We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Was Kelo decided rightly or wrongly? The Supremes decided the case against Mrs.Kelo and her little pink house 5-4. Naturally, the little people of the USA were horrified by the decision which indicated that a local government could take your property for the use of a private business.
There should be no surprise here. These kinds of condemnations for private benefit happen every day across the United States.
The Supreme Court had already ruled in 1984 that land could be taken away from Native Hawaiians in Hawaii and redistributed to the wealthy tenants who lived on their land. The court said that so long as the government declared there was a public purpose for the seizure, the courts could not second-guess that determination, and the government's declaration was "well-nigh conclusive." Essentially, the Native Hawaiian trusts and organizations that owned these lands could be told by the government that they did not know what was good for them, and that if they had their lands taken away they could use the compensation for better investments.
The euphemistically named "Land Reform Act," also known as the "Land Theft Act," was one of the larger travesties against indigenous peoples in our country's history, and still is not really out there in the public consciousness for what it did, which is remove the "public use" clause from the Constitution. Since the tenants were only paying nominal rent for the land, and compensation was based only the present-day value of the rent stream rather than the market value of the land itself, the government's actions effectively stole billions of dollars of value and transferred it to the tenants. It also began the runaway inflation of land and housing values which people in Hawaii are still struggling with today. The median price for a single-family house on Oahu is now over a million dollars--with homes on forcibly converted prime residential lands, especially in East Oahu and Kailua, going for much more than that. We also have huge problems with wealth inequality, poverty and homelessness, ironically with Native Hawaiians being a large percentage of the homeless and those in poverty.
So long as the government declares there is a public purpose in taking away your land and giving it to Costco, or Boeing, or to Harrah's Casinos, you're stuck. All they have to say is that having the land in the hands of these companies would somehow be better for the economy. They are going to win every time.
They are doing it wrong. Two options either one would be acceptable to me. Either kill the politician or burn down their house. Simple as that. Don't stand in your doorway with a gun and put the lives of policemen at risk. go through the steps required by law and if they take your home anyway leave, get off the grid and come back and take an eye for an eye.
Jim, your interpretation of the HSA v Midkiff case is incorrect. I can't go into a lot of detail here about this matter, but suffice it to say the land(s) in question did not (and never did) belong to "Native Hawaiians" in any real sense and ownership was not transferred just to the benefit of some wealthy tenants. The land was owned by a very wealthy (in excess of $40 billion) charitable trust, the legacy of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, which was and still is the largest land owner in Hawaii. The lands were originally the property of the class of Hawaiian royalty, the ali'i, not the property of Native Hawaiian commoners. The majority of tenants to whom the land was sold were middle class home owners, not wealthy people.
Yes, that's the party line. Pretexts for upholding the law and not based on truth. The lands targeted were mostly held in trusts set up by the last ali'i for the benefit of disadvantaged Native Hawaiians. Bishop Estate/Kamehameha Schools = education of Hawaiian children; King Lunalilo Trust = care for the elderly; Queen Emma Foundation = Native Hawaiian Health; Queen Liliiuokalani Trust = care for needy children and their families; Bishop Museum Trust = preservation of Native Hawaiian culture. Even of the two private trusts targeted, Castle Estate and Campbell Estate, the beneficiaries of the Campbell Estate were Native Hawaiian.
The tenants were upper middle class and upper class with the political clout to ram the confiscation legislation through the Hawaii legislature (one of the tenants' primary attorneys was the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee (the primary committee tasked with analyzing proposed laws) and then made a pile of money handling the land condemnations on behalf of the tenants). Once they got the land many of them immediately sold it to other wealthy people for immense profits, starting the process of runaway land values which is still going on. My family was later targeted as they expanded the law to condominiums, as were many other small landowners who owned nothing but one leased property.
Another chapter could be written on how the Bishop Estate trutees also became corrupted by the process.
I believe that land trusts are a blight on law and humanity. Land should be owned by living humans who lose their rights to the lands at death but in the meantime pay taxes and obey laws and regulations like all the rest of humanity. The laws that allow land trusts and tax exempt arrangements should be changed or voided.
The Texas Legislature responded promptly to Kelo by passing legislation banning the use of eminent domain for the purpose of economic development. Never underestimate the importance of state elections.