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Real public servants are free enterprising individuals who, inspired, embrace challenge, take risks, and create, sometimes big, and often, they create jobs in the process, all out of their ideas, and self initiative...

Monday, January 9, 2012

Doug Kaplan: Beware of unintended consequences if redevelopment is revived - San Jose Mercury News

...The Legislature created the redevelopment program in the early 1950s for the sole purpose of "eradicating blight" in struggling urban areas such as San Francisco's Western Addition. Convinced that this monumental task could not "be accomplished by private enterprise alone," Sacramento lawmakers gave local officials the authority to establish powerful public agencies endowed with extraordinary abilities to borrow, tax and seize private property through eminent domain. 

It didn't take long for local officials to realize that they could use their new powers to do much more than rebuild blighted neighborhoods. Soon, nearly 400 cities and counties in California, including some of the most affluent suburbs in the country, were using their new redevelopment agencies to toss people out of their homes and businesses in order to build tax-generating auto malls, hotels, shopping centers and big-box stores on prime -- not blighted --commercial sites. This was the first perversion of legislative intent...
Click here to read more of Doug Kaplan: Beware of unintended consequences if redevelopment is revived - San Jose Mercury News
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Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko. What does this map mean? How to use this map View Original Map and Database


Death of an innocent. Death or injury of a police officer. Death of a nonviolent offender.
Raid on an innocent suspect. Other examples of paramilitary police excess. Unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night. But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map above aims to refute that notion.

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