Friday, October 07, 2005

Stealing home

Here is a prime reason why the current battle for the Supreme Court is so crucial to our nation's future. Seizing the opportunity afforded them by the recent Kelo v. City of New London ruling, the District of Columbia has notified 23 landowners that they are to vacate their property by Dec. 31 to make room for a new stadium for the Washington Nationals... for the "common good":

The District will begin using eminent domain to acquire parcels of land at the site of the Washington Nationals' ballpark by the end of this month, after unsuccessful negotiations with nearly half of the landowners.
City officials said they expect to file court documents to take over at least some of the 21-acre site in the coming weeks and have $97 million set aside to buy the properties and help landowners relocate.
The city made offers to all 23 landowners on the site last month but received no response from 10.
"We think there are some that we'll have good-faith negotiations with," said Steve Green, director of development in the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. "There are some we haven't heard from at all."
Many property owners on the site said the city's offers are inadequate. Others are suing the city on the grounds that it has no right to use eminent domain to acquire land at the site, despite a Supreme Court ruling affirming the right of municipal governments to take private property for the purpose of economic development.
In April, the city notified property owners on the site that they would be required to move out by Dec. 31.

Earlier this week, plans were announced to relocate 6,000 residents of a predominantly poor Florida community so that a billion dollar yachting and housing complex could be built... again for the "common good":

The coastal community of Rivera Beach in Palm Beach County may use eminent domain, if necessary, to claim 400 acres of land for the project, The Washington Times reported Monday.

"This is a community that's in dire need of jobs, which has a median income of less than $19,000 a year," Mayor Michael Brown said. "If we don't use this power, cities will die."

The U.S. Supreme Court in June upheld the use of eminent domain for economic purposes, ruling against a group of New London, Conn., homeowners fighting a proposed corporate development.

The City Council last week chose a New Jersey-based developer, Viking Inlet Harbor Properties LLC, to oversee the project, which is expected to displace 2,000 houses.

Viking has said it will pay at least the assessed values of homes and businesses it buys.

Dana Berliner, a lawyer who represented the New London homeowners, warned, "Once someone can be replaced, so something more expensive can go where they were, every home and business in the country is subject to taking by someone else."

Exactly right. As Founding Father and Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story once said:

"And it is no less true, that personal security and private property rest entirely upon the wisdom, the stability, and the integrity of the courts of justice."

We are now witnessing the fruits of "the wisdom, the stability, and the integrity" of our High Court. Stay tuned... this is just the beginning.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,