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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Mayor Larson Still Doesn't Get It

New Brighton Mayor Steve Larson just doesn't get it when it comes to using eminent domain to acquire property. He has claimed many times in the past that the use of eminent domain is an infrequently used “tool”, but he and the City of New Brighton consider invoking eminent domain with alarming frequency. His statements at past city council meetings show that he is at best rather uninformed about how potentially damaging eminent domain can be to private property rights. Either that, or he really believes that the convenience of the city to implement a redevelopment plan is more important than private property rights.

Mayor Larson recently testified before a Minnesota House of Representatives Civil Law committee in support of the continued use of eminent domain and against proposed reforms designed to safeguard the property rights of the people from abusive eminent domain practices by cities. Larson stated that some goals of city government “cannot be fully realized without the use of eminent domain”.

The mayor does not appear to realize that the citizens of New Brighton are legitimately concerned about the city's abusive use of eminent domain and the threat of eminent domain. The sitting council member he endorsed in the last election, a pro-eminent domain, command-and-control big government liberal was rejected by the voters by nearly a two-to-one margin by a political new comer who opposed eminent domain and over-reaching government. In his own election “race” Mayor Larson ran unopposed, yet many people who went to the polls either did not vote for mayor or wrote in someone else. Nearly 10% of the mayoral votes cast were write-ins--not exactly a resounding endorsement for his enthusiastic support of eminent domain.

It should be noted that the legislation the mayor opposes does not outlaw the use of eminent domain, but merely attempts to level the playing field for the citizen trying to save his or her property. There are provisions to put the burden of proof on cities to demonstrate to a court that the proposed action is truly one of “public use” and provides for reimbursement of a property owner's legal fees if a court finds the city's eminent domain action to be unwarranted.

Clearly the legislation, if enacted, would make it more difficult for cities to acquire property through eminent domain, but restores some protections of private property rights that were stripped from the people by the unfortunate Kelo decision. Mayor Larson makes it quite apparent which side he comes down on when presented with the choice of protecting private property rights or making it convenient for a city to acquire private property.



Anonymous Surly Dave said...

First, I want to say that I am opposed to Mayor Larson and his invoking eminent domain. I agree that the whole concept of "private property" is under attack in New Brighton.

How come he ran unopposed this last round of elections? Don't the conservatives have anyone to put?

Personally, I have been busy with a business start up, but why aren't people stepping up to bat?

Like, say, one of you guys?

1/30/2006 9:16 PM  

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