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September 29th, 2003

Eminent Domain

Last night, 60 Minutes featured a story on “eminent domain,” a law that normally allows government to claim private property (for a price) from its owner in order to build roads, schools, courthouses, etc. Actually, the wording is that whatever is being built is better for the “public good.”

The problem with that wording is that now local governments are claiming the rights to private property in order to demolish it and sell the space to a builder to build more expensive private property. Why? Because then the town would get more in property taxes and that’s considered “public good.” Unfortunately, it leaves families out in the cold.

Take a look at this story about a retired couple in Lakeland, Ohio who has lived in their house for over 30 years. They (and over 50 of their neighbors) are asked to give up their property so that high-price condos and a shopping center can be built in their place.

In order for “public good” to be proven, these areas have to be considered “blighted.” But guess who defines what “blighted” means? The town. So, they’ve defined a blighted house as one that doesn’t contain an attached two-car garage or central air or is a plot of land less than 5000 sq. feet. Mighty convenient for the town since most of these houses were built 75 or more years ago and don’t need central air because of the cool Lake Erie breeze that’s always blowing. Interestingly, 90% of the houses in Lakeland would be considered blighted, including the mayor’s and every one of the city council members’.

Apparently, this is a rampant problem, too, with The New York Times enacting the “eminent domain” law for their new space and an Ace Hardware store owner going to the local government to try and force out a local brake repair business just because he wants the location.

Amazing. And scary.

Posted in Politics

Wayne September 30, 2006, 10:15 am

Eminent Domain.I am watching this action occur in the Northwest. It is being used to eliminate mobile home parks (those which are not all ready being sold out from under residents)in the Seattle/ Everett area, as well as other properties. Persons who had invested years ago as a means of retirement are being robbed of the oppurtunity to do so. Governments at all levels are abusing the power we have given them. At least the politicians of a few years ago gave to the community, although I believe they too had a system of payoffs working. It is a very sad day indeed, when our flag, constitution, and civil rights are trampled upon by the very people who are supposed to defend it. CEOs’ of large companies who would do illegal deeds, are at last going to jail for their crimes. Politicians? They just get re-elected.

LAJohnson January 24, 2007, 9:46 pm

Hey Marty,

Eminent Domain is not a law, it is a phrase that was invented by politicians in order to manipulate the Constitution and I qoute 14th ammendment section 1: “Nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” Eminent Domain is a term used to start due process. Originally, It was used in reference to road improvements for the greater good of the general public. Then graduated as more politicians decided it could be used to increase tax basis. Typically it goes unchallanged above the local courts until recently Kelo vs. New London, CT. What is truely amazing is when the supreme court sided with Pfizer and made the Kelos’ move out of there beuatiful home on the river so Pfizer could build a new manufacturing firm on the river. What do you think would be more appealling to look at? The most appalling part is the supreme court whom is sworn to uphold the constitution allowed this to happen. And they said

Ivan Newman May 19, 2007, 8:08 pm

Property rights are human rights. Proposition 90 for state of California was very badly written. Most voters voted for proposition 90 thinking it would stop govenment taking properties by Eminent Domain.

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