Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour Vetoes Eminent Domain Reform

IJ Report Demonstrates States Can Have Reform AND Development

WEB RELEASE: March 24, 2009
CONTACT: John E. Kramer
(703) 682-9320

Arlington, Va.—It is too bad that before Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour vetoed H.B. 803—eminent domain reform that passed overwhelmingly by both houses of the state legislature—that he did not read the Institute for Justice’s report, “Doomsday? No Way: Economic Trends and Post-Kelo Eminent Domain Reform.” If he had, the governor would have learned that states can pass strong property rights protection reforms and have economic development, too.

The report is available at www.ij.org/images/pdf_folder/other_pubs/doomsday-no-way.pdf.

“Simply stated, this study reveals that reforms passed after 2005’s infamous Kelo eminent domain decision from the U.S. Supreme Court have provided greater protection to homes and small businesses without sacrificing economic health; securing property rights and stimulating economic development can coexist,” said Dick Carpenter, director of strategic research for the Institute for Justice. “With no ill economic effects—and with the substantial benefits strong reform provides the rightful owners of property and society as a whole—legislators nationwide should be encouraged to keep good reforms in place while pursuing new and stronger safeguards against eminent domain abuse.”

But yesterday, Gov. Barbour vetoed Mississippi’s eminent domain reform, which would have prohibited the use of eminent domain for private development or for increasing tax revenue.

“Gov. Barbour’s veto is outrageous. It leaves property owners across Mississippi vulnerable to the abuse of eminent domain,” said Scott Bullock, senior attorney for the Institute for Justice, the national public interest law firm that argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Susette Kelo. “Mississippi is just one of seven states in the nation that has failed to reform its eminent domain laws.”

H.B. 803 would have provided solid protection to property owners in Mississippi from eminent domain abuse. The bill prohibits the taking of private property for private development, for increasing tax revenue or in order to convey it to another private party with the exception of the planned Blue Springs Toyota plant. The bill also tightens the definition of urban blight.

The governor’s veto came as no surprise, as he indicated after the bill’s passage in the House that he favored taking private property for large-scale projects—like the Toyota plant. Toyota recently announced that the company would allow the construction of the plant to be completed but that officials were delaying the plant’s opening indefinitely.

Last week, a diverse coalition of 11 groups sent Gov. Barbour a letter urging him to sign H.B. 803. The coalition includes the National Federation of Independent Business, Mississippi Farm Bureau, Mississippi Center for Public Policy, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Americans for Tax Reform, Mississippi Loggers Association, Mississippi Forestry Association, Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association, Property Rights Alliance, National Taxpayers Union and the Institute for Justice.

Barbour joins only a handful of governors to veto eminent domain reform in the almost four years since the Kelo decision. In all but two of the previous cases, reform has been enacted in the end. In Iowa, the legislature overrode the governor’s veto in a special session, for the first time in over 40 years. Arizona citizens passed Proposition 207 following their governor’s veto. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson signed a comprehensive reform bill during that state’s next legislative session to provide even more protections than the previous effort. The governor of Delaware’s veto was not overridden, but her lieutenant governor—who supported the veto—could not even win his party’s nomination for governor, losing to now-Gov. Jack Markell, who said he would sign the vetoed bill. Markell’s opponent also ran on an anti-eminent domain abuse platform. Texas Governor Rick Perry is now pushing for reform.

Previous attempts to reform Mississippi’s eminent domain laws failed in the legislative process, but H.B. 803 received wide bipartisan support in both legislative houses, making it the first piece of meaningful eminent domain reform to pass the legislature in Mississippi since Kelo.

The Institute for Justice has fought the use of eminent domain for private gain in Mississippi. Nine years ago, the Mississippi Major Economic Impact Authority (MMEIA) threatened to take the Archie family homestead in Canton as part of the 1,400-acre Nissan plant project. Both Nissan and the former head of the MMEIA publicly admitted that the project did not require the Archies’ land, but they went ahead with condemnation anyway. After the case drew national support for the Archies from the likes of Martin Luther King III and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and then went to the state Supreme Court, the state stopped its condemnation attempts, allowing the Archies to stay in their homes.

“There’s no question that Mississippi needs reform and that property owners want reform,” Bullock continued. “We’ve defeated eminent domain abuse in Mississippi before, and we’ll continue to work to make sure that it cannot occur in the future.”

Atlantic City Rally Seeks to Stop Eminent Domain Abuse

rally-graphic.jpg 

City Council Scheduled to Vote on Fate of Businesses;
Pinnacle Entertainment Wants Government to Take Land For New Casino

Arlington, Va.—More than twenty years after fleeing communism in Vietnam, where his business was seized and he was imprisoned simply for being successful, Quang Ha faces a similar fate in the country that defines freedom for him.  On Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2008, the City Council of Atlantic City is scheduled to vote on whether to designate Quang’s property and those of other small property owners in a 24-acre area around the former Sands casino as “in need of redevelopment,” in order to seize the property through eminent domain and transfer it to Pinnacle Entertainment for its new casino.  At 4 p.m., Quang Ha will be joined by the Institute for Justice and property owners from across Atlantic City at the City Hall Courtyard, 1301 Bacharach Boulevard, to protest this abuse of eminent domain before the City Council meeting.

“I’m too small.  That’s why they’re stepping on me,” said Quang Ha, owner of the Kim Son Jewelry property across from Pinnacle’s lot, after the Planning Board took the first steps to take his land.  Quang fled communist Vietnam in the early 1980s, where he was imprisoned for two months because he was “making too much money.”  Upon being temporarily released, he fled Hanoi and after 32 days at sea and five months in a refugee camp, he made it to the United States, where he worked hard studying the jewelry trade in hopes of one day owning his own business again.  He realized his dream in Atlantic City, where he was able to open his own jewelry store. 

“Eminent domain is for public use, things like schools and court houses—not to transfer perfectly fine businesses like Quang Ha’s to rich casino developers for private use,” said Christina Walsh, Director of Community Organization at the Institute for Justice (IJ).  IJ is a non-profit public interest law firm that represents property owners nationwide whose homes and businesses are threatened by eminent domain abuse.  Walsh said, “Everyone in Atlantic City and across the country should be outraged that the city would even consider seizing someone’s property just to give it to someone else with more money, no less a refugee from communist Vietnam.”

IJ represented Susette Kelo and her neighbors before the U.S. Supreme Court in Kelo v. City of New London, as well as the homeowners in Long Branch and others across the country.  IJ also successfully represented Vera Coking of Atlantic City, an elderly widow whose home Donald Trump wanted to seize in order to expand his limo parking.

Attorney Bill Potter represented the property owner in Gallenthin v. Borough of Paulsboro before the New Jersey Supreme Court.  The court ruled in that case that municipalities cannot condemn private property simply because they deem it “underutilized.”  Potter said, “Defenders of property rights keep winning in court, from Paulsboro to Long Branch, but we’re playing whack-a-mole with one town after another as they ignore what the Supreme Court ruled in Gallenthin and in nine or ten cases since then in just one year.  It is way past time for the Governor and the Attorney General to start enforcing the Constitution so that private individuals with very limited resources don’t have to do that.”

In March, Quang, the Institute for Justice and others held a press conference where Atlantic City Mayor Scott Evans and Councilmen Marty Small and Steven Moore spoke out against this abuse of eminent domain.

Special Interests Win, Property Owners Lose With Delaware Governor

Legislature Fails to Override

WEB RELEASE: June 28, 2008
CONTACT:
John E. Kramer
(703) 682-9320, ext 205

Arlington, Va.—On Saturday, June 28, Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner vetoed S.B. 245, historic eminent domain reform that would have protected all homes, small businesses, farms and houses of worship from eminent domain abuse. The legislature, which had only one day remaining in its 2008 session, failed to override her veto last night with an 11-9 vote (one abstention) in the Senate. S.B. 245 originally passed the Senate 19-1 and the House unanimously.

True to its nickname, Delaware was the first state to reform its laws in response to the Kelo case, but unfortunately, that 2005 legislation provided only modest reform, allowing eminent domain abuse to continue. S.B. 245 would have followed up on that early victory by restricting eminent domain to its traditional uses—roads, schools, parks and police stations—while still allowing local governments the ability to acquire properties that pose a threat to public health and safety. All told, 42 states have passed legislation that better protects private property from government-enforced private development land grabs. Such abuses disproportionately affect the most vulnerable among us: minorities, the less educated and the poor.

“When special interests win, the people lose,” said Steven Anderson, director of IJ’s Castle Coalition and a frequent presence in Dover during the debate over S.B. 245. “It is sad that months of hard work by ordinary home and small business owners and principled legislators resulted in a weekend veto by a lame duck governor. It’s a victory for big business and big labor, but certainly not for the ordinary homeowner and small businesses.”

Delaware small business owners know firsthand that eminent domain abuse remains a problem. Ed Osborne spent years working tirelessly to build Osborne’s Auto Repair into a successful business along Wilmington’s Christina River waterfront. But instead of allowing Ed and other South Walnut Street businesses to reap the rewards of their investment, the City of Wilmington is threatening to seize their land and hand it over to a private developer who promises more jobs and tax revenue in the form of luxury condominiums and fancier stores. All told, Delaware officials have authorized the use of eminent domain against 62 properties and 38 businesses for private gain.

Minner is one of only a handful of governors to veto eminent domain reform in the three years since the U.S. Supreme Court’s infamous decision in Kelo v. City of New London. In all but one of the previous cases, reform has been enacted in the end: In Iowa, the legislature overrode the governor’s veto in a special session; Arizona citizens passed Proposition 207 following their governor’s veto; and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson signed a comprehensive reform bill during that state’s next legislative session. Texas is scheduled to consider eminent domain reform again in 2009.

“We’re confident Delaware will ultimately get it right,” Anderson continued. “There’s no question that Delaware needs reform. Where abuses occur, the passion of the people is inflamed, which results in legislative change. The issue isn’t going away—and neither are we.”

Two New Studies Detail How Cities Block Private Revitalization Efforts

WEB RELEASE: June 23, 2008
CONTACT:
John E. Kramer
(703) 682-9320, ext 205


50 State Report Card

Simplify, Don’t Subsidize: The Right Way to Support Private Development

.
. 50 State Report Card

Baltimore’s Flawed Renaissance

Arlington, Va.—Government-driven redevelopment efforts stifle economic development projects and actually hinder the revitalization of the nation’s cities, argue two new studies from the Institute for Justice.

In Baltimore’s Flawed Renaissance, authors Stephen J.K. Walters, a professor of economics at Loyola College, and Louis Miserendino, a graduate of Loyola, closely examine Baltimore’s half-century-long failed attempt to bring investment back into the city. Independent developer Doug Kaplan details the outrageous bureaucratic and regulatory hurdles small developers must pass in order to build private projects in Simplify, Don’t Subsidize: The Right Way to Support Private Development.

Baltimore’s Flawed Renaissance and Simplify, Don’t Subsidize are the Institute for Justice’s third and fourth Perspectives on Eminent Domain Abuse, a series of independently authored reports that examine eminent domain abuse from the vantage point of noted national experts.

While Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is often touted as the example par excellence of government-subsidized redevelopment, Baltimore “is today two cities, separate but unequal, not in spite of its extravagant and interventionist redevelopment program, but because of it,” argue Walters and Miserendino

The city’s redevelopment strategy, according to Walters and Miserendino, is deeply flawed and has been affected negatively by the heavy-handed use of eminent domain over the past 50 years. Although Baltimore’s Inner Harbor has recently become the city’s premier attraction, the rest of the city remains a relic of post-WWII urban decay and bears the scars of failed government-backed redevelopment in decades past. Walters and Miserendino recount the city’s failed attempts since the 1960s to revitalize the city, while businesses fled for the surrounding Baltimore County and elsewhere where they would not be threatened with eminent domain and, at the same time, taxed exorbitantly.

“The city’s lack of progress on so many fronts is a direct by-product of its failure to understand and treat the real source of its problems: hostility to private property rights and a resulting flight of capital that largely drained the city of its economic lifeblood,” the authors conclude.

On the West Coast, Kaplan details his attempts to build a shopping center in Santa Cruz County, Calif. Kaplan, a small independent developer, argues that the amount of paperwork and fees that go along with each of the intricate regulatory steps to build and renovate in Santa Cruz actually stifles efforts to bring economic development to local communities.

Kaplan also shares his company’s navigation through Santa Cruz County’s “ever-expanding gauntlet of government-imposed regulatory, administrative and financial obstacles” in order to build a small commercial building in Capitola, Calif. Through his experiences in Capitola and elsewhere, Kaplan has found that “more often than not, local governments don’t ‘catalyze’ private development; they drive it away by making it too expensive.”

“Today, a private developer faces a difficult choice: Go into business with the local development agency, or go it alone, at great cost and peril,” Kaplan argues. “If cutting taxes, reducing fees and streamlining regulations benefits government’s public/private partners, then think what miracles could occur if government did the same for everyone,” he concludes. “Do less to us and watch us have fun taking care of the rest.”

The release of these two reports is especially timely as today (June 23) is “Kelo Day.” Three years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that New London, Conn., could take the homes of Susette Kelo and her neighbors in order to try to generate more tax revenue. Today, after $78 million in taxpayer dollars, nothing has happened with the land, which sits brown and barren.

“The beneficiaries of eminent domain abuse maintain that planning, controlling and subsidizing development helps communities, but as these groundbreaking reports prove, that approach has the opposite effect,” said Christina Walsh, coordinator of the Castle Coalition, which helps home and business owners nationwide fight eminent domain abuse. “Eminent domain, exorbitant taxation, regulations, permits, development fees—the list goes on and on—all have a chilling, if not lethal, effect on private investment. Municipalities need to get out of the development business and leave that to private individuals who want to do it themselves.”

Both studies are available for download at www.CastleCoalition.org/perspectives-baltimore and www.CastleCoalition.org/perspectives-simplify.

New Study Details Baltimore

WEB RELEASE: June 23, 2008
CONTACT:
John E. Kramer
(703) 682-9320, ext 205


. 50 State Report Card

Baltimore’s Flawed Renaissance

Arlington, Va.—New Study Details Baltimore’s Flawed Revitalization Efforts:
“Plan-Control-Subsidize Redevelopment” Does Not Work

Arlington, Va.—Although Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is often touted as the example par excellence of government-subsidized redevelopment, Baltimore “is today two cities, separate but unequal, not in spite of its extravagant and interventionist redevelopment program, but because of it,” finds a new study from the Institute for Justice. Baltimore’s Flawed Renaissance: The Failure of Plan-Control-Subsidize Redevelopment, by Loyola College Economics Professor Stephen J.K. Walters and graduate Louis Miserendino, closely examines Baltimore’s 50-year failed attempt to bring investment back into the city.

Baltimore’s Flawed Renaissance (found at: www.CastleCoalition.org/perspectives-baltimore) is the Institute for Justice’s third Perspectives on Eminent Domain Abuse, a series of independently authored reports that examine eminent domain abuse from the vantage point of noted national experts.

According to Walters and Miserendino, Baltimore’s “‘plan, control and subsidize’ doctrine is antithetical to the types of policies that would have created a far more inviting environment for investment and a far more organic, widely shared and enduring renewal.”

“Often, areas that were well-functioning (if unappealing in planners’ eyes) became emptied-out slums only after they were designated as part of a renewal area or were unlucky enough to sit in the path of a planner transit artery thought necessary to revitalize downtown,” Walters and Miserendino continue.

Although Baltimore’s Inner Harbor has recently become the city’s premier attraction, the rest of the city remains a relic of post-WWII urban decay and bears the scars of failed government-backed redevelopment in decades past. Walters and Miserendino recount the city’s failed attempts since the 1960s to revitalize the city: high-rise public housing, which only lasted four decades; 1.4 mile I-70, the highway to nowhere; and the attempted condemnation of the Colts’ National Football League team. Although the city continued efforts at revitalization, the city’s businesses fled for the surrounding Baltimore County or other places in the state (or country) where they would not be threatened with eminent domain and, at the same time, not taxed exorbitantly, note Walters and Miserendino.

“The city’s lack of progress on so many fronts is a direct byproduct of its failure to understand and treat the real source of its problems: hostility to private property rights and a resulting flight of capital that largely drained the city of its economic lifeblood,” the authors conclude.

“The beneficiaries of eminent domain abuse always parade the Inner Harbor as their poster child for the benefits of eminent domain,” said Christina Walsh, coordinator of the Castle Coalition, which helps home and business owners nationwide fight eminent domain abuse. “But they conveniently neglect to mention the devastating havoc the city’s efforts have wreaked on the rest of Baltimore. This ground-breaking study finally sets the record straight: ‘plan-control-subsidize redevelopment’ does not work, and the proponents of eminent domain for private gain can’t hide behind the Inner Harbor anymore.”

The study is available for download at www.CastleCoalition.org/perspectives-baltimore.

Institute for Justice Urges Governor Minner to Sign S.B. 245

WEB RELEASE: June 18, 2008
CONTACT:
John E. Kramer
(703) 682-9320, ext 205

Arlington, Va.—The Delaware legislature passed historic eminent domain reform this past week and all that is left to protect all homes, small businesses, farms and houses of worship from eminent domain abuse is Governor Ruth Ann Minner’s signature. The Institute for Justice urges Governor Minner to sign S.B. 245, which passed the Senate 19-1 and the House unanimously.

As the third anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s infamous decision in Kelo v. City of New London approaches on June 23, nearly every state has passed legislation that better protects private property from government-enforced private development land grabs. Such abuses disproportionately affect the most vulnerable among us: minorities, the less educated and the poor. True to its nickname, Delaware was the first to respond to the Kelo case with reform, but unfortunately, that 2005 legislation provided only modest reform, allowing eminent domain abuse to continue.

Delaware small business owners know first hand that eminent domain abuse remains a problem. Ed Osborne spent years working tirelessly to build Osborne’s Auto Repair into a successful business along Wilmington’s Christina River waterfront. But instead of allowing Ed and other South Walnut Street businesses to reap the rewards of their investment, the City of Wilmington is threatening to seize their land and hand it over to a private developer who promises more tax revenue and jobs in the form of luxury condominiums and fancier stores. All told, officials have authorized the use of eminent domain against 62 properties and 38 businesses for private gain.

This state’s legislators–from both sides of the aisle–understand this problem. S.B. 245 makes several critical changes to current law that will better protect property owners from eminent domain abuse. The bill specifically prohibits using eminent domain for private development because it is not a public use. It re-establishes the traditional definition of public use–roads, schools, parks and police stations–for projects the public will own and use rather than the possible trickledown benefits on the promise of more taxes. The “public use” definition also allows for the acquisition of property for utilities like water, sewer and telecommunications. Government and select private entities retain the power to provide the public goods they have always delivered.

Most important, S.B. 245 makes certain that property that sits in a so-called slum or blighted area or is unfit for habitation or abandoned can be taken by eminent domain only when it is a direct threat to public health and safety in its current condition. Local governments retain the tools to obtain problem properties under S.B. 245, but they now have to use objective criteria, returning the slum clearance and urban renewal laws to their traditional bounds.

“Currently, no one’s property is safe under the vague and amorphous definitions used to define ‘slum’ and ‘blight,’ which easily trigger the government’s power of eminent domain to take homes and small businesses,” said Steven Anderson, director of IJ’s Castle Coalition and a frequent presence in Dover during the debate over this bill. “S.B. 245 would finish the job Delaware started three years ago, allowing everyone to keep what they’ve worked so hard to own. What’s more, economic development can be done and is, in fact, best done without eminent domain, so there are no negative consequences to Governor Minner signing this bill.”

City of St. Louis Sues Eminent Domain Activist

First The City Sought To Take Away His Property, Now It Wants to Silence His Speech  

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: William R. Maurer
(206) 341-9300
March 28, 2008

Arlington, Va.—Should the federal courts help the City of St. Louis violate free speech and property rights?  That is the question posed to a federal court this week in a countersuit filed by the city against Jim Roos, a longtime activist against eminent domain abuse.

In a continued attack on fundamental constitutional freedoms, the City of St. Louis wants to shut down Jim’s protest of its long history of eminent domain abuse:  a mural painted on the side of a building targeted for eminent domain abuse that is visible from a heavily traveled highway.  The same bureaucrats now threatening Jim Roos’s free speech rights are also threatening to take away the property on which the mural is painted for private development.  The city’s lawsuit requests a federal judge to order the mural removed and to fine or sanction Jim if he does not remove it.

“The city’s countersuit is unfortunately indicative of how many governments disregard both property rights and free speech,” said William Maurer, an attorney for the Institute for Justice, a national public interest law firm representing Jim in his battle to protect constitutional liberties. “The Supreme Court in its awful Kelo decision said that the primary defense for Americans to stop land grabs for private gain is the political process.  St. Louis’s actions against Jim Roos show that the governments that don’t respect your right to own property won’t respect your right of free speech either.”

This case began when Jim–fed up with seeing the well-maintained affordable housing he owns and manages face condemnation for private development–fought back.  He helped found the Missouri Eminent Domain Abuse Coalition and has been an advocate for reform of Missouri’s eminent domain laws.  Jim constructed a large anti-eminent domain abuse mural on a property targeted for future condemnation to make way for a private development project.

After the mural appeared in March, St. Louis bureaucrats told Jim he must apply for a permit because of local “sign codes.”  The city denied his application.  Jim appealed and was denied again.  He then filed an appeal and civil rights claim in court seeking a determination of the constitutionality of the city’s ability to shut down protests of its policies.

“I followed all the procedures the city set up to keep this mural, even those procedures that the city later admitted were illegal,” Jim said.  “Now they have sued me, even though I filed timely appeals to protect my rights.  This is another example of the lengths to which St. Louis will go to keep people from knowing about the city’s abuse of eminent domain.”

Maurer concluded, “We will continue to fight to protect the rights of Missourians to remain secure in their homes and businesses and to speak out when the government violates their rights.  Simply put, all Americans should be able to protest government abuse and they should not be sued in federal court for exercising this fundamental right.”

Missouri Supreme Court Rules Against Dentist Fighting To Save His Business From Eminent Domain Abuse

Ruling Underscores Urgent Need for Eminent Domain Reform

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: Bob Ewing
(703) 682-9320
March 18, 2008

Arlington, Va.-Today, the Supreme Court of Missouri held, 6-1, that both large (“chartered”) and small (“non-chartered”) cities have the power to use eminent domain under the state’s redevelopment or “TIF” laws to take land from private owners to hand over to developers.  

The case concerns the fate of Homer Tourkakis, a dentist from Arnold—a suburb of St. Louis—whose offices have been condemned so private developers can build big-box stores.  Last year, a judge ruled in favor of Dr. Tourkakis and dismissed the land grab as unconstitutional.

“Missouri cities are among the worst abusers of eminent domain in the nation,” said Institute for Justice (IJ) Senior Attorney Scott Bullock, the lawyer who argued the landmark eminent domain case, Kelo v. New London, at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2005.  The Institute filed a brief in the Missouri Supreme Court on behalf of IJ and the newly appointed state eminent domain ombudsman, Anthony Martin.  “This decision, which leaves the door open for any city in Missouri to take homes and businesses for private development, underscores the vital need to reform the state’s eminent domain laws,” said Bullock.  

The specific issue in this case was what type of Missouri city has the ability to use eminent domain in so-called blighted areas.  A state law dating from the 1940s permits large urban areas to engage in “slum clearance,” which often has had disastrous results.  Now, however, small communities across the state also use eminent domain not to remove blight, but so city officials might possibly gain the tax dollars generated by private commercial development.  Until today’s decision, it was unclear whether smaller cities could use eminent domain for these purposes.       

The Court did make it clear, though, that it was not deciding any other issue in the case, including whether the property owned by Dr. Tourkakis was in fact blighted or whether the taking was for a public or private use.  Dr. Tourkakis can still bring those challenges.   

The decision will have statewide consequences.  For instance, on the other side of Missouri, in the small town of Sugar Creek, the Marth family has been closely watching the outcome of the Arnold case because the city has threatened to take their home, which has been in the family since the 1920s, so a private developer can build a big-box shopping center.

 “Unless the law is changed, this decision will make countless Missourians completely vulnerable to government-sanctioned land grabs for the benefit of private developers,” added IJ Senior Attorney Bert Gall, one of the authors of IJ’s brief.

There is an effort underway in Missouri, spearheaded by Missouri Citizens for Property Rights, to place an initiative on the November ballot that would end eminent domain for private development purposes. 

Nueva gu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACTO: John Kramer; Lisa Knepper de Institute for Justice
(703) 682-9320
August 23, 2007
Sitio web: www.ij.org

Read release in English

ARLINGTON, Virginia—Las comunidades hispanohablantes de todo el país tienen ahora acceso a las estrategias más eficaces para luchar contra el uso abusivo del dominio eminente: la expropiación forzada de propiedades por parte del gobierno para el desarrollo privado. La nueva versión en español del popular y galardonado Eminent Domain Abuse Survival Guide (Manual de Supervivencia contra el Uso Abusivo del Dominio Eminente), de la Castle Coalition, ofrece a los hispanohablantes las mismas tácticas y estrategias que los propietarios de viviendas y pequeños negocios emplean hace años con gran éxito para proteger sus posesiones.

El Manual de Supervivencia resulta especialmente útil para explicar el concepto de uso abusivo del dominio eminente, que la Corte Suprema de los Estados Unidos consideró constitucional hace dos años en Kelo v. City of New London. Esta traducción ayuda a los dueños de propiedades amenazadas a transitar por el proceso de dominio eminente y brinda a los lectores las herramientas que necesitan para defenderse. Además, ofrece a los hispanohablantes el vocabulario en inglés que encontrarán mientras defiendan sus propiedades. El Manual de Supervivencia está disponible en www.castletrans.wpengine.com/Espanol.

“En el pasado, la población hispanohablante tenía acceso limitado a la información vital necesaria para salvar sus hogares y sus pequeños negocios del uso abusivo del dominio eminente”, declaró Steven Anderson, director de la Castle Coalition del Institute for Justice. “Gracias al Manual de Supervivencia, eso se acabó”.

Esta publicación resulta especialmente oportuna, porque muchos de los estados que recibieron malas o bajas calificaciones en el 50 State Report Card de la Castle Coalition tienen una gran población hispanohablante, como Nueva York, Nueva Jersey y California. Además, como predijo el juez O'Connor en el veredicto de Kelo y como ha demostrado Victimizing the Vulnerable: The Demographics of Eminent Domain (Victimizar al vulnerable: la demografía del dominio eminente), del Institute for Justice, las minorías siguen siendo las víctimas más probables del uso abusivo del dominio eminente. El Manual de Supervivencia es una herramienta más para fortalecer a los políticamente débiles contra la fuerza de los gobiernos locales.

“Con esta traducción, no sólo estamos ofreciendo una nueva herramienta para los propietarios de viviendas y pequeños negocios contra el abuso del dominio eminente, sino que nos estamos acercando cada vez más al fin de esa práctica”, concluyó Anderson.