Times columnist: Mayor Gayle McLaughlin’s eminent domain plan has residents clinging to false hope

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Mayor Gayle McLaughlin’s eminent domain plan is “rich in intention and short on critical thought,” according to Contra Costa Times columnist Tom Barnidge, who criticized Richmond City Council for voting to continue its contract with Mortgage Resolution Partners (MRP), the company that helped the mayor hatch the “harebrained plan.”

Last week, council voted 4-3 to reject Councilman Nat Bates’ proposal to terminate the contract with MRP. Bates, Rogers and Corky Booze voted to terminate the contract, while members of the Richmond Progressive Alliance voted to keep it.

Here’s Barnidge’s take on the plan:

The flaws in Richmond’s plan are many, beginning with whether eminent domain can even be used this way. Plus, the plan affects a limited number of homes — barely 3 percent of single-family residences — and helps no one in foreclosure, while MRP tacks a fee onto each transaction. Then there’s the search for lenders to fund new loans at more than 100 percent of value. Let’s not even discuss legal liability and lawsuits.

Apparently the Richmond Progressive Alliance rejected a good idea posed by Rogers:

Rogers, who’s fretted over Richmond’s legal liability from the start, offered a compromise that should have generated interest. He suggested the city cut ties with MRP but be ready to renew its partnership if another city successfully implements such a plan. Let someone else dive in and see if lawsuits follow.

Rogers added that McLaughlin’s plan has many people clinging to false hopes.