Saturday, October 25, 2014

"Is Any Taking Just?": My Election 2014 Letter

My election-related letter, Is Any Taking Just?, was published in the Hunterdon County Democrat. Here is the letter in full, as printed:

To the editor:

The November election will pit John Broten and Sam Tropello against Julia Allen and Frank Gatti for Readington Township Committee. For me, the overarching issue is the township’s eminent domain action against Solberg Airport.

Broten and Tropello have indicated that they are against this action. Whatever their reasons, I believe they are on the right side of this issue. Here are my reasons:

The Constitution's Fifth Amendment “takings” clause — “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation” — is understood to grant government the power of eminent domain. But that unfortunate fact contradicts every fundamental premise of America, and begs the question: Is any taking truly just?

Is it just to seize property against the will of an owner who has violated no one's rights, especially when the taking doesn’t serve — and, in fact, contradicts — government’s proper purpose to protect individual rights, including property rights? Is it just for government to dictate compensation terms not voluntarily agreed to by the seller? Is it just to force dissenting citizens to fund, through their taxes, eminent domain actions against their moral convictions?

My answer to these questions is: No. That our government has the power of eminent domain doesn’’t mitigate its immorality especially since, over time, eminent domain has morphed into a tool of predatory special interests, as is the case in Readington.

I'm voting for Broten and Tropello with the expectation that they will work to end the eminent domain action against Solberg Airport. If they win, and end the Solberg action, I will have helped score a victory for justice in Readington. If they lose, and the action proceeds, I will be able to look myself in the mirror, knowing I did what I could for justice.


Readington Township

Related Reading:

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

Deeper Than Kelo: The Roots of the Property Rights Crisis—Eric Daniels, TOS

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