eminent domain.

…or imminent demise?

for my RELE class, the prof provided us an article by CBS from 2003 in regards to eminent domain. we were asked to submit a comment on the article after reading it. you can access it here. here’s what i had to say…

This is absolutely ridiculous. The mayor of Lakewood should be removed from office for sheer lack of logic, i.e. stupidity. The line of reasoning that the possible tax benefits from expensive, PRIVATELY built condos/apartments…etc. falls under the umbrella of eminent domain is as disjointed as a CEO justifying his company’s engagement in price-gouging by saying, “Dude, I pay my taxes – the richer I am, the richer the government, the better off YOU are, fellow citizen.” Under this “eminent domain justification theory”, this CEO would be off the hook. I…don’t think so. First, what if the new units don’t sell, for reasons other than location? Furthermore, doesn’t the mayor want to take some time to consider the potential harm on city and community from disrupting a “quiet neighborhood” (Saleet home + 55 others around it), and uprooting a family in good standing (home is paid off) who has lived in your city for 38 years? Financially speaking, I personally feel it is almost impossible to give retirees a FMV for their home, especially when they own it outright – a home is one of the few non-depreciable assets; it is an investment. Of course, in the Saleets case, they want to pass it on to their children (hello, non-homogeneity…they want to give their children THIS home, HERE…), but what if they had been planning on selling it and using the money for retirement? Eminent domain only ensures they get market value – that’s NOT the definition of an investment. It’s closer to the definition of breaking even. It is the right of owners/sellers to make as much of a profit as they can, within the bounds of their financial ability and the law – with the exception being CONSTITUTIONAL use of eminent domain. According to the article, the Saleets’ home is in a “prime”, “scenic” location, and new condos there will be “a cinch to sell” – I’ll bet you the FMV price is much lower than what the Saleets would be able to get in a private sale. The mayor should have considered revamping an area of the city that is not being maximized – if she improved an area that needed it, and built good quality, desirable condos/apts there, it would truly be in the best interest of the public; and that’s a broad definition. My copy of Black’s [law dictionary] states eminent domain to be “the inherent power of a government entity to take privately owned property, esp. land, and convert it to PUBLIC USE, subject to reasonable compensation for the taking.” PRIVATE condos/apt would NOT fall under this definition. I smell removal from office… I’ve already written more than what can be comfortably read here – as for the hardware store and the New York story, everything I stated before applies: for PUBLIC USE (if you’re building condos/apts, that means I and Joe Schmoe have keys and can come and use your bathroom unannounced anytime, forever). The government can use private contractors to build/do the work, but the end result must benefit the public (makes life for everyone better in some way) AND be open to the public. Sorry, supreme court: no margins for you to dance in – letter of the law.

…i prefer to use italics over capitalization, but unfortunately it wasn’t an option.

what do you think? i know i have quite a few educated, politically aware, and easily incensed friends out there – i’d love to get your take.


“No Eminent Domain Abuse” – by Steve Soblick


"The Pac-Man of Eminent Domain" - by GarySe7en


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