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The "IJ" in the poster stands for Institute for Justice. They are a public interest law firm who pursue litigation on behalf of individuals whose basic rights are denied by the government. Their "Merry Band of Litigators" helped us with abusive Eminent Domain in Ardmore, and has helped other citizens across the country with issues relating to The First Amendment, Economic Liberty, and Private Property Rights.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-11-06 08:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zorinlynx.livejournal.com
I don't understand why the government allows abuse of eminent domain for this sort of thing.

I understand when eminent domain is applied because infrastructure needs to be constructed. New roads, power lines, water mains, etc.. that makes sense.

But to *force* one private business or individual to sell so that another *PRIVATE* company can build something else? That makes absolutely no sense.

Eminent domain should ONLY be for infrastructure construction. Public infrastructure. Condos do not qualify.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-11-06 08:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] giza.livejournal.com
> I don't understand why the government allows abuse of eminent domain for
> this sort of thing.

It was the government in Lower Merion township that came up with this wonderful idea.

Also, there is another use for eminent domain: blight. If you have a string of abandoned homes and/or crackhouses, something needs to be done to curb the crime and declining property values. The best way to fight that is to tear down those homes and build something else that is actually useful. That's one acceptable use for eminent domain.

Here in Ardmore, the "blighted" businesses were an office supply store, a Chinese restaurant that had been there for 30 years, an advertising agency, a VFW bar, and others.

And that's why when elections came around, 3 commissioners each with 10 years+ experience on the Board of Commissioners, who voted in favor of the eminent domain proposal, found themselves out of jobs.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-11-07 01:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] simbab.livejournal.com
I think what happens is they stretch the definition of "blight" to mean that the town could possibly gain more economic benefit from overpriced condos as opposed to a VFW bar. (I'm not sure why they think this, because many times these developers get deferred tax packages anyway.)

Think of it as the government's way of saying, "you're not selling, bub, now get outta here."

(no subject)

Date: 2007-11-07 01:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] giza.livejournal.com
> (I'm not sure why they think this, because many times these developers get
> deferred tax packages anyway.)

I don't think I can say why, without creating possible legal liability for myself.

[livejournal.com profile] drzarron's comment (http://giza.livejournal.com/479142.html?thread=4069798#t4069798) is rather insightful, though.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-11-06 11:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] drzarron.livejournal.com
NEVER under estimate the attractive power of HUGE bribes, kick backs and future favors to a politician

(no subject)

Date: 2007-11-06 09:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gatcat.livejournal.com
Awesome! Thanks for the story and the links.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-11-07 01:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] simbab.livejournal.com
IJ strikes me as doing the right things for the wrong reasons. Obviously, they helped you guys, but reading their Web page I get the distinct impression that it's not so much the forced sale of property that they object to, it's that the government is doing it.

I don't know. They quote George F. Will on their economic liberty page, and Will is someone who says some rather awful things using nice language, and is not someone I'd necessarily associate with the cause of the common individual.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-11-07 01:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] giza.livejournal.com
> I get the distinct impression that it's not so much the forced sale of
> property that they object to, it's that the government is doing it.

Is there any other kind of forced sale?

I have no clue who George F. Will is, so I obviously cannot comment on that.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-11-07 01:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] simbab.livejournal.com
There is coercion. Many people make a mistake distinguishing between private and public coercion. The methods and means are different, but the end result is the same—they get you to do what they want. People seem to think that because the government can threaten fines or jail if you don't follow their rules and private businesses can't, that they have separate moral codes. If IJ thinks that it's wrong no matter who does it, then I stand corrected. But I doubt it.

So in the strict sense of the word, no, there is no other kind of 'forced sale'. We don't have debtors prison anymore, at least not for now. But is it possible for an interested, private party to make it very much in your interest to sell them your property? Sure.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-11-07 02:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] giza.livejournal.com
Oh, we had at least one jackass developer try to threaten and intimidate us. So I would say there was some form of private coercion here.

But here's the thing: private coercion is generally illegal. Victims can take the developer to court for fun things like harassment, extortion, restraint of trade, etc. And I believe there are more than enough lawyers out there who would be more than willing to take on a case like that, because \ there's the possibility of getting a nice chunk of punitive damages.

Fighting the government is different, though. There are no big awards to be won, and they usually have the laws on their side -- even if they have to make them up as they go. There's just not much incentive for private lawyers to go against the government on a contingency basis. I can tell you that the Save Ardmore Coalition had to pay $$$$ for legal counsel to help us deal with the local township, and it took us many many months to pay that bill off. The IJ helped fill a gap that no private law firm would have filled, and we owe our success largely to their help.

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Douglas Muth

April 2012

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