Domain the Governor's Shell Game
The following article by Don Casey was published in the Beacon
Newspaper, which explains the problems with the Governor's legislation.
The 2005 special session of the Alabama legislature is now history.
Touting pride in accomplishments, State politicians will no doubt point to
passage of the budget (which should have been passed in the regular
session), sex crime legislation (passage assured after Bill O'Reilly (Fox
News) chided Governor Riley on national television) and "eminent domain"
legislation which became a blip on the public's radar screen, after the
United States Supreme Court ruled in a Connecticut case that States could,
under their own authority, seize private property for economic
The latter, "private property rights" is the government's most
effective method to strip the individual of his wealth and freedom.
"Private property rights," summarized in the adage "a man's home is
his castle" is merely a saying that is not embodied in current law. Recent
changes in the special session have NOT strengthened "eminent domain" laws
in the property owner's favor. Through the efforts of various
- Alliance for Citizen Rights, Alabamians for Real Reform, Eagle
Forum, etc. and talk radio, the governor's bill HB14, was turned from a
developer's dream come true to a pussycat waiting for the mouse to come
out and play - SB68.
Both bills will, in the end, allow the government to take private
property for economic development. But, SB68, which received approval July
26th and awaits the governor's signature, is much closer to closing
loopholes than the governor's initial effort in HB14.
The loopholes in SB68 are found in the following passages:
* "...a municipality or county may not condemn property...." -
for economic development. This restriction does not include "housing
authorities" which under Alabama code are granted "eminent domain" power.
And the restriction does not apply to a
* "...municipality, housing authority, or other public entity
based upon a finding of blight in an area..."
The ability of "other authorities" to exercise eminent domain is
easily perceived to be a loophole. But, the second loophole found in the
meaning of the word "blight," is without a doubt crafted by deceptive
professional politicians, socialist planners and greedy
developments/realtors with the intent to steal what they can during the
reorganization of society. This cabal, which sets the example for deceit,
is well aware that if the definition of the word were included in SB68
verbiage, it would have doomed the bill to failure. Here is why - a
"blighted" area, according to the Alabama law, is an area that:
* "...impair economic values and tax revenues, cause an
increase in and spread of disease and crime and constitute a menace
to the health, safety, morals and welfare of the residents of the state.."
Section 24-2-1 (2)
The phrase "Impair economic values and tax revenues" allows one to
focus on the true motives of the cabal - money - your money.
In Tuscaloosa, a portion of the business district was declared,
"blighted." The redevelopment project will require the relocation of
numerous businesses and cost fifty million dollars. With that kind of
money, is it any wonder that politicians display a desire to "kiss the
baby" - support strong eminent domain legislation - thus concealing the
intent to "tax and spend" and improve the government's ability to seize
Homewood, Alabama has three neighborhoods that have been declared,
"blighted" - Edgemont, Edgewood, and Rosedale. How many redevelopment
projects are underway across the State is unknown. But it is safe to say
that the cabal's clout will be felt in the coming battle for a
Constitutional amendment that truly protects private property owners.
Adding insult to this injury, the legislature stipulates that the
owner of the condemned property receive compensation for the land's
"current use"1. Example - a retired couple on a fixed income looking to
remain in their home for the rest of their lives are forced to relocate.
The government does not reimburse them for moving expenses or possible
impact fees when they purchase another house. The couple's compensation
for their property is determined by the government's evaluation of the
land's "current use" - a house and a lot. Hardly an equitable situation
considering that the developer and government officials will line their
coffers with profits that should have gone to the retired couple.
The remedy to this situation requires the implementation of a four
letter word - WORK - and the desired results are not guaranteed.- BUT -
without the -WORK - the situation will absolutely not change.
What to do?
Obtain a copy of SB91, from
http://www.alabamapropertyrigths.org or from the Alabama
legislature's website. If you do not have internet access, your library
will provide the connection and a copy of the bill. Read it!
Contact everyone that you know.
An excellent starting point is your Minister. Church property is
typically located on land that is ripe for redevelopment and the church is
exempt from property tax. Politicians visualize sale receipts (revenue)
from a commercial development after the "blighted" church property is
Advise everyone to contact their State representatives and ask them
to support and co-sponsor bill SB91. Attend public meetings and discuss
this important issue. Public meetings where your State representatives are
in attendance are very important - it is an opportunity to ask them to
take a public stand to which they will be held accountable.
1. Alabama Code Section 24-2-2 (1)
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