Eminent Domain: A Long Shot Against Blight – NYTimes.com

Great article in the New York Times this week on blight in California.

Ms. McLaughlin if you are reading this, we are solidly behind you and Richmond. If there is anything we can do to help, please let us know!

The mayor’s plan would buy and refinance underwater mortgages in an attempt to save the city from more boarded-up houses. Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Ms. McLaughlin has a plan to help the many Richmond residents who owe more money on their houses than their houses are worth, but it’s one that banks like Wells Fargo, large asset managers like

Pimco and BlackRock, real estate interests and even Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage finance giants, have tried to quash. Her idea involves a novel use of the power of eminent domain to bail out homeowners by buying up and then forgiving mortgage debt.

But the financial institutions have warned that mortgage lending would halt in any city that tried eminent domain — and they have lobbied Congress to ensure that the threat is not an empty one. Opponents have filed federal lawsuits, while real estate interests have made robocalls to residents and sent mass mailers warning that the plan would allow “slick, politically connected” investors to “take houses on the cheap.” (The idea is actually to buy mortgages, not houses.)

via Eminent Domain: A Long Shot Against Blight – NYTimes.com.