Fla. Eminent Domain Plan Could Be Largest

From The Las Vegas Sun:

When Mayor Michael Brown envisions the future of this struggling city, he sees no poverty, no drug dealing, no prostitution – and none of the 1,700 buildings where many of his poorest constituents live and work.

Up to 6,000 of Riviera Beach’s 31,000 residents would be sent packing in the city’s effort to revamp its marina district with condominiums, houses, shops, offices and yacht slips. To enraged owners of property slated for condemnation, Brown says the sacrifice is necessary for progress.

“(Italian philosopher Niccolo) Machiavelli said it best – the hardest thing to do is to sustain and change the order of things,” Brown says. “I will use every ounce of energy I have to fight to make a better life for these people. There will be no more lower class.

“For all those who don’t like it, tough.”

The project, potentially one of the country’s largest eminent domain seizures, has placed Riviera Beach at the center of a nationwide battle over whether government should be allowed to seize property for private development.

“You can’t just take away from people what they’ve worked so hard for,” says Princess Wells, 54, whose home and salon are slated for removal under the $2.4 billion plan.

Traditionally, governments have used eminent domain to build public facilities, but cities have increasingly used the power to make room for private development.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that such seizures are allowable if the construction raises the tax base and benefits the entire community. But it added a caveat: States can restrict the use of eminent domain. Legislators in Florida and elsewhere are scrambling to do so. Gov. Jeb Bush is likely to sign the measure if the Senate approves it.

“From the barbershops to the courthouse, all I’ve heard was, `Please don’t let them take our property,'” Rep. Arthenia Joyner said after a recent 116-0 House vote on legislation that would severely limit the condemnations for any private use.

Dana Berliner, a lawyer for the nonprofit Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Justice, says Riviera Beach’s plan is the largest current project of its kind in the country.

“This land is very valuable and the attitude is, `Why should we waste this prime real estate on low-income people?'” says Berliner, who represented Connecticut homeowners in the Supreme Court case. “It’s a terrible thing.”

Wells refuses to sell the single-story pink home her husband built 23 years ago. The couple raised four children there.

“When we built our house, we didn’t have much money. We prayed a lot,” Wells says. “We love our house. Why would I sell?”

Some residents, however, say it is only the threat of seizure that compelled them to sell.

“I’m outraged. This is so un-American. It’s legalized stealing,” says painter Martha Babson, 58, who sold her home in the project zone to a developer and is considering moving inland to find affordable housing.

“Unless the state changes the law, people of my echelon, the financially challenged, will always be the people who get moved. Is there ever an end?”


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Women Honor ThySelf

Eminent Domain

Read that title and imagine a deep booming voice saying it. Kind of scary isn’t it?

From Hollywood

In 2004, the commission promised Abele it would use its eminent domain powers to take Katalin and George Mach’s building, which for years was home to their beauty salon, if he could not buy them out.

To Illinois

Illinois legislators are considering a bill that would put stringent limits on when and how governments could take private land.

Property rights groups are ready to celebrate.

But opponents say the measure, which would apply to municipalities and government bodies such as the Southwestern Illinois Development Authority in Collinsville, could halt or slow projects ranging from brownfield renewal to retail expansions.

Passed 85-6 Wednesday by the House, the 450-page bill would require that any government wanting to take private property for private development – as opposed to public uses such as roads or schools – would have to meet a higher legal standard before it could begin seizure proceedings.

Under the bill, governments would have to show by clear and convincing evidence that they were taking property for the public good – a much tougher standard than now applies, lawyers say.

Supporters and opponents agree that the new standard would prolong eminent domain court cases; supporters say that will help protect property owners, but opponents say the new legal hurdle could slow or stop economic revitalization.

The bill now goes to the Senate, which has already passed a version of it. From there it would go to Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is expected to sign it into law.

SCOTUS opened Pandora’s box in the Kelo decision and now legislatures have to close it.

Some of you may not know this but the term pursuit of happiness references owning land. Yup, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness(land). SCOTUS doesn’t seem to care about that unalienable right, now does it.

People, the right for each of us to own our own land is extremely important to our way of life, and it is a communist/socialist concept that the government owns all land. Oh, and the good of the many over the good of the few, when it comes to an individual’s rights, does not hold muster.

The Kelo decision is one of the worst decisions to ever come out of the Supreme Court, followed by the Medical Marijuana case in which they extended the Federal governments authority through Interstate commerce! You think Pot is dangerous? HA! Expanding Federal power, now that is dangerous!

Wake up people and get off your Big government jones. I do not need another Mother or Father, but it seems you do…

The End of Private Property

Yet another great threat to our way of life…
From WND promoting Whistle Blower Magazine:

Here are just a few examples taken from the avalanche of property confiscations unleashed by last summer’s 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in Kelo v. City of New London:

  • Oakland, Calif.: A week after the Kelo ruling, Oakland city officials used eminent domain to evict John Revelli from the downtown tire shop his family has owned since 1949. Revelli and a neighboring business owner had refused to sell their property to make way for a new housing development. Said Revelli of his fight with the City, “We thought we’d win, but the Supreme Court took away my last chance.”
  • Boynton Beach, Fla.: Under the threat of eminent domain, the 50-year-old Alex Sims Barber Shop is selling to the City of Boynton Beach to make way for new residences and storefronts. Guarn Sims called the Kelo ruling “the nail in the coffin” that ended his hope of saving the business.
  • Baltimore, Md. Baltimore’s redevelopment agency, the Baltimore Development Corp., is exercising eminent domain to acquire more than 2,000 properties in East Baltimore for a biotech park and new residences. BDC Executive Vice President Andrew B. Frank told the Daily Record the Kelo decision “is very good news. It means many of the projects on which we’ve been working for the last several years can continue.”
  • Boston, Mass.: Two days after the Kelo decision, Boston City Council President Michael Flaherty called on the mayor of Boston to seize South Boston waterfront property from unwilling sellers for a private development project.
  • Richmond Heights, Mo.: City officials are taking bids to demolish 200 homes in the Hadley Township Neighborhood, just to turn the land over to a private developer who will build more homes.
  • Spring Valley, N.Y.: Less than a week after the Kelo decision, Spring Valley officials asked the New York Supreme Court to authorize the condemnation of 15 downtown properties in an area where a private developer plans to construct residential and retail buildings.
  • Ventor City, N.J.: Mayor Tim Kreischer wants to demolish 126 buildings – mom-and-pop shops, $200,000 homes, and apartments – to erect luxury condos, high-end specialty stores, and a parking garage.

“THE END OF PRIVATE PROPERTY” features powerful investigative journalism by Joseph Farah, Sarah Foster, Dana Berliner, Steven Greenhut, Walter Williams, Charlotte Allen, David Kupelian and others, and documents the widespread theft of private property by government today.

We have got to do something about this nonsense. This is the government taking your PRIVATE property to give to another PRIVATE citizen. This is yet another plank of Communism. There are no private property rights, it all belongs to the government. Is this the country you want to live in? Is this your view of America?

Hat Tip: Uncooperative Reader, John Burns

City of Stockbridge Loses Eminent Domain Case

Victory!

From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

In a case that has garnered national attention, a Henry County judge ruled late Monday that the city of Stockbridge cannot use eminent domain laws to buy the shop and use the property for a downtown revitalization project.

Co-owner Regina Meeks was the one feeling revitalized Tuesday as she stood among the elegantly arranged roses, Easter egg baskets and Beanie Babies and fielded congratulatory telephone calls from strangers in Detroit, Dayton, Ohio, and Tennessee.

“The old saying [is] ‘You can’t fight City Hall,’ ” Meeks said Tuesday afternoon. “I guess you can.”

Henry Superior Court Judge Arch McGarity’s two-page decision said Stockbridge did not show the shop would be used for public purposes. The city has 30 days to appeal and may decide what to do at a meeting Monday, said City Manager Ted Strickland.

The dispute has brought standing room audiences to the typically placid City Hall and prompted state lawmakers to jump into the fray. On Tuesday, Gov. Sonny Perdue signed a revised eminent domain law that could help landowners in future eminent domain disputes, but not the Meekses.

On the west side is Eagle’s Landing, a country club community that will soon host the only annual Ladies Professional Golf Association tournament in Georgia.

On the east side of town are mom and pop stores like the flower shop Regina Meeks opened in 1983 in a wood frame house on North Henry Boulevard, one of the city’s busiest roads. City Hall is two blocks from the flower shop.

City leaders look at the east side and envision 22 acres with a new City Hall, homes and shops. Last year, the city sent condemnation notices to property owners. Most worked out deals to sell their land.

Others, like Regina and Mark Meeks, thought the city’s offer was too low. The Meekses accused the city of negotiating in bad faith. The city said the Meekses were misrepresenting the facts. A special master ruled the shop was worth $325,000. The couple appealed.

We need to see more victories like this one. Private property rights should never be taken for granted. I cannot tell you everything I have been through to finally grab my little piece of the pie, and I pity the fool that tries to take it from me.

Justice Souter’s House Safe from Gov’t Seizure; Not Yours

In an article called The U.S. Supreme Court: Strike Three I reported that in a 5-4 decision a divided Supreme Court ruled Thursday municipalities may bulldoze people’s homes to make way for shopping malls or other private development. This gives local governments broad power to seize private property to generate tax revenue.

Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the majority, said New London could pursue private development under the Fifth Amendment, which allows governments to take private property if the land is for public use, since the project the city has in mind promises to bring more jobs and revenue.

Well, I reported about a movement to Help take Souter’s House from him over this decision. Sadly it won’t happen…

From Newsmax.com:

In a largely symbolic gesture, voters in Supreme Court Justice David Souter’s hometown on Tuesday rejected a proposal to seize his 200-year-old farmhouse as payback for a ruling that expanded government’s authority to take property.

Even though voters overwhelmingly agreed to leave Souter’s home alone, it would have been safe whatever the outcome.

The vote was prompted by activists angered by the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision last year in a property rights case from Connecticut. Souter sided with the majority in holding that governments can take property and turn it over to private developers.

Originally, the ballot measure called for the seizure of Souter’s home so that it could be turned into an inn called the Lost Liberty Hotel. But at a town meeting in February, residents of this town of 8,500 watered down the language.

Voters decided 1,167 to 493 in favor of the reworded measure that asked the Board of Selectmen not to use their power of eminent domain to take the farmhouse, and instead urged New Hampshire to adopt a law that forbids seizures of the sort sanctioned by the Supreme Court.

“It makes Souter the only person in the United States that would be given special protection against his own ruling,” said Logan Darrow Clements of Los Angeles, a businessman who led the campaign to evict Souter.

Souter has not commented on the matter.

Two of the major players pushing for the seizure of Souter’s home also lost their bids for the five-member Board of Selectmen on Tuesday.

Hat Tip: Reader John Burns

This Eminent Domain debate is a major issue that needs to be dealt with quickly. People are losing their homes all over the country right now to commercial development; this is wrong.

When Thomas Jefferson used the words the Pursuit of Happiness in the Declaration of Independence he was directly referring to the right to own private property. First came property tax which made us all renters on our own private property and now the use of Eminent Domain to steal private property from private property owners to give to another individual for commercial development under the excuse it will bring in increased tax revenues and create jobs. I cannot find anything in the Constitution to back up this right. The Fifth Amendment clearly states for PUBLIC USE, not private use. The fallout of the Kelo decision has continued ever since.

A Google search of Eminent Domain yields 12,000,000 hits and a Google News Search yields 2,850 stories. That is up almost 800 news stories since I last reported on it in December. Do you still think it is much ado about nothing?

This doesn’t bother those on the Left because they think private property acquisition yields inequalities and is wrong. That would be because they are communists, under one label or another, and they believe in the re-distribution of wealth.

The cockroaches in Congress have done nothing substantive to protect our private property rights, and you should let them know how you feel about it.

The White House
The Senate
The House

State Legislatures Should Limit Eminent Domain

More than 30 state legislatures are considering limits on the power of local governments to condemn private property and transfer it to real estate developers to spur economic growth.

Five states enacted small changes last year, but most legislatures were not in session after the court ruling. “This is the crucial year for the eminent domain issue,” says Larry Morandi, who tracks eminent domain legislation for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Bills to restrict eminent domain have moved forward in Georgia, Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky and several other states, but none has become law yet. In New Mexico, the state Senate and House both approved limits, but the Legislature adjourned before final approval.

Some cities have used Eminent Domain to transfer property from unwilling sellers to developers who want to build shopping malls, offices or other projects. This is all in response to a Supreme Court ruling in June, that permitted eminent domain powers to be used in New London, Conn., to confiscate waterfront homes to build an office complex and condominiums. The 5-4 ruling prompted the people to push for States to make laws prohibiting the taking of private property for private economic development.

After the Supreme Court decision, legislatures in Alabama, Texas, Delaware, Michigan and Ohio took modest steps to restrict eminent domain. Michigan approved a constitutional amendment that will be on the ballot in November. Ohio approved a one-year moratorium on eminent domain for economic development. Congress also is considering restrictions.

“There’s been an explosion of outrage by people across the country and across the political spectrum about what can be done,” says Scott Bullock of the Institute of Justice, a libertarian public-interest law firm.

Last month, Charlotte-based BB&T, the nation’s ninth-largest bank, announced it would not lend money to developers who used eminent domain to acquire property. The Rhode Island Economic Development Corp., a quasi-public agency headed by the governor, announced it would no longer use eminent domain for economic development.

The people are not going to stand for this! And Now, the communist point of view…

Donald Borut, executive director of the National League of Cities, says state legislatures should not rush to judgment about eminent domain laws. He says careful study would show that eminent domain abuses are rare. “We all feel sympathetic for someone who is losing a home,” he says. “But we also have to consider the faces of people of all income levels who benefit from the job creation these projects bring.”

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few; thank you Spock. We value private property rights above all things in this country. It is one of the things that makes us a great nation. It is MY property and keep your grubby little mitts off it!

We need a private property rights movement in this country to stop this and reform property taxes in this country. It is not right for someone to be taxed out of their property. But it is for education, for the children, Communists. It is not my responsibility to educate your brats, keep your hands out of my pockets.

The U.S. Supreme Court and Eminent Domain

John Burns sent this to me via email, and I thought it was worth sharing with his permission.

When the supreme court removes limits on our government it owes the American people a comprehensive and thorough explanation as to why they did so, and as to why they believe they have that right.

It must be understood that when a limit on infringement is removed from our constitution an explanation and an accounting of the highest magnitude and of the greatest intensity in determinant description is in order.

How else are the American people to judge the judgments of our judges? Or have the prerogatives of our supreme court become such that no satisfactory explanations are to be afforded?

The American people understood the prerogative judgements of the British king and his parliament and rejected their premises as preposterous.

The American peoples understandings of oppressive inclination would sourly surprise their supreme rulers in judgments if they were to attempt an attentive self justification before our constitution.

When the supreme court gives judgement concerning a legal case that altemently affects the whole of the American people and their constitution the American people must demand it be resolved first and foremost with full constitutional integrity and considered constitutional effect and not with the alternative resolutions of the revelators.

The capacity of the American people to engage in intelligent thought and reasoning is attested to by the very fact that this is the most free nation in the world.

The very fact that the American people have intrusted the supreme court to interpret our constitution dose not give the supreme court the right to submit to the American people inadequate emanations of their rulings nor dose it expunge the rights and obligations of the American people to defend their freedom.

The supreme court must be made to yield not their rulings but their reasoning to the superior force of the American people and if those justifications are not to be found in pursuance of our constitution then the American people must demand that their government request a redress.

If the peoples government refuses to request a redress then it is up to the people to force their constitutional right to amend their constitution and if our government refuses to amend then the necessity of revolution is at hand.
The summation of part disregards the whole.

The employment of extraordinary efforts of evasion implemented by the supreme court in the kelo decision must not be allowed to violate the agreed to contract between the American people and their government.

The Extrinsic value of our constitution must be upheld and the avoidance of interpretation must no longer be tolerated.

True integrity and soundness of construction must be demanded by the American people upon their supreme court.

The indeterminate design and unsatisfactory explanation placed before the American people in the Kelo decision is absolutely unacceptable.

It has become the opinion of the Supreme Court that the peoples written constitution is but an antiquated document of disrepute and is subject to all the degenerative rulings of their own past precedents and not of the supportive conclusions of a people determined to break away from the tyrannical rule of all unjust and oppressive governments foreign and domestic.

The very issues that limited aggressive governmental intrusions upon its people and that were decided before the continental congress in the formation of our republic and the writing of our constitution are the very same issues that freed this country and its people and should never be revisited without the full reverence in reference due.
The supreme court is no longer principled by the peoples constitution of the United States of America and is in no way remotely influenced by our deceleration of independence.

Our constitution embodies the fundamental principles of the revolution that gave us life liberty and the pursuit of happiness and freedom in property was the major theme.

What was unconsidered and unrealized in the kelo decision was our United States Constitution no ifs ands or butts about it!

When the American people ratified our constitution they gave berth to the constitutionally subordinate republic we now call the United States of America.

It is now the decision of our supreme court that our state governments are no longer to be obliged in guarded submission to our constitution and to its imposements of legally agreed to and willfully accepted unities of contract so subscibed and ratified.

Yes people it is our deceleration and it is our independence and it is our freedom that is under attack. Long live the king’s of counsel and God help the American people!

So ,what are we going to do about it?