Whenever I hear the words "eminent domain", I almost always recall talks I have had with many white (and black) citizens from Zimbabwe who have had their properties seized over the past two or three decades under the Mugabe regime. For example, a judge in Zimbabwe had his farm taken personally by Robert Mugabe's wife early in 2009.
After these Zimbabweans have talked about their history with property seizures in their homelands, I have shared with these Zimbabweans that in America for decades real estate, business shylocks, and city developers have been abusing American property owners for years, i.e. using eminent domain and laws of condemnation to take property again and again.
In my family's case, in the mid-1990s, the small town of Sterling, Kansas (approx. 2000 residents) simply took over my mother's house and property--without even contacting her. You see, my mom had been divorced over 15 years earlier--a process through which the full property eventually became hers. In the early 1980s, there had been recession in property and job market throughout all rural areas in America, so the property often went unsold for years.
In short, my family had gone to neighbors all around the location of the house in Sterling over several years trying to sell the house to no avail. No one took the offer.
Meanwhile, my mom had been working for the United Methodists of Oklahoma continuously from 1980 through the end of the 1990s. (She had even become a minister first in the 1970s in Sterling, Kansas through the UM church there. Until late 1979, mom had been a minister in Kansas for the UM church, too.) In short, mom was a public individual in the Midwest and a simple background check through local, state or federal police would and could have provided the City of Sterling, Kansas with the phone number and address of my mother quite easily. They could have contacted her at the time the city took over the property, but they did not claiming that the owner could not be found.
Claiming to have been unable to find out where my mother lived,, Sterling city administrators took away my parent's old house for a pittance. So, the house and property were confiscated. The house was then torn down and the land was put up for auction. Only then, after the auction, was a 4 or 5 thousand dollar check sent to my mother in Oklahoma.
In conclusion, at auction my mom's property was sold to a neighbor--who had strong connections for years with the local city police.
BACK TO NEW LONDON
New London's Michael Cristofaro tearfully reported on Democracy Now, "Well, I mean, that [the intention of Pfizer to leave now] hurts even more, because, you know, the state and the city--you know, Pfizer came in. They [the real estate leaders, Pfizer, and city fathers] said what they would like to see happen, you know, to the neighborhood. And they had executives who basically said they didn't want to look out their tenements down at--I mean, look out their windows down at these tenements and, you know, 'We would like to have a biotech buildings and office park there.' And so, that's what the city did. They accommodated them. And they gave them all these tax breaks."
Cristofaro concluded, "And the hopes and dreams were that this PfizerGlobalResearchCenter was going to draw all these major corporations into New London, and it was going to save them, you know, by increasing the tax rolls. And here it is, ten years later, they actually extended tax abatements an additional three years to entice Pfizer to come here. And here it is, the tenth year, and the tax abatements are finally up, and they turn around and drop this bombshell, saying, 'We are leaving.'"
In short, there never has been any justice and never will be any justice until more rigorous eminent domain laws are implemented in America. Moreover, the Supreme Court must support individuals over-run-amok city leaders and development mongers as it failed to do in the landmark 2005 case.Wake up, America, fight for change and justice!!!!!
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