bill (never a debater but a stubborn Irishman) C.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That recent Supreme Court decision was a huge jump in expanding the reasons that eminent domain seizures (or "acquisitions") can be legitimate (in the Court's eyes).

They went from a strict public use rationale (such as transportation infrastructure) to public benefit, and defined public benefit purely in terms of dollars.

That means increases in property taxes (via higher appraisals on replacement structures), and theoretically higher sales tax (converting private residences to a strip mall, for instance) would both qualify.

Towns are now free to declare a middle-class clean neighborhood "blighted", grab it all, and allow it to be redeveloped into luxury mansions, because the public "benefits" by higher property taxes. And the city council who approves it can turn right around and pocket the "benefit" by giving themselves pay raises. To say nothing of possible financial tie-ins to the developers.

Answerable to the electorate? Not necessarily.

That, IMHO, is ripe for abuse, bribery, etc., as you can well imagine.

And absolutely nobody is free from the risk of their property being grabbed, under this new Court definition. Your zip code alone might condemn you, or simply a whim of somebody in the city planning department.

Last year when this came out, I heard that somebody was moving to get eminent domain declared on a farm that one of the Supreme Court justices owns somewhere in the Northeast- like maybe New Hampshire. Whatever became of that move anyway? All is fair in love and judicial farces, as they say...

The danger is compounded in California because of a constitutional amendment proposition that got voted in during the 1970's, that basically locks in the appraised value of a residence when you purchase it. With some exceptions for major remodeling, the house can't be reappraised until it is sold. That basically passes the bulk of the property tax burden to recent buyers (if you think about it).

But if a city can grab those properties, kick out the residents, and allow a developer to rebuild, even if it's an identical structure the property can then be appraised and the annual property tax could quadruple.

And that alone qualifies for eminent domain (the public "benefits") under the Supreme Court definition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In CT the houses came down to build a business, so the city got more tax revenues. What would happen, though, if someone showed up and said they wanted your house and the one next door to rip them down and build a McMansion? The city could be getting a larger property tax check, so watch out...

Towns are now free to declare a middle-class clean neighborhood "blighted", grab it all, and allow it to be redeveloped into luxury mansions, because the public "benefits" by higher property taxes. And the city council who approves it can turn right around and pocket the "benefit" by giving themselves pay raises.

Bill and Randy,

You have described some interesting scenarios, but they don't describe what happened in New London and also don't describe the Court's reasoning. Certainly, some private property was taken, but it wasn't just to increase taxes or to replace mom and pop businesses with big boxes and or luxury mansions. There was a government sponsored multi-use (residential, recreational and commericial) development plan and the area, by all accounts, was depressed (although admittedly, Kelo's house was well kept). In addition, the Court based it's ruling on prior decisions. It's all in the ruling. Check it out.

BTW, this doesn't mean I agree with everything in the ruling. Indeed, four of the nine justices didn't either. However, I think it is important to read and report the Court's decision and reasoning accurately in order to understand its implications for what cities can really do (and not do) with eminent domain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And this is what I love most about PTU. We go from a mystery picture of a funky round Macy's to an articulate and interesting debate about eminent domain land seizures in only two pages.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the early 80s I had an audition in this circular, lime green building on Sunset Boulevard to loop a Japanese soap opera (in English!). So, even then it was being used for production. It was painted white then. I always loved this building.

Denise

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did you actually audition for the Japanese soap opera??!! I think it ran across the country and locally on Channel 56 in Orange County. I can't even remember the name of the production company, but what a great building. I'm glad Mark Mothersbaugh took it over. I know for a short time it went thorugh a series of uses, including a chiropractic school.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a recent development related to the Kelo v. New London case: <a href="http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/B/BUSH_SEIZING_PROPERTY?SITE=FLTAM&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT" target="_blank">Bush Order Would Limit Property Seizures </a>

And here's another article about a settlement deal in the case. What a nightmare to have to go through! I also recently saw a letter written by Susette Kelo on the one year anniversary of the court decision. It was an AP item that I saw in our local (Worcester, MA) paper, but I'm not sure if I can find it online, since it was an "editorial letter" type-thing rather than a news article.

<a href="http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/S/SEIZING_PROPERTY?SITE=FLTAM&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=customwire.htm" target="_blank">http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/S/SEI...=customwire.htm</a>

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember driving by and seeing Mary Sendek mowing her lawn, had to be the late '70's. I remember the winged bank, too. Another famous real estate was Hurley's Bar on Sixth Ave. Not even John Rockefeller could get Connie Hurley to budge.

I remember my parents driving by that house as a kid. I always remember the 2 cars in the driveway. They looked liked 2 Edsels from the rear. As time went by I remember that they never left the garage.

The bank was a First National City Bank, now known as Citibank. After Mary died they built a building on the site. That one also had some bank I never heard of in it.

The dinner is still across the street. It is still called the Georgia Dinner. The food is still good, and the cake slices are still sizable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The dinner is still across the street. It is still called the Georgia Dinner. The food is still good, and the cake slices are still sizable.

Georgia Diner not "Dinner"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well it could be Dinner.

By the way, if meals are usually thought of as three per day, which one is 'dinner'?

My wife and I have had a running debate for years.

The standard designation seems to be breakfast, lunch, and supper.

I'd always heard dinner used same as supper- the evening meal.

She says dinner can be any meal except fast food.

Her mom was Northern Irish, and maybe that's standard usage over there.

When they say "dinner" in your part of the country, what do they mean?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When they say "dinner" in your part of the country, what do they mean?

Growing up in NYC, we always had "supper" at 5p-530p. Now we have "dinner" anytime after 6p. However, you can "go out to eat" anytime.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On my Uncle's farm, they had a large meal at noon - I can't remember what they called it though. But the evening meal was "supper". On Sunday, the big meal was in early afternoon, and it was called "dinner". My aunt always said it wasn't a real dinner unless there were two kinds of pickles (hmm.. that reminds me of homemade watermelon rind pickles - haven't had any in years) and two kinds of pie. Usually there were two meat courses also (venison in season). Then there might be a light supper in the evening on top of it (maybe sandwiches made from leftovers) and some ice cream, usually, before bed. My aunt and uncle and their kids got away with this caloric excess by working it off - the city kids like me were just in that bottomless pit growth stage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You know, as far as I can recall we used to say dinner and supper interchangeably when I was growing up. I guess if my family used one more than the other it was probably supper (but I'm not SURE )

Funny story though, when I was in Army Basic Training back in 1987 I had a little dinner/supper incident. There was one person I knew from high school who went down to Georgia (Ft. Benning) with me for Basic. We were together at the Reception Station, but seperated after that for Basic. Anyway, one of my first scary memories of Basic was when a bunch of us were sitting around the barracks at the Reception Station with nothing to do (I guess there weren't enough people on our bus to start up a group for processing so they were waiting for more before doing anything with us). Well, of course the Army frowns on new recruits lounging around with no authority figure telling them what to do.

Suddenly someone came into the room (a drill sergeant as it turned out--but we didn't know it at the time). My friend, while lying on a bunk during the day (another no-no), piped up with "Hey, when's supper?" Of course, in his Massachussets accent it was more like "Hey, when's Suppah?" We all had a heart attack as the Drill Sergeant replied with "WE DON'T GOT NO 'SUPPAH' HERE!" In my panic I didn't think to inquire if the reason they didn't have "Suppah" was because they had "Dinnah" instead. It was probably for the best that I kept my mouth closed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, not to beat a dead horse or anything, but...

I just picked up a postcard yesterday at the Brimfield Flea Market and noticed something interesting on the back that doesn't exactly settle the dinner/supper question.

The postcard is for the HO-HO Restaurant in New York City (789 Seventh Avenue between 51st & 52nd Street). The two photos on the front of the card depicting the interior of the restaurant look like they could have been taken any time between the late-50's to the mid-60's or so. Anyway, on the back, in addition to mentioning that the name of the restaurant means "prosperity and happiness" it also states that they are open for..."Luncheon - Dinner - Supper" . Sorry, I guess the mystery endures.

And I'd like to wish everyone at PTU nothing but "HO-HO" in their lives (see above)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

<!--quoteo--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE</div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->I'd like to wish everyone at PTU nothing but "HO-HO"<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

HA-HA! HEE-HEE!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×