Friday, April 3, 2009

Best. Postcard. Ever.


Steve Clowney

April 3, 2009 in Land Use | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

More Waterblogging

Jack Shafer of Slate has posted a neat piece that attempts to dispel the myth that water shortages can lead to armed combat:

Water scarcity in the [Middle East] results in "conflict and tension," Barnaby adds, but the Israeli and the Palestinian officials have successfully used a committee (controlled by the Israelis) to peacefully resolve problems. In other places where competition for water should theoretically escalate into violence, Barnaby finds similar resolution. Egypt has become more fluid in its relations with its water neighbors because it wants to improve the climate for trade. Similarly, India and Pakistan, which war with each other with the same frequency that other nations exchange sister cities, have so far used a World Bank-arbitrated treaty to make water peace.

Shafer makes much of the fact that  "in the last five decades there have been no formal declarations of war over water."  He seems to be arguing that there's something so special about water that otherwise warring factions are willing to compromise over its allocation.  Of course, it's also possible that global water scarcity is just beginning.  We're only starting to come around to the idea that water is a market based commodity and that water shortages can limit a country's development.  Moreover, the article ignores the violence that erupted in Cochabamba, Bolivia when that city tried to solve its water problems through market pricing.   It's an interesting piece, but ultimately unsatisfactory. 

Steve Clowney

April 2, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Toast to Property

I came across a fun New York Times blog post about the trials and tribulations of trying to find one's "signature cocktail:"

If I had to guess, I’d say that many of us aren’t drinking what we’d truly like to drink.... I recently learned that my husband hated the taste of beer in high school and so insisted on White Mountain, a “malternative” beverage. And by insisted I mean that he forced the kid with the fake ID to not only risk his neck buying beer but also his reputation by adding a case of White Mountain with nary a teenage girl in sight. My husband also sometimes pours himself a glass of apple juice and nurses it, pretending it’s whiskey.... What are we all trying to prove?  

This, of course, got me to wondering if there are any decent property themed cocktails.  The best I could come up with was the Landed Gentry:

1 1/2 oz dark rum
1/2 oz Tia Maria coffee liqueur
1 oz heavy cream

Is this really the best we can do as a profession?  Coffee liqueur and heavy cream? 

Steve Clowney

April 2, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Notice to Commercial Tenants of Eminent Domain Taking

The New Jersey Eminent Domain Blog has an interesting post on a recent decision by a New Jersey intermediate appellate court holding that a commercial tenant was not entitled to notice of eminent domain proceedings against the property.  The post is highly critical of the decision, and suggests that the issue may go up to the New Jersey Supreme Court.  I don't know enough about New Jersey law to know whether the criticisms in the post are accurate, but as a general matter this seems like a bad result.

Ben Barros

[Comments are held for approval, so there will be some delay in posting]

April 2, 2009 in Real Estate Transactions, Recent Cases, Takings | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Supreme Court Opinion in Hawaii v. Office of Hawaiian Affairs

The Supreme Court issued an opinion yesterday in Hawaii v. Office of Hawaiian Affairs.  The case is a bit outside of my area of expertise, but might be of interest to PropertyProfs interested in landownership by indigenous peoples.  It also might be of interest to devotees of Aloha Jurisprudence

Ben Barros

[Comments are held for approval, so there will be some delay in posting]

April 1, 2009 in Recent Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Ancient Mariner Was Right

With fewer and fewer classes left in the semester, I'm starting to think about how I can make adjustments to my syllabus for next year.  Most of my internal debate is fairly predictable: is the time spent on rule against perpetuities really worth the payoff?  How much of the conveyancing material is necessary in a 4 credit class?  Do the students get anything out the measly few hours we spend on IP? 

Although most of this is well-trodden ground, one new idea keeps resurfacing -- should I be teaching more water law?  Disputes over water keep popping up in the news (see here, here, and here), and it's likely that water shortages will only get worse as the population continues to boom. 

Although we certainly don't have any water law on the Kentucky bar, the subjects of water, water pricing, and inter-generational equity seem like they might be a rich source of discussion in class.

Any thoughts on whether this might be worthwhile? 

Picture:  French Victorian engraver Gustave Doré's take
on the Rime of the Ancient Mariner (Note the Flight of the Conchord ill-fated albatross)

Steve Clowney

March 31, 2009 in Teaching | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Billboard War


The good people of Los Angeles are in the middle of a nasty dust up over the regulation of billboards.  The long-running dispute pits the planning commission and City Council against the region's well-heeled outdoor advertising industry. Christopher Hawthorne of the LA Times summarizes:

City Hall lawyers signed off on a 2006 legal settlement allowing more than 800 billboards to be turned into digital signs, and separately has been mostly powerless to slow the growth of supergraphics, those gigantic wraparound advertisements that are capable of mummifying entire pieces of architecture. As parts of the battle play out in court, complicated by free-speech questions, billboard companies have rushed to put up as many new signs as they can. The result is a legal and political mess, to be sure.

Although I have a lot of symphathy for the advertising geniuses who put up all those Wall Drug signs across South Dakota, the constant assault of visual clutter makes me wonder if we wouldn't be better off going the way of Sao Paulo.

Picture:  Upton, Kentucky

Steve Clowney

March 30, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

McFarlane on Eminent Domain and Redevelopment

Audrey McFarlane (U. Baltimore) has posted Rebuilding the Public-Private City: Regulatory Taking's Anti-Subordination Insights for Eminent Domain and Redevelopment on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

The eminent domain debate, steeped in the language of property rights, currently lacks language and conceptual space to address what is really at issue in today's cities: complex, fundamental disagreements between market and community about Development. The core doctrinal issue presented by development is how can we acknowledge the subordination of citizens who happen to live in areas that are attractive to wealthier citizens. In particular, how should we address the political process failure reflected in the privatized methods of decisionmaking that typify redevelopment? The conceptual language and analytical construct for appropriately addressing these issues come from critical race theory and its project of anti-subordination. The doctrinal model for resolving urban development disagreement comes from the anti-subordination principles reflected in regulatory takings doctrine. This Article argues that regulatory takings doctrine reflects one of the most developed, yet underappreciated, anti-subordination doctrines in the law. Both takings and critical race theory provide a template for properly focusing on ways to improve the lack of public accountability in development and the unresponsiveness of eminent domain doctrine to commonly accepted notions of fairness as a component of the public good.

Ben Barros

[Comments are held for approval, so there will be some delay in posting]

March 30, 2009 in Recent Scholarship, Takings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

For the PropertyProf With Everything...

...except a sense of style.


hat tip: Faculty Lounge

Steve Clowney

March 29, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)