Eminent domain abuse

Eminent domain allows the government to seize private property without the owner’s consent. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution requires that just compensation be paid to the owner, and it also requires that the property be taken for public use.
Thanks to a Supreme Court ruling in 2005, called Kelo v. the City of New London, eminent domain legislation has been the focus of many states, in an attempt to contain what is widely regarded as eminent domain abuse. This abomination of individual rights essentially allowed a rich developer seize another person’s private property in the name of profiteering on the loss that the previous owner was forced to take as “just compensation.”
President George W. Bush, on June 23, 2006, issued an executive order which mandated that eminent domain cannot be used “for the purpose of advancing the economic interest of private parties to be given ownership or use of the property taken.”
You would think that that would help prevent people from getting their properties seized by the government so the government could turn around and sell it to wealthy developers. But the honey pot is too sweet. Recently, in the state of California, we had two propositions. Prop 98 had the following terms: First, it stopped state and local governments from taking or damaging private property for private uses. It also prohibited rent control and similar measures. It prohibited deference to the government in takings cases. It defined “just compensation.” It required an award of attorneys fees and costs if a property owner obtained a judgment for more than the amount offered by the government. Finally it required the government to offer to original owner of condemned property the right to repurchase property at condemned price when property is put to substantially different use than was publicly stated.
Immediately after the drafting of proposition 98, proposition 99 was drafted, presumably by wealthy developers conspiring with the government to protect their gravy train, which completely rendered all of the provisions set forth in proposition 98 to be completely ineffective and easily overruled. Prop 99 amended the California Constitution and stopped the government from exercising eminent domain on owner occupied residences ONLY, and even then makes a laundry list of exceptions. Protection against eminent domain abuse:
“does not apply when State or local government exercises the power of eminent domain for the purpose of protecting public health and safety; preventing serious, repeated criminal activity; responding to an emergency; or remedying environmental contamination that poses a threat to public health and safety.”
“does not apply when State or local government exercises the power of eminent domain for the purpose of acquiring private property for a public work or improvement.”
As you might imagine, no definition of what constitutes “protecting public health and safety” is offered, no definition of “serious repeated criminal activity” is offered, no definition of “responding to an emergency” is offered, no definition of “environmental contamination that poses a threat to public health and safety” is offered.
I can’t wait until the lawsuits begin seizing property for the simple existence of old construction materials such as lead paint or asbestos.
Of course, the following phrase was also a part of the implementation of this bill: “deliberately do not impose any restrictions on the exercise of power pursuant to Section 19, Article I, other than as expressly provided for in this measure.”
Even as I write this, a business owner, who owns commercial property in one of the most prosperous and desirable areas of the city, is getting his head handed to him by the local government, so that the government and a rich developer can take away his rightfully and intelligently acquired commercial property (for pennies on the dollar), and feed at the money trough.
As you might imagine, this excursion into fascism and totalitarian supremacy is brought to you by the California Democratic Party, the Eviction Defense Collaborative, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), American Civil Liberties Union, SEIU California State Council (a labor union representing primarily healthcare workers and government employees, which donated $700,000 to support prop 99), Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Barbara Boxer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and California State Association of Counties, (a lobbying association whose members are California Counties and which donated at least $912,000 to support prop 99).
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."Lord Acton