Monday, September 19, 2005

R&R Books -- A nose-holding test for Kelo opposition

Posted by Craig Westover | 12:09 PM |  

The slumbering bulldog over at the Pioneer Press barks a little bit today with an institutional editorial pitting the popular sentiment that the Supreme Court’s Kelo decision is bad law against the inevitable conflict between that position and a less savory victim than the elderly homeowners of New London.
While much of the country is focused on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, we'd like to look at the ongoing devastation from Hurricane Kelo, the Supreme Court's unfathomable decision to allow cities to take property from one private owner and give it to another. Its growing path of destruction appears headed for University Avenue. . . .

Now comes R&R Books, an adult video and bookstore at the corner of Dale and University. We've strongly advocated for the redevelopment of University Avenue, we hope in preparation for the Central Corridor light rail line. But it's important to note that we've supported private development by private developers, not a government-forced sale from one private owner to another.

Some readers might not like the business that R&R Books conducts. To help those folks get their brain around why we're defending a business that basically trades in what many people see as pornography, try substituting "Christian" or "Borders" for "adult" before the word bookstore. Would people be comfortable with the St. Paul Housing and Redevelopment Agency closing one of those businesses so that a private developer could build condos or another commercial property? That's what's happening to R&R Books.
Aside from the all-too-common lapse in PiPress editorial consistency -- favoring private development in preparation for a publicly subsidized light-rail line -- the editorial takes the logical course that opposition to Kelo dictates. Read the whole thing.