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    Tuesday, February 01, 2005

    More Eminent Domain Abuse in Norwood, Ohio; Mayor Tom Williams Compares Property Owners to Criminals

    01 February 2005

    The City Council of Norwood, Ohio colludes with Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate to condemn the property of private citizens and seize them through eminent domain. You see, these homes and businesses are in the way of Jeff Anderson's plans to expand his highly lucrative Rookwood complex. Now, if government actually protected the rights of the people like it is supposed to, that would be the end of it. Unfortunately, governments are more interested in lining their own pockets and increasing their power than actually doing their duty, and Jeffrey R. Anderson is a very rich man who generates a lot of tax revenue and new jobs for Norwood. "At his behest, and using his money, the city of Norwood has invoked its powers of eminent domain -- the right, granted by the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, of a government to seize private property and turn it to public use -- to condemn a neighborhood and order residents out of their homes. Norwood is not the first city to act as a real estate broker whose offer can't be refused, nor is Anderson the first businessman to benefit from this kind of largesse." Indeed, it happens all over the country. "According to the Institute for Justice (IJ), a public-interest law firm, this is a growing trend. The institute analyzed eminent domain cases between 1998 and 2002 and found more than 10,000 instances where local governments had attempted to use a power once reserved for indisputably public projects like highways and railroads to obtain properties for private development projects such as box stores and golf courses."

    Pending before the Supreme Court this month is the case of Kelo v. New London, which will decide whether a government's transfer of property from one private person to another (causing increased tax revenue and/or more jobs) counts as 'public use' for Fifth Amendment purposes. This ruling will impact situations all over the country, including Norwood's. If the court rules in favor of property owners, we will be safe, but if the court rules against property owners, as the Bush Administration reportedly wants, then any government will be able to take anyone's property at any time so long as that taking results in greater tax revenue.

    Jeffrey R. Anderson's actions in Norwood, with the unanimous blessings of the City Council and the Mayor, Tom Williams, amount to nothing more than robbery, in my opinion. The only difference between this situation, and you taking your gun and seizing control of Mr. Anderson's property is that the former is sanctioned by law, and the latter isn't (if you think eminent domain doesn't involve guns, you're fooling yourself. The government can legally shoot you if you resist hard enough). An unjust law should not be allowed to continue. Unfortunately, we the people often have more pressing things to do than to chaperone the people that we hire to work for us in government. I'll tell you one thing; when Tom Williams campaigned on a return to the values of the 1950s, he apparently forgot to exclude 'respect for property rights' from that list of values (of course, I suspect that if he had remembered to, he would not have been elected).

    I would also like to point out that Mayor Williams is either trying to deliberately deceive the people of Norwood, or he lacks the capacity for logical thought. "According to Mayor Tom Williams, they took this action reluctantly, partly to secure tax revenues for the city. "I was a cop for 34 years, got shot once and shot people twice," Williams says. "It's the same with this thing. You hate to pull the trigger, but sometimes it’s a necessity."" Actually, it's worse than I originally thought. For Mr. Williams's statement to be logical, he has to believe that property owners who do not wish to sell their property are criminals. It is not the same thing, Mr. Williams. Usually (assuming the cop is honest and believes that his job is to defend life, liberty, and property) when a police officer shoots someone, that person is engaged in criminal activity. Someone wanting to continue to live in his or her own home is not criminal activity -- unless there was a change in the definition of 'criminal' of which I am unaware.

    You also ought to be aware that there is also a group of property owners who are opposed to their neighbor's property rights. You see, Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate has offered them more than what their houses are worth and they're willing to move. However, the sales won't happen if the eminent domain seizure of the other properties isn't allowed. These people claim that their rights are being negatively impacted by their neighbors' refusal to sell. Excuse me, but you do not have the right to demand that your neighbor use their property for your own economic benefit (yes, I am also opposed to fascist home owners' associations).
    ---------Can the government force you to sell your house in the name of new development?
    ---------The Condemned
    ---------Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate (513-241-5800; 3805 Edwards Rd. Cincinnati, OH 45209)
    ---------Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate contact page
    ---------News Footage, includes statements by Jeff Anderson, the Institute for Justice, and Norwood residents
    ---------The Elected Officials of Norwood, Ohio


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    "If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

    --Samuel Adams

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