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Bipartisan House bill may reestablish private property

As of June 23, 2005, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 there was no private property in America. In Kelo versus the City of New London, the Court decided that economic development is considered a “public use” under the Fifth Amendment’s Taking Clause.

The City of New London wanted some private land for a private developer (Pfizer Corp.) so they took it using eminent domain saying the property was “blighted” because they would get more taxes from the company than the homeowners who lived on the property.

The ruling allowed the Connecticut city to condemn property owned by Susette Kelo and her neighbors, and give the property to the Pfizer Corporation to build a new research facility and for the construction of a hotel and condos.

The Court ruling, in essense, allowed the taking of private property to give, not to the state or government of any kind, but to another private entity, which could pay more taxes, create jobs, or simply make better economic use of the land.

As a result of this ruling, the federal government’s power of eminent domain has become almost limitless, providing citizens with few means to protect their property.

That is until last Tuesday, when a bipartisan bill was passed in the House that would cause state and local governments that use eminent domain to seize private property for economic development to lose federal funding for two years. The bill needs to pass the Senate and be signed by the president.

Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) co-sponsor of the bill said, “Uncle Sam can condemn one family’s home only because another private entity would pay more tax revenue,” and the House bill would “protect every homeowner and non-profit from being bulldozed in the interest of for-profit land grabs.”

Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who also co-sponsored the bill said, “The founders cannot have intended this perverse result – using economic development as a justification for using its power of eminent domain at the expense of the poor and politically weak,”

BTW, the City of New London and state spent $78 million to bulldoze the Kelo’s and their neighbors’ property, but the new Pfizer development never materialized due to the recession and the property now sits vacant with all the homes and people’s memories removed forever!

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41 Comments

  1. Carol Foster

    I watched in our village some years back the attempt to use eminent domain unfairly when gov couldn’t get a land owner to sell for a development that would bring sales tax dollars to gov coffiers.
    I stood up loud and clear at the podium to condemn the use of eminent domain to gain sales tax dollars and said that was never the original intent of those laws.
    You are just now finding out this has been going on for a long time, Ted, and finally are speaking up it’s an issue that crosses party lines?
    Three cheers for you that at long last you are willing to say both sides have something in common and need to stand firm that tax dollars aren’t above the right to own your property and not want to be forced to sell it for developement. The use of the land for the greater good of a community was intended for roads, drainage, utiliites etc.. and that was for a portion needed, not everything unless the land was going to be underwater!
    Our Village was going to do this to a person who had been in the hospital and unable to deal with the gov.. Not that was too sad. The man had to have a lawyer come to the meeting to explain it all so the Board wouldn’t vote to do eminent domain. He did sell his land to the village at the price he said he would in the beginning and not the one eminent domain was trying to force him to accept when he was too sick to talk about it.
    Oh, Ted, this must just spoil your whole vision of me.

  2. try4truth

    Please try to get the story right. The property is not vacant. I know you wish it was, but its not.

  3. Dan F.

    Why do you claim that “[t]he property is not vacant”?

    http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D9AU92VG0&show_article=1

    Along these lines, Ted, I hear that the issue of rent control may reach the Supreme Court soon. I know rent control is not something that Rockford people care much about, but it’s still a “taking” in my view and needs to be overturned.

  4. Per the most recent article that I could find……….

    The Famous ‘Kelo House’ Property Is Now A Vacant Lot

    Read more: http://articles.businessinsider.com/2009-11-10/law_review/29964026_1_susette-kelo-eminent-domain-pfizer#ixzz1oAGNh5tZ

    • Ted Biondo

      Thanks for making my day SNuss and DanF. The land is vacant and public use does not mean giving private property to another private developer. I have some friends who own beach property in Florida. A developer came in the area and tried to take it but finally had to offer them a reasonable amount and a condo in the development. Can you imagine what will happen if this ruling is not overturned by the Supreme Court.

      Rich people and developers will take over everything with what will amount to bribes in taxes to municipalities – no private property would be safe if it can be developed at a profit.

      And Carol, this must spoil your whole vision of me – wanting to be fair to all property owners, including the poor and prevent the rich from taking what is theirs. But where we differ, I don’t think the government should take the property of the rich either and redistribute it to anyone – it all comes down to choice and freedom!

  5. Dan F.

    Perhaps try4truth’s comment was based on the presence of any life, not just human habitation. The article I cited did admit that the land is now occupied by feral cats.

  6. Carol Foster

    No, Ted, you’d like to think eminent domain relates to fairer taxes in both the percentages being paid as well as the deductions that are allowed.
    Seperate issues.
    Neither should be politics as usual.
    Both effect everyone and there’s no super patroits waving the flag for freedom in the matter.
    The redistribute thing has gotten pretty old and stale.

    • Ted Biondo

      Carol, what the hell are you talking about? I’m saying that the poor shouldn’t have to redistribute their wealth and the things they own to the rich! My God, what are you even saying?

  7. Concerned 2

    Ted: I can’t remember where I read this, but maybe you might be able to track it down. A one or two acre partial of land owned for 50 years by an elderly private person wanted to be purchased by some sort or county club or house riding club. He did not want to sell. This is what he did and I don’t know how it was done, he subdivided his land into 2 or 3 square foot partials and sold 18,500 partials to different parities. Some of the purchasers were very wealthy and did not like the current eminent domain law. The city or county had to deal with each of the new land owners. The cost to the city to continue eminent domain procedures out weighted the potential tax gain. the elderly man gets to live on his land until he passes.

  8. Marcus

    Advocating for the poor is different than standing up for property owners’ rights. Are you grouping these together here, Ted?

    • Ted Biondo

      In every case, Marcus the private developer will be richer and more powerful than the existing owner and will ultimately lose their property to the rich and powerful like Kelo or even the Torres food store to IGA on South Main through the City of Rockford’s South Main TIF. The Torres store may not have been in poverty, but they had to move for IGA. The IGA didn’t work out just like PFizer and the Torres lost their store. They moved but I don’t know if they were as successful.

      So, Marcus are you saying a conservative is not allowed to advocate for the poor? You are now going to define the standards for poor and rich, because a conservative surely wouldn’t understand, right?. Jesus, you people are unbelieveable!!!!

  9. Marcus

    Ted- I don’t understand how you read so much into my comment (incorrectly and very pompously). Where did all the assumptions, in the second paragraph of your last comment, come from?

    • Ted Biondo

      Yes, I’m grouping these two together. There’s your answer. Now, what about the damn point of the post ? That the local or state government can take your property and give it to some other private entity? You go off on some tangent about poverty and property rights. I’m through with people that don’t stick to the point of the post – go write your own blog on psychology if that’s what interests you!

      Government’s control over our lives and taking all our money to give away for votes is what I’m concerned about. I’m not answering off topic points. Pompous or not, I have more important things to do with my time!

  10. Marcus

    Well, abuse of eminent domain has been a pet peeve of mine for about 25 years. I’m always glad to see others bringing this issue into public discourse.
    Thanks.

    As far as your other thoughts- I wish I could say something to help you.

  11. Dan F.

    I studied Carol’s comment for seven minutes, and it’s utterly incomprehensible to me. I am starting to wonder whether her computer has some awful virus that secretly rearranges sentences, deletes phrases, and randomly swaps out words and replaces them with other unrelated words. So, Ted, I can understand your frustration over Carol’s comments. They are as indecipherable to me as hieroglyphics.

    (And Carol: I think you’re a lovely lady and I wish you every happiness. I do hope some day I will understand what you write.)

    But Marcus asks a question that I would like to try to understand. Marcus, you said: “Advocating for the poor is different than standing up for property owners’ rights. Are you grouping these together here, Ted?”

    It sounds as if Marcus is saying that a person who stands up for property owners’ rights is not entitled to describe himself or herself as advocating for the poor. Clearly, this is true if you believe that the poor don’t own property. But many poor people do own property, so in another sense standing up for property owners’ rights does indeed advocate for the poor people who own property (and who might suffer disproportionately from abuse of eminent domain).

    I think I’m missing something here. Well, life it too short to ponder everything.

  12. The argument is the same, whether you are talking real estate, or earned income: The government is taking what you earned, own, or built, and gives it to someone else, for THEIR purposes. THEY (government) decides what you “deserve” to keep.

  13. JRM_CommonSense

    If by the government you mean our elected representatives and senators, then you are correct because they pass and/or amend the tax code. If you mean the executive branch, then you are wrong. They either sign or veto the work of the legislature. Your money is taken based on the tax code, the amount you earn, the deductions that apply to you, and the loopholes that apply to you as passed by our elected representatives. This is significantly different that the physical property you own and that some governmental agency wants to take it from you

  14. The last I heard, both money and real estate are considered “tangible” assets.

  15. Carol Foster

    JRM
    You know they have no learning curve. As plain as you make it, they can’t accept how their own government works. They can only relate to this White House is taking their money and handing it out to the poor to buy votes. The mantra of Faux News, Rush Limbaugh, and the Tea Party followers.
    They as Americans have had nothing to do with any of the problems they now say happened that are ruining the nation in their opinion.
    Don’t remind them there are three branches of their own government and how they work.
    SNuss, may decide to remind you of how wise the Founding FAthers were to only allow property owners the right to vote in the very beginning because they knew how easily the poor could be bought with the promises of free this or that in 1789. And how right they were as America has gone to hell in a handbasket (or food stamps driven by welfare cheats in a Cadillac) since non property holders, non whites, women, and 18 year olds got the vote. And if that doesn’t make you barf your breakfast than you really have a strong constitution.
    Myself I just marvel at how stuck in one place this bunch got itself.

  16. JRM_CommonSense

    You are right Snuss, they are both tangible assets, but the “government” cannot go into you bank and take your savings account or to your financial investment accounts and take your assets if you have not done something illegal that gives them the legal right to do so. In fact, they insure some of it from loss. Maybe that is one of the things you need to rant and protest about since it probably is illegal because it is mandated for all eligible accounts and takes away your freedom to go without that kind of insurance.

  17. Tell that to the IRS, who’s motto is guilty until proven innocent. They can freeze your assets, and force YOU to show that you have done nothing wrong, before they release the funds. Or tell the police, who can seize large amounts of cash from you, and force you to prove that you possess it legally, and may not even return it after that.

    See: http://www.isil.org/resources/lit/looting-of-america.html

  18. JRM_CommonSense

    If you have the IRS or the Police freezing your assets then you there is something that smells rotten in your version of Denmark. Every one of the examples in your supposed unbiased sources mention some possible illegal activity that appeared in the woodpile. Another case of tryingt to scare people with possible bogey men.

  19. Carol Foster

    SNuss’s sources always resemble gossip columns or those papers you can buy at the check-out at the grocery store.
    I recall the one he said to read about the President’s dog being flown home for a photo opt at Christmas from Hawaii. The reporter wasn’t even sure the dog had been on the return flight and didn’t know if the dog was, how much that would cost the taxpayers?
    Gossip, pure and simple but that was the source of SNuss’s big story about the dog.
    Maybe he just doesn’t have much of a standard when it comes to sources or he enjoys gossip.They never quite add up to the hipe he gives them.

  20. JRM_CommonSense

    The Boo, too and the Boo Hoo 2U are the exact some document which looks like a place where people can go and vent. Some of the rant claim that the IRS turned down their offers to settle for a different amount than the IRS was asking for. This says to me that the IRS probably is chasing money that is owed and all we have is a dispute over what the person owing the money really wants to pay.

    The first link is a letter from an attorney to the IRS claiming, on heresay, that the IRS is acting illegally. There is no followup and no description of the IRS response ,if any. I wonder how many letters the IRS gets from lawyers every day where the lawyer is attempting to get his client a lesser penalty by claiming harassment.

    Once again, all of these “testimonials” relate to people who have been investigated by the IRS and are unhappy with the result or think they have been mistreated in the investigation. Keep in mind, every criminal in prison today is innocent, just ask them.

  21. Some of them are innocent, as DNA tests have proven.

    Here are a few words from our Founding Fathers:

    “If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”
    – Samuel Adams

    As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights. Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions.

    If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.

    It is sufficiently obvious, that persons and property are the two great subjects on which Governments are to act; and that the rights of persons, and the rights of property, are the objects, for the protection of which Government was instituted. These rights cannot well be separated.

    There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.
    – James Madison

    And one more recent quote:
    “Every step we take towards making the State our Caretaker of our lives, by that much we move toward making the State our Master.”
    Dwight D. Eisenhower

  22. Carol Foster

    The good news is when SNuss does the quote thing, because he’s run out of his own words on the topic, it’s over for him. Foolishness ended until Ted’s next column.
    Thanks, JRM, for pointing out the SNuss sources used don’t sound very reliable or something people should consider as sound material to back up an opinion here.

  23. JRM_CommonSense

    I guess someone’s desire to reform the tax system includes allowing people to continue to try to game the system to keep their money rather than pay what they owe. Quoting our founders to attempt to justify a misguided argument is the same approach as all of those “biblical” experts use to justify their position on everything by mis-quoting the Bible.

    If our forefathers were such brilliant men, how is it that the document that they created has 27 amendments to it. Did they get something wrong? And the people who amended it had to pass some more amendments to repeal some of the amendments that they made to it to begin with.

    Don’t give me examples to support your opinions where it is obvious that the peson you are referring to was trying to scam the system. For example, someone who is claiming to have made money doing “consulting” and is complaining that the IRS invalidated some of the $40,000.00 in business expenses he claimed is one of the most common complaints you will find. Why is that? Because this is one of the biggest IRS scam attempts, and these people always get caught. But that doesn’t stop them from trying it and getting caught. Then they have to make a counter offer to the IRS to try not to pay as much as they really owe. Andit is amazing that the criminal is being made the victim to try to justify a bogus political point by the snussinator. BOO!

  24. JRM, you have that Leftist mindset that what we earn belongs to the government, not to those who worked for it. Nearly 50% of citizens pay NO Federal income tax. With no “skin” in the game, they will probably continue to vote for politicians who give them free stuff, paid for by the rest of us. So, what happens when the earners decide to join the so-called 99%?

  25. BTW, have you ever heard of the UN’s “Agenda 21″?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfUIWMQ92RU&feature=youtu.be

    You Lefties will love it.

  26. If that is too complicated for you of the Left to comprehend, we have…..

    Agenda 21 For Dummies
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIgHK5x-4fY&feature=related

  27. JRM_CommonSense

    Glad to see that you have again reverted to trying to change the subject when you run out of crap or get caught setting up bogey men. Snuff said!

  28. It isn’t a change of subject. We are discussing excessive government control of our lives, as it pertains to taking of private property.
    Agenda 21 takes government growth and control beyond Federal, to one-world government via the UN, usurping our Constitutional rights, including our property rights. Did you bother to watch the video, or are you just blathering ignorantly?

  29. Carol Foster

    And the bad news is, SNuss, just moves on to a different topic, JRM.
    Tell us all SNUSS, how do you ignore what JRM has said in the past concerning changes in how we pay taxes, and Ted has agreed with much of it, and still lump the gentlemen with the dreaded “leftist” whose mind set you can’t understand?
    Is there any known group except the Tea Party who is not out to get you? Steal all you own, or bring down America?
    Have you ever even noticed the person you are disagreeing with hasn’t suggested you look up something on utube for dummies to get any point on any topic?
    Under these circumstances, “blathering” might be a word you should consider stop using here on this topic.

  30. JRM_CommonSense

    Dear Mr. Snuss, I am well aware of what Agenda 21 is. If you, Mr. Beck, and the Tea Party think that the UN is capable of accomplishing anything more than deciding what kind of toilet paper they will use in their rest rooms, then you are living in a bigger fantasy world than I thought. To assert that the UN has any capability of “usurping our Constitutional rights, including our property rights”, shows me that you need to change the Kool-Aid that you are drinking. Once again you try to put a bogey man on a stick hoping to scare someone. Nice try, but there is only one chance of that happening – none. Stop throwing already de-bunked conspiracy theories at us hoping that someone will take you seriously.

  31. President Obama signed his 86th executive order (13575) on June 9, which established the White House Rural Council (WHRC). According to The Blaze, the Executive Order seems to be in line with the United Nations radical Agenda 21, as it is designed “to begin taking control over almost all aspects of the lives of 16 percent of the American people.”

    Evidence of this can be found in Section One of the Executive Order, which reads:

    Section 1. Policy. Sixteen percent of the American population lives in rural counties. Strong, sustainable rural communities are essential to winning the future and ensuring American competitiveness in the years ahead. These communities supply our food, fiber, and energy, safeguard our natural resources, and are essential in the development of science and innovation. Though rural communities face numerous challenges, they also present enormous economic potential. The Federal Government has an important role to play in order to expand access to the capital necessary for economic growth, promote innovation, improve access to health care and education, and expand outdoor recreational activities on public lands.

    As the Executive Order references “sustainable rural communities,” it raises a few eyebrows, since that is one of the key phrases found in the UN plan for sustainable development known as Agenda 21. The order admits that it intends to seize greater power over “food, fiber, and energy,” items that are key to human sustenance.

    The mission and function of the White House Rural Council, according to the Executive Order, is as follows: “The Council shall work across executive departments, agencies, and offices to coordinate development of policy recommendations to promote economic prosperity and quality of life in rural America, and shall coordinate my Administration’s engagement with rural communities.”

    The order doesn’t at all camouflage the levels of authority it will achieve. In order to reach the mission set out, the Executive Order states that the council will “make recommendations to the President, through the Director of the Domestic Policy Council and the Director of the National Economic Council, on streamlining and leveraging Federal investments in rural areas, where appropriate, to increase the impact of Federal dollars and create economic opportunities to improve the quality of life in rural America.”

    Analyzing the language of the document, The Blaze questions, “is there a hint that a ‘rural stimulus plan’ might be in the making? Will the Federal government start pumping money into farmlands under the guise of creating ‘economic opportunities to improve the quality of life in rural America?’ ”

    The order also states that the WHRC will “coordinate and increase the effectiveness of Federal engagement with rural stakeholders, including agricultural organizations, small businesses, education and training institutions, healthcare providers, telecommunications services providers, research and land grant institutions, law enforcement, State, local, and tribal governments, and nongovernmental organizations regarding the needs of rural America.”

    In other words, the federal government will seemingly control every aspect of rural America.

    Read the rest at:
    http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/politics/7958-obama-signs-agenda-21-related-executive-order

    As Pres. Reagan said: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'”

  32. Carol Foster

    Sorry, I forgot to list the United nations on the list for you SNuss. Most dangerous and sneaky toboot.

  33. JRM_CommonSense

    The Blaze is a conservative news and opinion website launched on August 31 2010, by American media personality and former Fox News host Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts, three days after Beck’s widely publicized Restoring Honor rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C. Beck has promoted The Blaze as an alternative to “mainstream media outlets,” which Beck says are “distorting facts to fit rigid agendas.” Beck was quoted saying that The Blaze will feature “breaking news, original reporting, insightful opinions and engaging videos about the stories that matter most” and that “we will examine our culture, deal with matters of faith and family, and we won’t be afraid of a history lesson.

    The Blaze makes the statement that the President’s Executive Order “seems to be in line with the United Nations radical Agenda 21″. That’s pretty definitive evidence to me. After all, the word “seems” seems to be a clear statement of truth. It is also indicted as part of Agenda 21 because it uses the word “sustainable” a couple of times, like for communities, resourses, economies, food, and other unimportant things like that…

    And you can bet your life that “The Blaze” will never be caught “distorting facts to fit rigid agendas”. And I am really glad that it will never be “afraid of a history lesson”, unless it has to be re-written or distorted before it makes sense to them.

    Oh my God, look out, here comes the U.N. bogey man.

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