Sunday, March 18, 2007

Danger to property in Washington

Back to freedom. Property owners in the US were shocked two years ago when in the "Kelo" case the US Supreme Court rule that a city can take the homes of people when its not for public use. It had long been understood that eminent domain was for public use only. But the Supreme Court ruled that the city can take property for the purpose of selling to another private owner. In Washington we have been told that our state constitution is stronger and allows us more protection than the US's. But people who have studied it say "Wrong," we are at danger. The Washington Policy Institute has done a study and got a bill introduced in the Legislature to correct, or at least improve, the problems. Three big ones: • The government may seize more proper than it needs so long as there is some aspect of public use involved somewhere in the project. This allows a local government to become a real estate speculator with any portion of condemned property not devoted to public use. • State and local officials may also use their eminent domain powers to deliberately target properties that are not upscale enough for their liking, even when these properties are not necessary to achieve a public use. • What’s more, condemnation determinations can take place at secret meetings where the sole notice to the property owner consists of a posting on an obscure government website. Read the report at Washington Policy Center.

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