[screening Saturday May 2 at the Oak Street Cinema in Minneapolis, 3pm]
From the producers: In 2005, a divided U.S. Supreme Court gave state and city governments the authority to take private homes and businesses by eminent domain simply for the purpose of transferring ownership to private developers to build non-essential private facilities including shopping centers, corporate office towers, luxury condominiums and professional sports arenas. The community economic development benefits of such private projects qualified them as being for “public use” under the 5th Amendment's "takings clause", the court decided. The ruling sparked public outrage and was broadly criticized as a gross misinterpretation of the constitution.
Through a mix of guerrilla journalism, expert interviews, and the stories of those who have been forced out of their homes and family businesses; Begging For Billionaires [www.beggingforbillionaires.com] reveals the fallout of the Kelo case, exposing how some city governments brazenly seize property from the powerless and give it to the privileged for pettiest of non-essential “economic development” projects often subsidized with taxpayer money. Meanwhile, poor and disadvantaged families are forced from their homes. Everyday citizens watch helplessly as their family histories are bulldozed to smithereens. In some cases, homeowners scramble to save their life’s possessions as demolition crews pulverize the walls around them, and Centuries-old neighborhoods are wiped from existence despite rich histories and beautifully maintained homes. Begging for Billionaires begs the question: are we losing sight of the balance between individual property rights and those of the community?
Begging for Billionaires begs the question: are we losing sight of the balance between individual property rights and community economic development?