OMT One Man's Trash...from Norman Leahy

Thursday, March 02, 2006 :::

A Short Take on a Property Rights Meeting

Via email:

Last night a meeting was held in Richmond to see if a compromise could be reached between the two sides in the property rights debate. In attendance were Del. Johnny Joannou, Sen. Ken Cuccinelli, Joe Waldo (a nationally recognized attorney with the Norfolk law firm of Waldo & Lyle), Atty. Gen. Bob McDonnell, Chip Dicks (an attorney with substantial experience in representing developers on land use applications as well as representation of Colonial Pipeline, a condemner), Bill Throw (the Solicitor General of Virginia), and Del. Terrie Suit.

Actually, this is not quite accurate as Del. Suit, after arriving at the meeting, refused to participate if Joe Waldo did. Showing considerable grace and maturity, and not wanting to see if Del. Suit would really hold her breath until she passed out, Waldo excused himself.

At 1:00 a.m., the meeting adjourned. No compromise was reached as Del. Joannou and Sen. Cuccinelli could not understand, or be persuaded, that it was their prerogative as members of the General Assembly to give away the inalienable rights of the sovereign citizens.

Talk about sticking out like a couple of sore thumbs, talk about a couple of skunks at the garden party, what's the matter with those two? Looks like a bad case of principles.

Color commentary aside, McDonnell called the meeting to see if a compromise could be reached between the competing House and Senate property rights bills. As I noted earlier, the distinction between the two bills is crystal clear. Even the TD noticed:

Sponsored by Ken Stolle, the Senate bill -- and the companion version of a bill introduced by Delegate Terrie Suit in the House -- leaves vastly too much room for governmental abuse. To begin, it defines the "public use" justification for eminent domain as "any uses necessary for public purposes." And who would decide what is necessary? The very officials who want to condemn property in the first place.


The bill passed by the House -- essentially one introduced by Delegate Johnny Joannou -- stipulates that eminent domain can be used to seize private property only when the property will remain in public hands, and only when the public actually makes use of the property. Subsequent transfers to other parties -- and seizures justified as necessary simply because some third-rate bureaucrat says they are -- would be prohibited, as they well and truly should be.

The choice is clear. What is not clear is whether Virginia Republicans have the will or even the inclination to pass the Joannou bill. So far, the signs all point to a by-now patented GOP collapse, favoring developers and local governments over property owners.

The shame of it all...

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 3/02/2006 5 comments


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