Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Morning News

From the WSJ:
We Must Undo Kelo Decision's Damage

Edward D. Herlihy is right to condemn eminent domain abuse of the type that took place in both Kelo v. New London and in the unnecessary taking of a wealthy, private golf course by the Village of North Hills, N.Y. What distinguishes the golf course case, however, is its rarity. Very seldom are the wealthy the victims of eminent domain abuse. Rather, cities and developers typically work together to take the property of poorer or middle-income folks to give to wealthier parties in the hope that the new owners will create more tax revenue and jobs. Much more common is a recent use of eminent domain a little south of North Hills in Long Branch, N.J., where the government seeks to condemn modest beachfront bungalows to give to a developer to put up million-dollar-plus condominiums.

From the Star Ledger:
Booker criticizes city sale of properties

Standing outside of a grassy, va cant lot in Newark yesterday, mayoral candidate Cory Booker called on the city council and the mayor to stop selling city-owned property at "bargain basement rates."

Booker assailed the city council, saying it has given away large chunks of valuable city land to politically connected developers who have profited handsomely at the expense of Newark residents.

"The city is selling off land at rock-bottom prices with no real conditions and no real vision for the overall development of the city," Booker said. "Newark's land has real value, and it can be used to bring investment, jobs, good housing and more to the city of Newark."


From the N.J. Herald:
Ross's Corner plan in final stretch

After being the subject of heated debate for more than two years, the future of the county's main intersection could come more into focus Thursday.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the Farm Fun Building at the Sussex County Fairgrounds.

A town center plan, including space for homes, businesses, offices and recreation, will be discussed and possibly finalized at a joint meeting that night between Frankford's Township Committee and Land Use Board. If adopted, the plan would help to guide zoning for land near the intersection of routes 15, 206, 565.

The board is scheduled to hear a final presentation from Sussex Commons LLC, a Secaucus-based developer hoping to build a 90-store outlet mall on the land. Citizens for Responsible Development at Ross's Corner, a group formed to oppose the mall plan, is also scheduled to begin its presentation before the board.

The property, known as Ross's Corner, is considered by some to be the most developable piece of land in the county. Two regional attractions sit nearby — a minor-league ballpark and the Sussex County Fairgrounds. Traffic from neighboring Morris County and Pike County, Pa., comes through the intersection.

From the Jersey Journal:
Xanadu proving to be Xanadu-lite

To paraphrase Oliver Hardy, here's another fine mess our state officials have gotten themselves into. The issue at hand is Xanadu - a $1.3 billion, overhyped, mega-mall project that is being built in the Meadowlands sports complex. It is fast becoming something other than what was promised.

In October 2004, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority signed a 15-year lease with the Xanadu developers Mills Corp. of Virginia and Mack-Cali Realty of Cranford. In a very public signing, there were many promises of a 50-50 entertainment and shopping experience on the border of Bergen and Hudson counties with such venues as indoor skiing, cinemas, rooftop roller coaster, a mini auto race track, a House of Blues, ice palace, music hall of fame, underwater world, skate park, indoor surfing pool, basketball center, a Meadowlands YMCA facility, wildlife museum and Food Network cooking school.

Now the public would be lucky to see the indoor ski run, movie complex, and a children's center. A minor league baseball stadium is the subject of a lawsuit. What is left is a big mall.
...
Today, the Mills Corp., lead developer of Xanadu, is fighting major financial woes. The federal Securities Exchange Commission launched an investigation into the firm's bookkeeping. The Mills Corp. also claimed that some of its bankers agreed not to declare it in default on construction loans and the firm raised needed funds by refinancing several of its other mall properties and slashing its dividend.

23 Comments:

Blogger pesche22 said...

this is going to be a diaster for the nj taxpayer,, watch,

this is going to be a major headache for nj.

once again the pols screwed up.
Mills,,, wrong vendor at the wrong time.

a ski venue in the meadowlands,
right.

4/19/2006 06:23:00 AM  
Blogger grim said...

Looks like NJ voters took out their tax angst at the polls last night.

School budget increases shot down all across Northern NJ.

grim

4/19/2006 06:37:00 AM  
Blogger skep-tic said...

people get all up in arms about abortion rights, freedom of speech, etc, etc, but where is the outrage regarding eminent domain abuse? private property rights are probably the most important rights we have as a society

4/19/2006 07:00:00 AM  
Blogger bairen said...

For those readers who don't have strong family ties keeping them in Jersey I have a suggestion. MOVE. Seriously. If you stay your cost of living is going to increase as your quality of life and disposable income decrease. I really doubt the local government will or even be able to cut property taxes once real estate starts dropping.

Who do you think is going to pay for all these disasters spawned by our current and former pols? The usual suspects. The people of NJ.

Why does every big building project involve building more shops and restaurants? Why don't the governments help businesses that actually make things? Oh that's right. Joe Sixpack can't go the local factory and spend more of his housing ATM cash like he can at the newest chain restaurant and electornic stores.

This could be how NJ gets greener. We only have to drive 3 miles to the local mall instead of 10 before we burn away our home equity on things that will be filling our landfills in the next 5 years.

4/19/2006 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger bairen said...

It will only be a matter of time before most people in NJ personally know someone who has lost their home to emminent domain.

NJ and you ... perfect together. Maybe this is why the pols decided to change NJ's slogan.

4/19/2006 07:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to see people being reasonable about school budgets (although my town passed the damn thing).

I'm sick of people running to the property owner's trough to fund schools. How about charging the parents instead?

4/19/2006 07:30:00 AM  
Blogger Metroplexual said...

The property, known as Ross's Corner, is considered by some to be the most developable piece of land in the county. Two regional attractions sit nearby — a minor-league ballpark and the Sussex County Fairgrounds. Traffic from neighboring Morris County and Pike County, Pa., comes through the intersection......

I was personally involved with this project 3 years ago. The developer worked with Rouse many years ago. They had no plans for any road improvements. Just watch when during the summer there is a game, the State Fair and this mall is in high gear. It will be a mess. all the roads are one lane in each direction. The Fair already backs up down Rt 15 through Sparta.

4/19/2006 07:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said... 8:30 AM

I'm sick of people running to the property owner's trough to fund schools. How about charging the parents instead?.......

Education is a public function. The problem in NJ is the over reliance on localities to raise funds. Montana for instance raises school funding at the state level leaving local taxes low. Income tax however can be high (as much as 9%). I prefer that system to the regressive form it has taken on in NJ. If you are lucky enough to be able to be in the 9% bracket you are more able to pay. In NJ many senior citizens on fixed incomes, pay more than 35% of their income toward property taxes and property upkeep.

m reynolds

4/19/2006 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger Grim Ghost said...


this is going to be a diaster for the nj taxpayer,, once again the pols screwed up.
Mills,,, wrong vendor at the wrong time.


I know its fashionable to lambast politicians but I don't see how they are to blame this time. Mills is or was a reputable mall developer with a lot of huge properties. If such a developer comes to you and offers a huge development project that could bring more jobs to the area, why would you not agree (assuming you agree to the whole idea of redeveloping) ? The fault is with Mills here.


I don't see why its a disaster for the taxpayer. The only expense NJ had was some transportation improvements, and if the mall doesn't happen, those improvements don't need to be made.


Why does every big building project involve building more shops and restaurants? Why don't the governments help businesses that actually make things? Oh that's right. Joe Sixpack can't go the local factory and spend more of his housing ATM cash like he can at the newest chain restaurant and electornic stores.


Manufacturing is really not economical in most of NJ any more.

On the other hand, I agree that NJ is overmalled. In just a few miles from the meadowlands, you have the Newport Mall, the Jersey Gardens Mall, the Outlet malls in Seacaucus, the huge malls of Bergen county (Garden State Plaza, Riverside Square, at least 2 other malls), and even the malls of Wayne. Even that doesn't take into account New York malls, local downtowns like Hoboken, half a dozen strip malled roads like ROutes 4, 17, 22, 46 etc.

Do people really have nothing to do except shop ? Maybe, I'm unsual, but other than bookstores and the occsaional electronics store, I hate shopping.

4/19/2006 08:23:00 AM  
Blogger Grim Ghost said...


Montana for instance raises school funding at the state level leaving local taxes low.


Montana's population is lower than a populous NJ county !!

4/19/2006 08:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grim Ghost said...

Montana for instance raises school funding at the state level leaving local taxes low.

Montana's population is lower than a populous NJ county !!

I fail to get your point. Other states collect and redistribute funds at the county level. My point is the regressive nature is what is inherently wrong with our current system. Besides it is incredibly inefficient due to the redundancy of actions. Due the math 566 tax boards X tax assessors, secretaries, superintendents. Alot of fat my friend.

m reynolds

4/19/2006 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Shailesh Gala said...

Montana for instance raises school funding at the state level leaving local taxes low.

I think that is good suggestion at at least debate.

The issue in NJ is that there are too many powerful hidden interest lobbies. For e.g. there has been suggestion to move school administration to County level, but Teachers Union opposes it vehemantly.

I don't see any serious debate in Statehouse on many important issues. All are interested in supporting their lobbyists, who in turn help them raise funds for elections.

Even current Gov, talked about Consititutional Conference prior to election on Property Tax issue. But after getting elected, he conviniently forgot what he promised !!! Instead, he went for increase of Sales Tax from 6 to 7 percent. Nothing wrong with that, but without any realistic debate, it is difficult to come to right solution.

4/19/2006 10:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree on traffic at Ross Corner development, if they don't widen that road all the way to 80. It will be a nightmare in the summer. The traffic is pretty much bumper to bumper all the way to PA.

4/19/2006 11:22:00 AM  
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