Thursday, October 20, 2005

Checking the Supremes

On Tuesday and Wednesday, both the Capital and Post ran coverage of the Republican press conference announcing that the State GOP intends to try to pass a constitutional amendment to protect private property from government seizure. The precipitating event for this grandstanding (and that of the Democrats trying to introduce a similar bill in the legislature) is, of course, the US Supreme Court's ruling in the Kelo v. New London, CT case, where it was decided that the city of New London could legally require residents to sell their property so that the city could put it to the "public use" of redeveloping it into property which will generate greater tax revenue for the city.

This ruling set a horrible precedent, and I support the legislature in taking the steps to protect state residents from having their property stolen. I just wish they would have done it about 6 years sooner. You see, in the 2000 legislative session, former Baltimore County Executive (and current US Representative) Dutch Ruppersberger, several of his cronies, and a number of complicit senators and delegates from around the state (even at least one from Anne Arundel County) set their eyes on a tract of property in the Essex-Middle River area.

The plan was to "revitalize" the area by tearing down the water accessible properties of working class people and replace it with high-end condominiums. And, the plan would have worked (the bill passed) were it not for the tremendous efforts of the people who lived in Essex-Middle River and their allies to get a referendum on the ballot and have it overwhelmingly overturned by the voters of the state.

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