Author: Timothy Sandefur
[R]edevelopment today has mostly devolved into an outlandish misuse of government power. And when eminent domain is used to forcibly take private property, redevelopment shows its cruelest face. Many people don't know that redevelopment agencies take more than vacant lots or empty buildings. They also take ongoing, successful businesses.
The loss inflicted on business and property owners in these circumstances, supposedly for the greater public good (read for the politically connected developer), is incalculable because it cannot be measured solely in economic terms. Taking a successful business through eminent domain traumatizes not only the hard-working people whose often lifetime of effort built it, but also their families, their employees and their employees' families….
The redevelopment lobby will argue that redevelopment and eminent domain are crucial for economic health. That claim has always been questionable, but is more so in light of a January report from the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office which found "no reliable evidence that this program (redevelopment) improves overall economic development in California."