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 fourth in a series of posts on the subject. The first three are linked in "Related Reading".
The subject of this next letter is Solbergs and Special Interests by Abraham Farsiou. The opening sentence:
As a resident of Readington Township for the last 37 years, I do not remember a time that we did not have to challenge the Solbergs and special interest groups to keep the airport from becoming a busy jetport and fundamentally changing our township.
Farsiou goes on to talk about "the landscape of the township" and how this wonderful township is full of "People who are dedicated and care about the well-being of others"—as against "venom of special interest groups."
I left these comments:
What does one call the group that supports the eminent domain seizure of Solberg land, if not a "special interest"? Abraham Farsiou's entire letter is a demand to forcibly mold "the landscape of the township" to his liking—and those who have plans for their property that doesn't fit that mold be damned.
The Solbergs are confronted with the prospect of their own municipal government, at the behest of a cabal of their own neighbors, seizing their property against their will. I guess to "care about the well-being of others" doesn't extend to the Solbergs. People who are morally opposed to the action against the Solbergs are being forced to pay for it, against their will, through their taxes. But I guess to "care about the well-being of others" doesn't extent to those of us who disagree.
The fundamental principle of America is individual rights. The point of individual rights is to keep the individual secure in his life, liberty, and property. The fundamental principle of proper government is to protect individual rights—including from any voting majority. Eminent domain violates those rights and inverts the proper purpose of government, and is therefore un-American and immoral.
Allen and Gatti "protect the interests of families in Readington?" Wrong. They are imposing the wishes of those who see it in their interest to violate the rights of the minority—and the smallest minority is the individual. Not knowing them personally, I have no animosity toward Allen and Gatti. But there is nothing "gentle" about using the government's misbegotten, quasi-criminal powers of eminent domain against any township resident or landowner.
My wife and I have also lived in Readington for a long time—36 years. We too have raised children who attended Readington schools, played sports, gone on to college and built successful careers (and families, too). I too coached kids sports (soccer and softball). And we intend to stay. We, too, would prefer that Solberg not be expanded. But the difference is, we really do "care about the well-being of others," and caring begins with respecting the rights of others—ALL others, including the Solbergs to operate their airport as they see fit. There's no "quality of life" if your property is not even safe from your own neighbors.
The Eminent Domain Assault by Readington Against Solberg Land is Democracy in Action—and Un-American
Readington's Eminent Domain Assault on Solberg Airport--1 and 2