Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Politicians Rights

"Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes told Missouri lawmakers Tuesday that her city couldn’t turn itself around without sometimes taking private property.

At a hearing on legislation that would change eminent domain law, Barnes said Kansas City had been circumspect in its use of the property condemnation process.

Still, she said, some economic development projects that benefit the city would not go forward without the use of eminent domain, a process that governments have long used to take private property for public use.

“We have to have the right of eminent domain” to use as a last resort, Barnes said."
Listening to politics and politicians is often disappointing and discouraging. A "right" is not something used as a last resort. Eminent domain is not a "right," and governments do not have "rights." Eminent domain is a power granted to government. Of course, accurately talking about eminent domain as a power makes it much easier for the average citizen to pay attention and to by worried, very worried. Therefore, a politician who wants to wield such a power might well prefer to hide the nature of the power by calling it a right.

[Tim Hoover, "Barnes defends eminent domain: legislators consider 'takings' law, Kansas City Star, Wed., Mar. 29, 2006]


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