There are a lot of things I dislike about government but in my Top 25 of Least Appreciated Aspects of Government, eminent domain would probably be very high on the list.
Eminent domain is “an action of the state to seize a citizen’s property, expropriate property or seize a citizen’s right in property with due monetary compensation, but without the owner’s consent”. It happens all the time. The government swoops in to build highways, public utilities and railroads. Sometimes eminent domain is also used for public safety purposes.
Now, the City of Sandy Springs is attempting to do this in an effort to build a City Hall. (yes, i just gave you the reasons for eminent domain. Did you see building a ‘a city hall’. Let’s get a couple of things clear…The original place is the old Target shopping center that’s been vacant for a good while now. It would be beneficial to have the current vacancy filled with something that isn’t ten feet down the road (I.e. another Target or Trader Joe’s). But Sandy Springs doesn’t want to stop at the Target. According to WSBtv, Will Smith’s Master Kleen dry-cleaner has operated at the corner of Roswell Road and Mt. Vernon Highway for 43 years but Mayor Eva Galambos is trying to attain the whole block. She said, “You don’t exactly want a tattoo parlor as the entrance to your city complex. So, some of it is we want something people can be proud of.” Really Mayor? What about the business owners that are proud of their shops, businesses and city?
It would be a different story if Sandy Springs was making reasonable offers, but they are lowball ing the heck out of owners. [Also, Sandy Springs brings in plenty of revenue via traffic tickets. Their cops are everywhere. They can afford to offer these business owners a reasonable price.] So just to fully understand this: Sandy Springs wants to low ball property owners in an already struggling economy, where property values are far below what these people paid, but the City wants to offer them even less than that and essentially force them to move their business elsewhere to build a City Hall that Mayor Galambos can be proud of…even though many of these businesses existed well before the City did?
What about the 5th Amendment in the Bill of Rights? Stating…” …nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” Do we really think the GOVERNMENT should be the people to decide what is just compensation?
There are some loonies out there that say we don’t really own anything because the government can come in and take part or all of things at any given time. The City of Sandy Springs gives a little more merit to that.