Another story of eminent domain gone wrong

Eminent domain is supposed to be used for the greater good, such as when a building is falling down and endangering people but the owner refuses to take care of the problem, or when a road is needed and there’s no choice but to take out buildings that stand in the way.

It’s not supposed to be used to bulldoze an auto repair business to make room for an art gallery.St. Louis is rife with stories about homes and small businesses being bulldozed to make way for Lowes and other big-box stores. Never mind the Missouri Constitution prohibits seizure of private land for private use. In St. Louis and its suburbs, we never let laws stand in the way of progress.

Republicans love it because they love big business, and Democrats love it because they see tax dollars. It’s ridiculous. People came to the United States from Europe because you couldn’t buy land unless you already had land and money. Now, unless you have a certain amount of land and money, it’s getting to be difficult to hold on to what you have (and don’t expect to get a fair price for it either).

Now we have a former mayor, Vincent Schoemel, deciding that the city needs an arts district, and Jim Day’s independent garage, which has stood there for 20 years, making a profit, paying taxes, and serving its neighbors, stands in the way. A year and a half ago he was offered $125,000 to sell out. He declined. That’s a generous offer for the land but it’s not enough to allow him to relocate his business.

Two months later, he received a counter-offer, which is still on the table: $67,500, which is nearly $13,000 less than the city says his land is worth.

Sometimes Schoemel only offers $1.

When the mafia does things like this, it’s called extortion. But when Schoemel does this, it’s called progress. That’s funny. I don’t see any difference.

Let’s give Schoemel a dollar to slither back under a rock and stay there.

4 thoughts on “Another story of eminent domain gone wrong

  • February 3, 2005 at 12:36 am
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    Two Ayn Rands on her birthday.

    "A government is the most dangerous threat to man’s rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims."
    Ayn Rand

    "Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual)."
    Ayn Rand

  • February 4, 2005 at 9:14 am
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    A similar action occurred here in Charlotte, NC a few years ago. A local dry-cleaning business owned it’s central location in the downtown area for over twenty years. They were offerred significantly less than their property’s value, and forced to surrender it, anyway. It stinks, big time.

    County’s parking plans dwarf Sno-White store

  • February 4, 2005 at 1:59 pm
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    "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."
    John F. Kennedy

    The local governments seize the homes of the elderly and no one complains. Consider fifty years in the same place and an eviction notice.
    Businesses are seized and the people protest to no avail. It’s always a marginal business. Wal-Mart doesn’t have to worry about local government once they pour concrete.

    • February 4, 2005 at 7:54 pm
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      I’m not positive what it was exactly that Kennedy meant, but today it means that the government is more important than its citizens, which is wrong, wrong, wrong. Without citizens there is no need for government. Citizens need to think of their country, yes, but that needs to go both ways and it doesn’t anymore.

      I hope the Supreme Court ruling goes in the direction of property rights for individuals, but I’m not optimistic.

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