San Francisco controller cautions against eminent domain

Discourages lawmakers from use

There are still small rumblings in the fight for eminent domain in California. According to an article in Bloomberg, San Francisco Controller Ben Rosenfield discouraged lawmakers from going forward with a proposal to use the city’s eminent-domain powers to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.

Richmond, California has been debating the feasibility of eminent domain for a while. Back in July 2014, the Richmond City Council rejected a resolution to terminate a contract with Mortgage Resolution Partners, the company that hatched a plan to seize underwater mortgages through eminent domain.   

Eminent domain at its core is used to seize land to build public necessities like highways, electrical lines and public schools.

“The city’s participation in an eminent-domain program will likely have broader negative impacts on the city’s participation in financial markets, at least for an initial period,” San Francisco’s Controller Ben Rosenfield wrote in a report released Thursday.

Rosenfield conducted the study in response to a proposal from San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos to use the solution to help working class and middle class workers stay in the city of about 837,000, the article explained.

Instead, the controller suggested several other options, including a mortgage assistance program for borrowers of an emergency assistance program for homeowners. 

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