Wisconsin clears the way for Foxconn by bulldozing working peoples' homes and paying them pennies on the dollar


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/04/12/open-for-business.html


#2

Christ, what assholes.


#3

Let me guess: a disproportionate number of the people being evicted are brown skinned?


#4

Wait, I thought conservatives didn’t believe in eminent domain?


#5

Well sure, isn’t that obviously a big part of what makes them blighted?

/s


#6

Well yes, this is what Scott Walker promised to do. If he had treated the people fairly he would have been labeled a flip-flopper. He’s 100% corporate shill and that’s what people wanted. They even kept him in his seat when the Democrats offered them a second chance with the recall election.

You don’t release a rabid dog on a playground and then complain when someone is bitten.


#7

Have you been to Racine? It’s pretty damned white. I mean these are the kind of people who think salt and pepper are spicy and exciting. In fact, around 50% of the white population is living below the poverty line. I’m thinking this falls more under class than race in this case.


#8

Who do these uppity people think is the priority for politicians like Walker: the human citizens of Wisconsin or the trans-national slow AIs that wish to assimilate them as minimum-wage human resources/consumers? Sheesh.

For the record, in 2016 this working-class and mostly white county voted for Il Douche 48%, compared with Clinton’s 44%. In 2014 Walker won the county by 54% to the Dem challenger’s 45%. Foxconn thanks you, suckers!


#9

Given that this sort of initiative always targets the poor, it would depend on whether the poor in the area are disproportionately brown-skinned.

In my area, you betcha. But I have to say I’d have sympathy (and give on the ground support) to all the victims, regardless of color, if this happened in my area.


#10

Hate conservatives all you want, but liberal justices own using eminent domain for private takings

Kelo opinion.

Majority (To allow takings for private use) Stevens, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer

Dissent O’Connor, Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas


#11

In Wisconsin? Do they even have enough black people in the state to create a community that can be targeted?


#12

The use of eminent domain doesn’t bother me as much as arbitrarily condemning the houses to save a buck. That’s the part that absolutely disgusts me, and I suspect the state is going to lose money on in the long run as the courts view such antics for what they are. Very much penny wise pound foolish for the Walker regime.


#13

Why yes, yes they do!

https://www.wnyc.org/story/milwaukee-americas-most-segregated-city/

Wisconsin has the largest achievement gap between black and white students in the country, four out of five black children in Wisconsin live in poverty, and while the rest of the country has moved away from mass incarceration, Wisconsin has invested more heavily in their prison system. Milwaukee also has the distinction of being the most segregated city in America.


#14

Yep, you guys are both right.

But somehow political affiliations and ideologies fall by the wayside if a $3 billion handout to a company famous for having “suicide nets” around their factories is proposed.

“The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.” --Gilens and Page, Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens, APSA & Cambridge Press.


#15

That’s where this is interesting. Judging by the article and what else I can read online on an admittedly very brief search, the people involved here are not what I’d consider poor as such.

They own their homes, at least one of them is a lawyer (criminal defense admittedly, so yeah she could be poor).

This is basically the local municipality kicking a bunch of folks off their land in precisely the sort of way Wisconsin law is intended to prevent:

32.03 When condemnation not to be exercised.

[…]

extract from relevant legislation

(6)
(a) In this subsection, “blighted property" means any property that, by reason of abandonment, dilapidation, deterioration, age or obsolescence, inadequate provisions for ventilation, light, air, or sanitation, high density of population and overcrowding, faulty lot layout in relation to size, adequacy, accessibility, or usefulness, unsanitary or unsafe conditions, deterioration of site or other improvements, or the existence of conditions that endanger life or property by fire or other causes, or any combination of such factors, is detrimental to the public health, safety, or welfare. Property that consists of only one dwelling unit is not blighted property unless, in addition, at least one of the following applies:
1. The property is not occupied by the owner of the property, his or her spouse, or an individual related to the owner by blood, marriage, or adoption within the 4th degree of kinship under s. 990.001.
2. The crime rate in, on, or adjacent to the property is at least 3 times the crime rate in the remainder of the municipality in which the property is located.
(b) Property that is not blighted property may not be acquired by condemnation by an entity authorized to condemn property under s. 32.02 (1) or (11) if the condemnor intends to convey or lease the acquired property to a private entity.
(c ) Before commencing the condemnation of property that a condemnor authorized to condemn property under s. 32.02 (1) or (11) intends to convey or lease to a private entity, the condemnor shall make written findings and provide a copy of the findings to the owner of the property. The findings shall include all of the following:
1. The scope of the redevelopment project encompassing the owner’s property.
2. A legal description of the redevelopment area that includes the owner’s property.
3. The purpose of the condemnation.
4. A finding that the owner’s property is blighted and the reasons for that finding.

from here:

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/32/I/22/4

Apparently, they don’t have a choice. See above.

As I understand it they can only acquire the land by either persuading everyone to sell to them or condemning the land.

It’s not (just) that they can buy the land more cheaply if they ‘blight’, they can’t acquire it at all (other than in a voluntary transaction) if they don’t.

i.e. the whole deal could fail because Farmer Brown doesn’t want to sell his land.

Which is why the slick out-of-town lawyer (played in my internal movie by either Gregory Peck or James Stewart) said:

“We’ve been involved in some eminent domain cases in Wisconsin so Foxconn was on our radar. One of the property owners reached out to us as did a couple of attorneys representing homeowners. Based on our experience with Wisconsin law we knew the Village would have to do a blight designation.”

and:

Later in conversation Sanders was blunt. “This is a textbook case of eminent domain abuse.” When he considered the local authority’s promise to Foxconn to have all the land in hand by August 1, 2018, Sanders said there were two possibilities: “Either they sold Foxconn a bill of goods or they’ve retained the financial resources to make some huge offers.” Offers, one is tempted to say, that homeowners can’t refuse.


#16

If they’re concentrated in a highly segregated city where they’re the minority then targetting only gets us so far, and that’s before you take into account gerrymandering and the broken Electoral College system and the fact that you’re working against people actively looking to disenfranchise black people.


#17

Half of my family is from Racine (so, yeah, I’ve been to Racine a bunch of times). The demographics have been changing in the city itself from totally white to less so, but this is outside the city in a village near the interstate. I hope the affected homeowners get their lawsuit together immediately. There’s a one year old house in perfect condition that the village has fraudulently labeled “blighted,” FFS.


#18

That seems like a broken version of eminent domain. It misses the entire reason for the law in the first place!

I’m also not seeing any indication that they offered the owners a fair market value for their house first before going through this process. I would be a little more sympathetic to the state’s case if this were being used against a handful of stubborn holdouts, but this appears to be a blanket process for all affected properties.


#19

Even in Texas eminent domain has been successfully chalenged. Time to lawyer up.


#20

Sorry, what?

From what I’ve heard, those are indeed further shenanigans that the Repugs have been using in WI to target POC, but I don’t know who you mean by “us” here?? And where are “we” trying to get?