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City of Madison CDA Screws African Americans

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Re: City of Madison CDA Screws African Americans

Postby radboy » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:56 pm

Stuart, I did get one thing wrong-my bet was wrong about you replying. Thank you for that.

But, your better side knows that the Bruer way leads the CDA down the low path.
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Re: City of Madison CDA Screws African Americans

Postby Stu Levitan » Sat Jan 16, 2010 1:25 am

The city has not sought eminent domain on the Bancroft site because there is a private developer trying to proceed.

Rad, I have not claimed at all that the CDA is the injured party in this affair, because obviously we are not. We are exercising one of the two or three greatest municipal powers; no way could we ever be the injured party (except by HUD or WHEDA, but that's not an issue here). The exercise of condemnation and eminent domain should have great public attention and understanding; I have no problem with people challenging the economic analysis and public purpose of the project. But I am sorry that in addition to challenging our methods, you also attack our motives, and assume that we are proceeding in order to do something bad to minority entrepreneurs. The city and CDA have spent and invested millions of dollars in this neighborhood, and it's harsh to hear people think we've been doing that to line private or public pockets. We're doing it to make a better neighborhood and improve the quality of life for the people who live there.
The council has approved a plan for the neighborhood that includes quality affordable senior housing project at that location. Council has appropriate funds for the project, and directed us to do it. Unfortunately, the project requires the condemnation of several properties, owned and well-operated by persons of color. {Almost all came last night, and all who came made very impressive presentations. (I saw at least one future alder there.)} Most of the properties are decent and well run, some are not. It's a damn shame that we're interrupting several families long-term financial strategy, and I think we should take affirmative steps to assist several of them with purchasing new properties. I'm sorry we didn't do something about that last night, and will see what I can do about it.
As to the money, there's a statutory process that staff followed, which I agree produced some very jarring numbers. I would have voted against that allocation. But when it got to the board, we increased the distribution to a level I felt I could vote for. I would have preferred a little more (we would have still been within the budget), but this was the consensus of staff and board that I did not vote against. I wanted to add a clause holding owners harmless for three years of property tax diffferential, but could not find adequate support.

As to the racial composition of the CDA, it is unfortunate on several levels that there are no racial minorities. I know the mayor had identified at least one prospective appointee who would have been an outstanding commissioner, but she was unable to accept due to other commitments. As to commissioner commitment and qualification, I have to tell you I'm pretty impressed. I think we've got a real good balance of property investment and management, architecture, finance, planning, life and politics, and I think everyone is pretty good at what they're there to be good at. Staff is smart, honest and hard-working. We're all trying our best to do the right thing, and hope you can at least accept that. I'm sorry you apparently disagree with most of that, and invite you to come to our next meeting to make your critique known. There's a spot on every agenda for public comment, and I encourage you to make use of it.
Gotta go.
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Re: City of Madison CDA Screws African Americans

Postby Puffy » Sat Jan 16, 2010 10:03 am

Stuart... I read your response and I appreciate what you're saying. But, I think even you recognize, it doesn't change the impression.

The Edgewater Project, on Mansion Hill, gets spiffed, while the black development gets "appraised". It's not the same approach. It's really unfortunate. And I think we've opened a big can of worms here.
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Re: City of Madison CDA Screws African Americans

Postby Goober McTuber » Sat Jan 16, 2010 11:11 am

There’s nothing to indicate that these landlords would have wanted to sell, even at the assessed value, which is why the assessed value should be the starting point. The city hasn’t hesitated to tax them at that level. Did these properties suddenly drop 25-40% in value overnight?

And if they are forced to take the CDA offer, what are the chances they can use those proceeds to replace the property with something of equivalent value? Take a look at comparable sales in that area, buildings with 4 apartments. There have been a grand total of four sales in the last three years. And with the depressed market it’s likely that few landlords would be inclined to sell until the market comes back up. Not to mention all the additional costs involved when purchasing and financing a new piece of property.

I never said it was racial, though I would agree with Dairylander that it’s more of a class issue. I don’t care how neat and wonderful your little senior housing project is. It should not go up at the significant personal expense of several of our citizens.
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Re: City of Madison CDA Screws African Americans

Postby narcoleptish » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:21 pm

My only anonymous comment pertains to Stu's belief that offering someone "more than they paid," constitutes a fair offer. What someone paid, for anything, is irrelevant and frankly none of your business. By that thinking, someone who inherits a property should be happy with any offer above zero. A found $10 bill is still worth ten dollars.

My second only comment is just an observation on Horizon, who I saw mentioned in Brenda's blog and I assume will be developing the senior housing. My folks live in one of their places and although they love the building and the community who live there, the maintenance leaves a lot to be desired. At one point the garage door opener was broken, and remained broken for close to a month. Someone came every morning and opened the door, and returned after dark to close it, leaving this "security locked building" wide open for the entire day and part of the night. There was also a good chunk of time when the door buzzer system did not work. My parents live in the non-subsidized half of their development. The subsidized building across the parking lot has it's maintenance issues repaired much quicker. Which is bullshit.
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Re: City of Madison CDA Screws African Americans

Postby peripat » Sat Jan 16, 2010 10:41 pm

More than they paid for the properties...wow.
Obviously city assessments mean nothing and we should all be paying on less than 50% of the assessment amounts.
I know the city is broke, but 10% over their assessment seems like a fair price for a forced sale.
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Re: City of Madison CDA Screws African Americans

Postby Bad Gradger » Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:03 pm

I agree that assessments are seriously lagging property values, but by 40%? In Madison? Come on. This doesn't pass the smell test. And I guarantee that if this goes through, neighboring landlords are going to take the city to court for millions of dollars in overpaid taxes, based on what official actions of a city agency demonstrate are ludicrously overvalued assessments.
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Re: City of Madison CDA Screws African Americans

Postby Galoot » Sun Jan 17, 2010 3:43 pm

Wow, Stu, did you really try to justify the offered prices as "what the CDA could afford"? This seems downright criminal. Yes, property values have dropped a LOT in the last couple of years, but nowhere near 40%, especially for a 6-unit, where the value is based on the rental income.

If the city assessed the property at anywhere near $400k in the most recent assessment, they have to pay that amount. To do otherwise is to invite a major lawsuit, which I think the city would lose.
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Re: City of Madison CDA Screws African Americans

Postby Average Joe » Sun Jan 17, 2010 5:57 pm

Galoot wrote:
If the city assessed the property at anywhere near $400k in the most recent assessment, they have to pay that amount. To do otherwise is to invite a major lawsuit, which I think the city would lose.


All case law firmly supports a municipality's right to eminent domain with just compensation, most recently affirmed by the Supreme Court in Kelo v. City of New London. That case affirmed the right of the condemnation power and eminent domain for the purpose of the general benefit of the community for the purpose of economic development. Based upon Kelo v. City of New London, as well as previous precedent established by the court in Berman v. Parker and Hawaii Housing Authority v. Midkiff the CDA most certainly does have the right to condemnation powers to proceed with the project but they are definitely opening themselves up to litigation by failing to meet the test of just compensation.
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Re: City of Madison CDA Screws African Americans

Postby Average Joe » Sun Jan 17, 2010 6:02 pm

Interestingly, this if from Justice Thomas' dissent to the Kelo decision:

Allowing the government to take property solely for public purposes is bad enough, but extending the concept of public purpose to encompass any economically beneficial goal guarantees that these losses will fall disproportionately on poor communities. Those communities are not only systematically less likely to put their lands to the highest and best social use, but are also the least politically powerful
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Re: City of Madison CDA Screws African Americans

Postby Galoot » Sun Jan 17, 2010 6:12 pm

AJ, I have zero beef with eminent domain, just with the "just compensation" portion. As a California native, I've seen whole swaths of property condemned to make new freeways, and I can't really complain about that. But I'd bet a LOT that no CA municipality ever offered 40% below assessed value, and got away with it.
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Re: City of Madison CDA Screws African Americans

Postby Average Joe » Sun Jan 17, 2010 6:20 pm

As I mentioned in my post, the CDA doesn't seem to be meeting the definition of just compensation. In the Kelo case, the city of New London ended up paying through the nose via legal fees and eventually paid to move the Kelo home.

http://www.nolandgrab.org/archives/2006 ... for_j.html

I'm willing to bet there is a parade of lawyers visiting the property owners in question.
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Re: City of Madison CDA Screws African Americans

Postby Adam Powell » Mon Jan 18, 2010 12:36 pm

I apologize if the answers to these questions are obvious.

1. Are the property owners in question under any legal obligation to sell?
2. If so, are they under any time constraint to do so?
3. How does the CDA explain the difference between the values the city taxes the owners for these properties and the proposed sale prices?
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Re: City of Madison CDA Screws African Americans

Postby Frank_Allis » Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:44 am

Mr. Levitan:

Your perspectives never cease to amaze me.

Stu Levitan wrote:Why would I engage anonymous posters who have already made up their mind without knowing all the facts?

Let's try a quiz:

True or False: The CDA has made offers which are substantially more than the property-owners paid for the properties in question.

True of False: The offers the CDA made are consistent with the statutes.

True or False: The Burr Oaks Senior Housing Project will be a welcome and positive improvement to the neighborhood into which the city and CDA have already poured millions of redevelopment dollars.

Answer these questions truthfully and accurately, then we'll talk.


1. These are some of the facts, certainly not all of them.

2. OK, the CDA has offered more than the owners paid for them. This is simply not relevant. They deserve a reasonable and fair return on their investment. This is what some may call getting screwed by the man.

3. Yes, the offers may be consistent with the statutes. That doesn't make them fair or ethical. Slavery used to be legal, too.

4. Yes, it appears the new project would be a welcome addition to the neighborhood. The ends do not justify the means.

Get real.

Respectfully,

Frank
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Re: City of Madison CDA Screws African Americans

Postby radboy » Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:51 pm

o
Last edited by radboy on Thu Sep 02, 2010 8:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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