According to the Daily Dispatch “The Bettendorf Chamber of Commerce and DavenportOne are encouraging members to ask legislators to oppose any new restrictions on eminent domain because they believe it could hamper urban redevelopment.”
Eminent domain was created to allow the government to purchase private property to build roads or other public purposes even if the property owner does not want to sell. For most of its existence, up until 25 years ago or so, it was used for that purpose and there was little opposition to it.
During the last 25 years some local governments have started using their power of eminent domain not for building projects of their own but to help private development projects. They started seizing private property in order to hand it over to private developers, using the rationale that the new owners would pay more property taxes than the current owners which was in the public interest and therefore a "public use". People opposing this practice realized that new laws were needed a few months ago when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of this new use of eminent domain.
There is no reason why the local Chamber of Commerce or local businessmen would have to oppose new laws restricting the use of eminent domain to its original purpose. After all, they are property owners also. They could easily side with the rest of us against this practice of the “golden rule” – someone who has more gold can, with the help of local government, seize the property of someone with less influence. After all, not matter how big you are someone bigger can always come along.
By taking this position they are placing themselves in opposition to the ordinary citizens. They are making it clear that when it comes to us against them, they are them.
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