I keep saying I'm taking a break....and then things draw me back into the dialogue. We have been having a local issue regarding the use of Eminent Domain for taking privately owned property for greenways, walking trails, and "open areas." So I was "taking a break" from writing, when I discovered our County Commissioners are deliberating this evening on this same subject. Our City officials have already proven to be pawns in the game of land confiscation for the anti-private property rights environmentalists. I felt it was necessary to jump back in to encourage the County Commissioners to uphold private property rights and reject the use of Eminent Domain, taking property for these environmentalists who lack respect for property ownership and want the entire world to belong to a "common."
Here is a copy of my editorial published in the Gaston Gazette today:
Eminent Domain For What?
If someone told you that some or all of the property you own could be confiscated against your will for a common area, an open area, a walking or biking trail, what would you say? You search for and find that perfect property to buy, only to find out that a 10 or 20 foot swath of that property next to a creek or stream is required greenway? Would you still want to buy it? Let's say you bought a piece of land for the scenery, the quiet solitude, and the privacy. Should government force you to relinquish your land for the sake of recreational common access? Maybe we should ask Mayor Stultz.
While environmentalist conservation groups avow that they have no "eminent domain" powers, they create partnerships with local governments in order to use those governments to do the dirty work for them. Greenway websites emphasize that all land acquisitions are "voluntary." As we have seen recently in Gastonia, that is not exactly the truth with regard to the recent greenway project.
Eminent Domain is a property-taking law originally devised for the government to take land for critical infrastructure such as roads and utilities, to provide service to the population surrounding the property in question. Environmentalists have convinced politicians that they have the power and right to take privately owned property for “public benefit” by means of eminent domain on the basis of walkways, biking trails, and the vague definition of "open areas."
Greenways’ websites promote all kinds of utopian benefits through restricting land use, creating open areas, and building walking and biking trails. They even call greenways "alternative transportation" to get grants from the State and Federal Departments of Transportation. Do you wonder where our transportation money is going?
The operating capital for these groups is government grants and tax-deductible donations. This means governments are giving tax dollar grants to organizations with which the governments are partnering, while at the same time governments are handing out tax deductions to donors who give land or money to the greenways, trails, and conservancy organizations in order to encourage people to fund the taking of property. Cleverly, the money trail is the real trail being created under the guise of greenways. The conservancy foundations are not working for free. The more government grants and tax deductible donations they get, the fatter their salaries and bank accounts grow.
Recently I found a published plan on the City of Gastonia website. It is at cityofgastonia.com or you can google search "Gastonia 2020 Plan For Our Future." The plan states our government should "Encourage the protection of land through foundations and land trusts." It states our local government is to "partner with land conservancies and other public and nonprofit environmental agencies." What would be the purpose of such partnerships? Would those "partnerships" involve tax-funded grants for the taking of private property? In this instance, the word "protection" means "restricted use."
Historically, the “mob” always demanded "protection" money, too. What a coincidence! Did you vote to have our government partner with land trusts and conservancies to "protect”……oops, I mean “restrict” land use? If you did, was it your own land or land belonging to someone else you wish to restrict? Did you vote for a plan allowing our local government to take land by eminent domain for a greenway or a bike trail? You didn't? Neither did I.
Instead of encouraging private land ownership and industries, our local government wants you to believe that by partnering with anti-private property rights groups, restricting land ownership, we will create some desirable location attracting businesses and lots of industrious, educated people. What industrious and educated persons want to buy or own a piece of land that could be taken or restricted at any whim of the local government for any reason whatsoever such as greenways? I think there is an oxymoron in there somewhere. Should we ask Mayor Stultz about that, too?
Our County Commissioners are deliberating the threat of eminent domain for the Carolina Thread Trail on Thursday, February 24. You can show your support for our guaranteed Constitutional property rights by contacting them and telling them you are against the use of eminent domain for any such purposes as greenways, trails, and open areas.
So there it is. Our local problem is not just happening to us. The drive for property-taking by local and state governments, operating in unelected partnerships with environmentalist groups, is going on all over the United States. If you are reading this from whatever town in anywhere USA and are facing the same onslaught from these nonprofit land grabbers, please feel free to use my op-ed as a model to go after the offenders.
Below: Written by Adolf Hitler in 192o / The platform of the National Socialist Workers Party
WE DEMAND A LAND-REFORM SUITABLE TO OUR NATIONAL REQUIREMENTS, THE PASSING OF A LAW FOR THE CONFISCATION OF LAND FOR COMMUNAL PURPOSES; THE ABOLITION OF INTEREST ON MORTGAGES, AND PROHIBITION OF ALL SPECULATION IN LAND.
(Two articles down in this blog is Hitler's entire list.)