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A timely reminder

Wednesday, March 6, 2002

Fast on the heels of word that eminent domain is back on the table in Pittsburgh’s Downtown redevelopment efforts comes a new report on the abuse of eminent domain.

The Castle Coalition’s “Government Theft: The Top Ten Abuses of Eminent Domain, 1982-2002″ should be mandatory reading for the Plan C Task Force that this week is expected to adopt its Golden Triangle redevelopment blueprint. Among the examples:

Officials in Merriam, Kan., condemned one car dealership so a higher-profit BMW dealership could expand.
Riviera Beach, Fla., officials are uprooting 5,000 residents in favor of a privately owned commercial-industrial development.
Dana Berliner and Scott Bullock of the Institute for Justice are veterans of the eminent domain-heavy and now-scuttled Market Place battle in Pittsburgh. It’s the IOJ that’s behind the Castle Coalition, named so “because everyone’s home, and everyone’s property, is his castle.” Reminded Ms. Berliner and Mr. Bullock in a timely Monday commentary in The Washington Times:

“Under our Constitution, our property rights are not conditioned on the whim of those with financial and political influence. Nor should they be sacrificed just so municipalities can put more money in their coffers.”

The sad thing is that no government should need to be reminded of this basic tenet of our republicanism. The sadder thing is that Pittsburgh’s central planners apparently never learned their lesson the first time around

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