Monday, January 31, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

Quite a day for the Iraqis. I would be very surprised if the people counting the vote weren't being besieged to leak the latest count. The candidates will want to being jockeying for postion just as quickly as they can...if they aren't already. There's a massive amount of work ahead for that winning group of people. And the world will be watching.

Been thinking about this Eminent Domain business. Did a bit of checking. People all across the nation are losing their homes and/or property because of it. There are law firms who specialize in that field. I got on Google and found a brief explanation:

Eminent Domain

'When the government condemns private property for public use, the private property owner must receive just compensation, which generally means the fair market value of the property taken. This is often referred to as a taking of property. During the formal condemnation process, the property owner generally receives notice and an opportunity to contest the amount of
compensation she received for the property in court. In such condemnation cases, the property owner is entitled to the full fair market value of the property taken based on its highest and best use and any damage caused to the remaining portion as a result of the loss. Fair market value of property is based on its highest and best use under existing zoning rules."

What's not mentioned in the paragraph above is the fact that if the property owner refuses that compensation and fights the taking, they take it anyway...unless a lawyer steps in.

This happens with local, state and federal entities all. Sometimes it is for the public good as in preserving wilderness sites. Now consider Alaska's wilderness. The oil corps want to drill there. Think $$$. Is that for the public good?

Consider the plight of the lady Cate spoke about. They wish to take the property her home sits on to build a mall. That's a developer. Also the city since the mall will produce more tax proceeds than the lady's home property tax will. Can that be for the public good?

It seems to me that when Eminent Domain is invoked it's for the purpose of either the public good or flat out for $$$. And once that particular gov't entity decides, for instance, that an area is "blighted"--whether it's old industrial warehouses or a rundown neighborhood, that area is a goner. They will take it, and only the legal system can stop that from happening. Even then it's no sure thing. So just because you've spent many years working to buy a property and the mortgage or loan is paid off is no guarantee it will always belong to you. A sad state of affairs.

Usually, the only thing a person can do, if they don't have the money to hire a lawyer and stage a lengthy court battle, is negotiate with the taker as best you're able for the best deal, then take the money and run. The only consolation is to believe that every ending is a new beginning.
That's a wrap.


Cate said...

JO, Thanks for the research on eminent domain. I think that just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is the blight they speak of. From the looks of the Ohio couple's neighborhood, it looks similar to or perhaps in better shape than the one I live in. But I think any of us who live here would take great offense to the term "blighted". Things are not great, nor would I say they are thriving, but definitely not blighted. My sister said they should be happy they have been offered a good price. But I see it differently. A home is a place where your memories reside. A chip on the door where your son hit it with the baseball bat he was carrying to the car, the slate fossils that you buried in the front yard to keep them safe, the notes the kids stuck into the cracks of the plaster before the walls were redone as a time capsule of sorts, the heights of all your children, and grandchildren drawn on the basement door with permanent ink--the care and committment you put into keeping your home liveable and comfortable. These things are all worth more than money. Many people today think nothing of pulling up roots and moving as their whims take them, and they assume that everyone has the same attitude, but there is something to be said for people whose roots are intertwined with those of past generations who looked at homes as permanent. They feel the pull of their home, its warmth, its centering in their lives. It's a shame that we must look at our homes as temporarily ours according to the government's needs. One citizen cannot stand up against the armored tank of government injustice, and until all the little people decide to unite to tell the government it is unfair and that it works for us, I see no promise of government remorse or fairness.

Watch 'n Wait said...

Which is one of the many reasons why, Cate, this admin wants so badly to get rid of lawyers. And yes, I agree with you that homes are memories too. I'd give anything if I could go visit my grandparents' old farmhouse, but it's now part of a country club. Sheesh!

Rick said...

A home is definately a memory. It was your home, after all. My family farm house was bought out by some city folk, torn down (although it was a heritage home), and built back into some ugly modern structure. Big Money doesn't stop to think about what the outcome or the hurt it causes, Big Money just does what it pleases, and since Big Money makes politicians happy, Big Money will continue to do harm.