consultants are sandburs

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My friend Gary Gross has published something of a unique understanding of the Fifth Amendment prohibition against taking private property without due process.

This link. This opening excerpt, including two quotes within the quote below, and with the link in the original:

After reading this article, I’m wondering if I’m living the United States or in the former Soviet Union. Seriously, does anyone think that governments should be able to use eminent domain to take private property from a family to build biking hiking trails? That’s what Dakota County is attempting to do:

The county is seeking a “quick-take” condemnation, effectively a compelled sale, of four parcels of land in the park reserve, offering a total of about $2 million.

County commissioners voted in November to take the land, saying the properties are a key part of a planned trail and other features.

What’s more important: private property rights or giving government to take any piece of land to do with it whatever it wants to do? This is stealing. What’s especially appalling is the taking of the land to build biking and hiking trails. What’s worse is that Dakota County is attempting to steal this private property for a questionable project while offering the property owners settlements at far less than fair market value:

Aho said the county hasn’t shown enough progress on other planned improvements besides the trail to demonstrate a need for condemnation.

She also said the county’s offer for the land, $370,000, “drastically undervalued” assets like a marina and 1,000-plus feet of lakeshore.

Respect for tradition entails understanding it.

Valuation is a fact question where procedures exist for resolving disagreement in the judiciary.

Power to take, Gary, Gary, Gary.

It's not for you to say what's a public purpose. Representative [aka constitutional] government puts that power elsewhere. If I don't like road expansion, or the Northstar, yes I can criticize judgment, but I cannot sanely deny the power of government to meet its purpose, which, obviously, is to govern.

Wisdom and power are separate, and if one wants to argue wisdom of particular expenditure/particular purpose, please be precise - while if wanting powers changed and realigned, join like minded persons in a campaign to change existing law, including Constitutional norms.

But avoid mish-moshing stuff, as that might mislead the gullible, and I am certain Gary has absolutely no intent of influencing and inflaming passions among the gullible. Continued reading over time of his blogging will give any reader a sense of the honorableness in his position-taking. Of the strength of his effort to avoid sophistry.

An "I like highways, I don't like public decisions for bikeways," attitude can be held, but that's judgmental about decision making by elected representatives, within the clearly lawful bounds of their governmental powers.

Due process means a fairness in compensation and following procedures, not impotence to set public purposes and policy.

Gary goes on to state:

After WWII, eminent domain was used to buy the land needed to build the interstate highway or other high priority pieces of infrastructure that led to great increases of wealth and prosperity to the masses. Since Kelo v. New London, eminent domain has been used to take property from private property owners and give it to government so it can create parks or bike trails.

That statement misunderstands Kelo, wholly so; as well as misunderstanding prior "taking" law, and Gary should reread the case.

Finally, Jeff Wise has proven at least in an individual situation, that there are other avenues to deal with eminent domain besides litigation in the judiciary. In short, Jeff was wise, in protecting his personal interests. In getting his best price.

___________FURTHER UPDATE___________
Gary might also benefit from reading Lucas. Simplistic statement of simple beliefs while not correctly recognizing precedent can often overlook nuances. It can lead to ill-reasoned conclusions more expressive of a prejudiced viewpoint at the outset of an analysis rather than evidencing an analysis grounded on study and appreciation of argument recognizing precedent - as it is.

Does "conservatism" mean much, truly, besides appreciation of precedent?

Elsewise, what's to conserve?

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