Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Readington's Eminent Domain Assault on Solberg Airport--2

Readington Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey has been the scene of a long-running battle between those who want the municipal government to seize 600+ acres of land surrounding Solberg Airport through eminent domain to preserve as "open space." The battle pits the majority of voters (based on a $22 million referendum) against a vocal minority who opposes it. The upcoming June 3 Republican primary will determine whether the balance of power has shifted. This is the third in a series of posts on the subject. The first two are linked in "Related Reading".

A recent letter to the Hunterdon County Democrat (The threat of a jetport worst thing for Readington) opened with:

I’m sorry, but I don’t think that Thor Solberg has negotiated in good faith with Readington Township. The threat of a jetport has hung over this town for more than 30 years, and voters have made it quite clear that we do not want jets, more noise, pollution, and congestion to spoil the township that we have so carefully tended all these years.

I left these comments:

What do you call negotiating in "good faith"? The township officials are holding a gun to the Solberg's head while "making an offer you can't refuse." Is that what you call "good faith"?

Negotiation implies a search for common ground in pursuit of a mutually beneficial voluntary agreement. For the Solbergs, "negotiation" is a cruel fraud. The Solbergs are confronted with an extortion attempt by their own municipal government, authorized by their own neighbors, to immorally—but, sadly for America, legally—force a "negotiated" settlement under a threat to seize their property by force and against their will. There is nothing "reasonable" about an "offer" backed by a gun.

The fundamental issue is not "jets, more noise, pollution, and congestion," all of which are routine occurrences in an industrial society. And the issue certainly is not anyone's subjective feelings of what an un-"spoiled" township looks like. The fundamental issue is individual rights, which—contrary to what Christina Albrecht and others seem to think—are held equally and at all times by each and every individual. Among these fundamental rights are the right to be secure in the ownership and use of one's own property, so long as that use violates no one else's rights.

For more of my thoughts on this issue, see my letter of last June, The government is abusing its legal powers in Readington. As to Christina Albrecht, it takes a monumental amount of nerve to accuse the Solbergs of bad faith.

Related Reading:

The Eminent Domain Assault by Readington Against Solberg Land is Democracy in Action—and Un-American

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