Given we live in a nation where government can take land simply for the sake of increasing the money flowing into government. None of us knows the moment we might be forcibly removed from our property and given a check, even if we never wanted the check. Folks in Arlington Heights, Illinois are learning that “blighted” in their town means, we had to make up something in order to bring in that new Super Target. Eminent domain abuse continues. But the good people of this town have not given up the fight and are still fighting things out in court. You know, the courts, the place that approved eminent domain abuse in the first place .
(One of the businesses being forced out is named XSport Fitness.)
XSport Fitness appeals redevelopment ruling
I was contacted by one of the folks fighting against this abuse in Arlington Heights. I asked them to send me pictures of this supposedly “blighted” area, so that I could show you how it really looks. They directed me to the blog WindyPundit, that has been covering this issue for some time. There I found a link to 90 pictures of the area. Have a look at the pictures yourself. It probably looks a lot like a shopping area in your neighborhood, maybe better. And if it happened to them, it can happened to you.
You can see from those pictures, they are not some run-down crime ridden area in need of any form of redevelopment that might make the place better. It’s a regular shopping area, that some in government simply felt was not profitable enough for government greed.
Stockbridge Florist and Gifts owner Mark Meeks has won a court battle to keep his store. With no help from the State Legislature, a judge ruled that the city cannot take their property. The judge mentioned that the plan the City of Stockbridge, Georgia has in mind is not related to public use.
Georgia Governor Sonny Purdue has signed a bill into law, that will make it harder for such abuses in the future. So the City of Stockbridge will have a much harder time if they try and take Mr. Meeks’ property again. Mrs. Meeks mentioned that construction equipment came so close to their property, that some fragile items had fallen from their walls.
While the new legislation protects from future abuses, a grandfather clause was removed from the bill that would have offered protection to the Meeks even if they lost their court case. So while people are happy the bill is finally law, there is some anger that protection for the Meeks was taken out. Since the issues the Meeks endured helped push the legislation in the first place. The Henry County NAACP, that stood with the Meeks expressed disappointment that the Meeks were not protected by a grandfather clause.
Gov. Perdue Signs Eminent Domain Laws
The Democrats are right. Perdue and the Republicans did do a total about-face on this issue and did previously try to make it easier for developers to work with government to take property. Although to my knowledge, the Democrats never showed that they ever proposed anything to better protect private property.
So in total everything ends well on this issue in Georgia and the folks who don’t like Purdue or Republicans (Democrats and NAACP) found something to toss mud about.
Last year I mentioned how Mark Meeks, owner of Stockbridge Florist and Gifts is having his business taken from him. The City of Stockbridge, Georgia wants his land. And they WANT IT BAD!! He had a deal to sell his shop to a drug store for $743,000. The city changed the rules for the size of drugstores, to a size so small that the drugstore buyer backed out. Now the city wants to give him $325,000 and they are upset that Mr. Meeks is not accepting their offer. The backhoe has already torn down everything else near his shop and the city is waiting do the same to his property.
Stockbridge insists on land from florist shop
How is it “unreasonable” for someone to refuse an offer for LESS THAN HALF of what they could have received if the government had not messed up the deal? This city council is just evil. They will stop at nothing to take this land and even when a better offer is made for it they find a way to mess up the deal.
Mr. Meeks has been holding things up with court battles, but his time is running out. The George State Legislature could have already ended all of this mess by passing legislation to stop this kind of abuse. But they are dragging their feet on passing the bill.
Reports say that if the legislature does not intervene in the next day or so, Mr. Meeks’ property will be stolen by the government. I say stolen, because the amount of compensation they are offering him is not true market value, considering the deal he had on the table that they thwarted.
Mr. Meeks has appealed for help from literally everyone he could. He has been on FoxNews with Hannity and Colmes. At last night’s City Council meeting the head of the Henry County NAACP was on hand to support Mr. Meeks. (The city of Stockbridge is part of Henry County.) The Henry County NAACP head mentioned basically, if it happened to him it can happen to anyone.
The recent abuses of eminent domain mean that you have no right to be anything but rich. Anything less means you have no right to own property.
Riviera Beach Mayor Michael Brown was on Hannity and Colmes to discuss how he is taking property from the poor to give to the rich. When the Mayor was asked how he could abuse his power like this, he responded by speaking about the poor people in New Orleans and how President Bush suggested that towns do for themselves. What this fool does not realize is that he’s doing nothing to help the poor in his area. He’s getting rid of them! Which will force them to spend money finding a new home. While they may get fair market value for what is taken from them, they will still have to face the expenses involved with moving and settling in a new area. The move may put them further from their job, which will increase their overall expenses.
Even 60 Minutes has pointed out that this affects not just the poor. It affects anyone that a local government deems not rich enough! For those working their way up to be rich, there is no more time allowed. If you are not rich now you’ve got to go! If you don’t desire to be rich and simply wish to live comfortably as a property owner, this no longer allowed. You’ll get a check and be kicked to the curb, literally.
What is even more of a massive irony in the Riviera Beach case, is that the Mayor is a Black man who is planning to kick out poor Blacks while he claims to be helping them. Oh but he’s a Liberal Democrat, so I guess I should not be surprised! Given Liberal Democrats advocate people murdering babies in the womb in the name of “advancement”, while the areas with the most abortions continue to do the worst. As Sean Hannity accurately pointed out, Mayor Brown is not doing this to help poor people, he is doing it to help himself. An increased tax base means more money for him to play with.
I’ve got no problem with an area’s tax base increasing and new businesses coming in. In fact I totally endorse it for helping poor areas. But when it is done by way of removing current property owners by force, instead of allowing them to remain in their homes and businesses as long as they can afford the taxes, it displaces the poor in favor of the rich. If the poor are not removed via force, then they have the opportunity to get jobs from some of the new businesses and grow with the community. They also have the opportunity to sell their property at what they find to be an acceptable price if they are unable to stay. What government finds to be “fair market value” might not be acceptable to the property owner. And any owner that must leave should have the freedom to negotiate what they feel is the best deal for themselves. With abuse of eminent domain, government gets to decide when negotiations end and the closing terms!
Since the establishment of this nation, the property owner was always given special consideration. Property owners used to be the only people that could vote. Now owning property in America means nothing. If your property is not giving your local government the tax revenue they desire, they now can simply take your property and pass you a check for what they feel is reasonable.
In my prior post about the Riviera Beach situation, I mentioned that:
Well I thought the ACTORvists would consider running to prevent some poor Blacks from losing their property. But that has not happend. They are too busy trying to save a man behind the destruction in many Black communities. I guess Tookie’s fund raisers were able to pay whatever fee is involved in getting a Poverty Pimp to run to your cause. Also there are more cameras there for them to market themselves with.
So far the main people speaking out strongly against property rights abuse have been Conservatives. Conservatives on the US Supreme Court (and the Liberal O’Connor that some mistake for Conservative) were the only ones that dissented from the majority in the Kelo v. New London case. Conservatives have proven they are protectors of the rights of both rich and poor to own property. While the property being taken is in Liberal areas.
update (12/7/2005 10:31PM ET): Mayor Dumbo Michael Brown was on Hannity and Colmes again tonight. And he mentioned that Hannity was standing in a nice yard to do the interview and would not have been able to stand there a year ago. If that yard and small area could be improved without taking property, it proves that more areas could be improved without taking away property. But Mayor Dumbo would rather take property to increase the tax base, so he will have more to play with. He’s even called the people who want to stay selfish. Which is really a shame for a public official to stoop that low. Speaking of stooping low, I don’t think Hannity should have brought up the Mayor’s dead mother. Low blow Sean and no need for you to go there. Although you did a good job in getting this story out.
The people fighting Mayor Dumbo have a web site here.
The Political Teen has video of the latest interview.
Mark Meeks, owner of Stockbridge Florist and Gifts has discovered that why he felt his business was fine the local government is not happy with it’s presence! And the city of Stockbridge, GA is attempting to condemn his shop as part of a “downtown development project”. Basically they want to replace his business with things they feel would be more profitable. His business is in fine shape and nothing is worn down. It is not something that is at all worthy of condemnation.
This particular case of eminent domain abuse may not end with the city taking the property though. Republican lawmakers in Georgia are already working to stop this kind of abuse!
Ruling Delayed on Eminent Domain Case
So if Georgia’s legislature does the good deed Mark Meeks’ current business location will be saved! It would also mean that property across the state is protected from eminent domain abuse!
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