Thursday, June 23, 2005

Where do you live? Not in New London, I hope.
"Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random," she wrote. "The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms." These are the words of dissenting Justice Sandra Day O'Connor , in her unsuccessful attempt to prevent the US Supreme court to rule against a law that states that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses against their will for private development.
The law is Eminent Domain. The Fifth Amendment allows governments to take private property through eminent domain if the land is for "public use." In the past, this has meant that the government could build a fire station in the best location for that station. Now, it means that the city fathers can build a mall on your property if it serves a public purpose of boosting economic growth.
Eminent Domain is ok if the purpose is to better serve the community. It is NOT ok if the purpose is to fatten someone's wallet. Even a Small Town Hick like myself knows that this ruling is simply the fat cats of America enshrining the right to grab any land they think they can make a profit off of, in exchange for a little kickback to the city council.

We get ourselves all in a lather over gay marriage and terrorist threats, but THIS is the kind of issue we need to address. What good is it to make a neighbourhood safe, if Wal-Mart can take it away to build a superstore?

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