Seizing Private Property

Thursday, June 23, 2005
I had another post ready but then the Supreme Court came out with a decision that allows local governments to sieze private property to be used for another private venture. All I can think is Wow.

I usually am against eminent domain, even for a clear public project like a road or a school. I tend to think that it takes extraordinary circumstances for our government to sieze the land of one of its private citizens. Government is meant to protect its people and sacrificing one's rights for the benefit of others is usually not my idea of protecting citizens.

How come in cases like this the "public good" includes everybody else but the citizens directly involved? If someone tried to come to my house to sieze it for the public good I would wonder why anybody else was anymore public than me. Yes, I understand the reasoning behind why governments want to sieze the land, to bring in tax revenue that many cities are sorely lacking. But really, how fair is this? Eveybody should be concerned when government does things like this, your house might be next and who will stand for you then?


Anonymous said...

I am with you on this. It is awful that the Supremes basically said it's OK for a city to kick poor home owners off their land in order to give the land to a private developer who will chop it up into luxury condos and sell it to rich people. That is not the public good! As a home owner, this scares me. What if my neighborhood got targeted for redevelopment? Even if the city paid me what my home was worth, they'd still be taking my home, and any appreciation I might have earned off the property in the future. Allowing city governments to sieze property in the name of "Economic Redevelopment" is practically class warfare since it will always be poorer people forced off their land in favor of richer people, or companies. In California, where cities can only get higher property taxes when a property is sold, this ruling is especially frightening. What's to stop cities from "Economically Redevelopping" an area any time they need more property tax revenue than the area currently brings in?