David Stokes

We haven't posted yet on Centene for a couple of reasons. First of all, it's all over the local news so it's not like anyone needed to hear about it from us. Second, our expert on this issue, Tim Lee, is out of the office this week. But this does not mean that we have not been following it closely (and excitedly). The Post-Dispatch has an article on it today in the business section that features some truly amazing quotes from developers who must live in a universe different from my own. Take your pick of absurd statements from among:

"If a property owner knows you want a property, they can raise the price," Donovan said.

Donovan means this as a bad thing. As if property owner in America should not have the right to determine what they are willing to sell their own property for. Or how about:

"The decision will have a chilling effect on any community government thinking about invoking eminent domain," Case said.

Again, Case means this as a bad thing. He obviously could not care less about the "chilling effect" property and homeowners can feel about being forced to sell their property so that someone else can put it to a use determined by government to be preferable. In his defense, Case is developing several projects in our area and none use eminent domain, so let's give credit where it's deserved.

Developers have long had too much power in the St. Louis area. Wildwood was incorporated in the 1990s solely because developers were getting permission for everything they wanted to build in the area, even over the objections of Greg Quinn, the West County councilman. This is a good ruling by the Supreme Court, and now I hope Centene and the property owners can sit down and work out a deal based on negotiations, not threats.

About the Author

David Stokes
David Stokes was a policy analyst at the Show-Me Institute from 2007 to 2014 and was director of development from 2014 to 2016.