Whatever is Yours… Is “Ours”

Hand Taking HouseI had stated late last week that there would be an upcoming post on eminent domain, so this is where I make my stand on this subject. This issue reared its head lately in the form of the government threatening to use eminent domain in order to seize the land where Flight 93 crashed on 9/11. They are attempting to build a monument to the victims of Flight 93 and it is so important to do so that they are willing to TAKE the land if the owners of the properties in question do not agree to sell it to the US government. Now I am a patriot and all, and the “let’s roll” folks should be remembered for the decisions that they made on that plane in order to save other lives. However, I don’t see where the use of eminent domain in this case is warranted or legal. It is simply another example of where the government believes, in its heart of hearts, that whatever you possess, you only do so as long as they don’t want it.

New Mall InterestLet’s begin with a quick review of eminent domain, shall we? Eminent domain, in common law legal systems, is the inherent power of the state to seize a citizen’s private property, expropriate property, or seize a citizen’s rights in property with due monetary compensation, but without the owner’s consent. The property is taken either for government use or by delegation to third parties who will devote it to public or civic use or, in some cases, economic development (Definition from Wiki). The term condemnation is used to describe the formal act of the exercise of the power of eminent domain to transfer title to the property from its private owner to the government. When we speak of eminent domain these days, we general think only in terms of “land”, however, the exercise of eminent domain is not limited to real property. Governments may also condemn personal property, such as supplies for the military in wartime, franchises; this includes intangible property such as contract rights, patents, trade secrets, and copyrights.

Eminent Domain is covered, basically, in the 5th Amendment to the Constitution. But not in the way that you think. There has always been eminent domain in America, even prior to the Constitution. We inherited it from England, as a part of common law. In the United States and other democratic republics, what private parties own is not the land itself, but an interest in the property, and it is that interest for which they are entitled to compensation if the government exercises its eminent domain power (Bet you didn’t know that you don’t own the land you own!). This power reposes in the legislative branch of the government and may not be exercised “unless the legislature has authorized its use by statutes that specify who may use it and for what purposes.” Eminent Domain in the 5th Amendment is stated as such:

No person shall be…  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.

Public Good JusticeThe 5th Amendment did not create eminent domain. As noted above it existed under common law long before the Constitution existed. What the 5th Amendment was meant to do was place some sort of limits on the federal government’s use of eminent domain by limiting it to property taken for public use. The 14th Amendment was later used to expand that limit to the state governments as well. The Supreme Court has dealt with many different cases that have set the course forward for eminent domain. One of the more recent, and controversial cases was from New London, CT.:

The Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo v. City of New London (2005) affirmed New London’s authority to seize non-blighted private property by eminent domain, and then transfer it for a dollar a year to a private developer solely for the purpose of increasing municipal revenues. The court held in a 5-4 decision that the general benefits a community enjoyed from economic growth qualified such redevelopment plans as a permissible “public use” under the Takings Clause of the 5th Amendment. Public outcry ensued over the belief that eminent domain powers were too broad. The redevelopment in New London, that was the subject of the Kelo decision, proved to be a failure and as of the spring of this year nothing has been built on the seized land in spite of the expenditure of some $80 million in public funds. For that kind of money, they could have simply PAID WHAT THE LAND WAS WORTH! (link to this information HERE).

Now on to Flight 93 and the proposed use of eminent domain to take the land for a memorial for the crash site. As you recall, the government proposes to build a memorial park on the crash site. The park would be dedicated to the memory and heroism of the 40 passengers and crew who lost their lives when the hijacked plane crashed in Shanksville, 65 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. The plans are for a $58 million, 2,200-acre permanent memorial and national park. The government has acquired roughly 1,700 of the acres they want. The other 500 acres are owned by 7 property owners who have thus far refused to sell.

Fear Not.... You can hold out. Wait... this is from China

Fear Not.... You can hold out. Wait... this is from China

The National Park Service announced that the federal government will condemn (take) land from the seven property owners. The Park Service stated that it wanted to purchase the property but “these negotiations have been unsuccessful thus far.” However, the property owners dispute that negotiations have even taken place. The announcement came on Friday, according to the Philadelphia Enquirer, that the land owners are being given one week to sell. Failure to do so would force the government to initiate the process of taking the land under eminent domain. Fair market value is the over-reaching goal of this process. Complicating the appraisal process is the abundance of natural resources above and below the land: timber, coal, and natural gas.

Now the first question that I have is whether it is justified, no matter how noble the intention, for the federal government to take 500 acres of land, that has valuable natural resources, for the purpose of a national monument in the middle of nowhere, Pennsylvania? A 2,200 acre park? For 40 people? The NC Vietnam Veterans Memorial is at a rest stop on Interstate 85 near Greensboro. It takes up about an acre and a half. I wish I were kidding about that, but I am not. And for this Flight 93 memorial they need 2,200 acres? And $58 Million? Wouldn’t a nice statue and a plaque do the job for about $100,000? I by no means want to slight the families of the victims of this crash, but how many people do they really think are going to drive out to Shanksville, PA. to honor these victims?

To be fair there is a report on Fox News as I write this (Sunday Night) that is stating that the federal government has reversed course and has decided that it will not move to seize the land for the memorial. I am unsure at the time of my writing this whether that is accurate or not, as it was published the same day as the Philadelphia Enquirer article stating that the deadline has been issued. We will have to monitor it throughout the week and see which is accurate. The Fox News article can be found here: Government Reverses Course on Taking Land for Flight 93 Memorial – Political News – FOXNews.com

China Eminent DomainThere are lots of really good articles out there talking about eminent domain and the abuse of it that is being done by the federal government, states, and municipalities. For example, you can read one HERE from CBS News that talks about abuse of eminent domain. It focuses on Lakewood Ohio, where the city wants to tear down 55 houses, 4 apartment buildings, and multiple businesses to make way for a private developer to build high priced condominiums. The reason cited by the mayor? Tax money. The city needs more money and the best way to get it is to increase the revenue from property taxes, which the condos will do in spades. That does not meet my criteria for “public good”. Does it meet yours?

So in terms of discussion material here, let’s discuss eminent domain. We know that it is legal, as the law and the Supreme Court have ruled it so for a long time. But is it ethical? How does everyone feel upon hearing that you don’t actually own your land, but only the interest in it? That one was a surprise to me. I think I had read it before, but had not remembered it. My position, as I stand coming into this discussion, is that the right of eminent domain is not ethically or morally sound. First and foremost, I don’t feel like the the government should have the right to determine what they feel is the just compensation for the property that is yours. Second, the use of eminent domain seems, especialy since the Kelo decision, to have any limitations. Government needs merely to show that more people will benefit from the seizure than the number of property owners. Finally, if government wants to build something, they can build it AROUND my property if I don’t want to sell. 

So I will open this up for discussion. Tell me where eminent domain is ethical. Tell me what public use is so important  and so unflexible that I should be forced to give up my property. Take it a step further. Suppose that a war breaks out tomorrow. Should the government be allowed to go out and confiscate every civilian Hummer for use in the war effort? I can’t seem to find a reason in my mind why eminent domain should exist in today’s world. Tell me where I am wrong.


  1. Robert R Smith says:

    I think the only reason for emminent domain to be an absolute is if there is need of a hospital or other type of emergency facility, that cannot afford or exist in any other way.

    • Black Flag says:

      Please demonstrate how it cannot exit in any other way?

      What it demonstrates is laziness – “Ah, it’s too hard to figure out the moral thing to do, so let’s steal it”.

    • There is ALWAYS someone out there perfectly willing to sell their land to the Government. There is NO reason to steal it from those who are unwilling.

    • Alan F. says:

      In my home town the rezoning/seizing of large properties was done to provide a minimum sized lot for new housing anywhere the town deemed able. Great yards are now gone, their owners were paid whatever the town decided the going rate was be damned the loss of value to their remaining property. Why did they do this? It was quicker and cheaper to just take than develop at the town’s periphery due to short sighted infrastructure projections made in 1963. Funny that you could also make the claim too that expediency and earnings are why all thievery occurs.

  2. Eminent domain was used back in the 1950’s for the Interstate Highway System.

    Thee are occasions that it is useful.

    Then in the 60’s and 70’s it was misused in the Los Angeles area for the same purpose, but only to get a road to the L.A. International Airport.

    There are occasions when it is not useful.

    Six of one, half a dozen of the other . . .

    • Black Flag says:

      Useful for who?

      Not so useful for the guy who lost his land.

    • USWeapon says:

      GA Rowe,

      It sounds like useful versus not useful is determined by whether you think the project is grand enough in scope. The road to the airport would not be used by enough public to be useful, but the interstate would be, and therefore is OK. Is that an accurate breakdown of what you are saying here? Don’t want to put words in your mouth.

      • Useful = The nations inte4rstate system was sorely needed and way overdue. If FDR really wanted to put people back to work he had the means and the need to build an interstate highway system back in the thirties, yet he did not. As a result all troops had to be transported by train from coast to coast. Eisenhower pushed the interstate highway act through and got it built. Most everything we use in our households today is shipped by truck over the interstate highway system and the railway system.

        Not useful = The road to the Airport in L.A. could have gone a different route and not displaced those homeowners. It was just politics as usual for that one. Sometime later a corridor for container trains and trucks was built where that freeway should have been and the road that displaced all those families is now sparsely (in L.A. terms) used as most folks use the corridor to get to the airport faster.

        The above was also known to the politicians back in the 50’s and 60’s but was ignored anyway – No one knows for sure just who got paid off and how much was paid . . . Greed will get you every time!

  3. TexasChem says:

    Eminent domain is taking by force what is not the governments to take.Just as taxes are.I pay taxes every year on my land, house, vehicle so essentially I am just renting it anyways in the governments eyes.I pay taxes on my income so my income belongs to them as well, I only get to keep what they choose to let me keep.Income tax was essentially set up not to run the government but to fund the Unions war effort in the Civil War.The 16th made this tax permanent which has allowed this monster we call government to have the power and control of its citizens today.It needs to be repealed and some form of flat rate put in place.This would decrease government size and give the citizens of this country back the liberty and freedoms the founders meant for us to have.

    • TexasChem says:

      Just thinking about the governments massive spending the past few months enrages me because I know it is going to eventually increase my taxes even more.I am fed up with it.

    • TexasChem says:

      If Obama truly wanted “wealth redistrubution” then all he has to do is let the American citizens keep their wealth rather than taking more of it from them.Redistrubute from an oversized bloated government back to those it was taken from.

      • Barberian says:

        Unfortunately TC, he did not say “refund the wealth” but “redistribute the wealth”.

        As long as the “beast” gets FED, the “beast” keeps growing. Pardon the pun.

    • Well said, matches my thoughts to a “T”.

  4. Barberian says:

    In answer to you question, “Tell me where I am Wrong.”,… nough said!

  5. Bama dad says:

    USW said:
    “What the 5th Amendment was meant to do was place some sort of limits on the federal government’s use of eminent domain by limiting it to property taken for public use.”

    I will disagree with this statement, as one of the reasons for the 5th was to require government to compensate the party for property taken (“Nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”). Before 1791 property was taken without compensation. Busy at the moment more later. 🙂

    • Black Flag says:

      Who determines “just” compensation?

      In all matters of the free market, it is the seller who determines – at the end of the day – what the price of the product will be. It is the buyer who agrees, and pays or not, and leaves.

      Only in government mental disease is the onus reversed – where the buyer determines the price, and the seller agrees – and get the money or not, and gets the boot.

      • Bama dad says:

        BF said:
        “Who determines “just” compensation?”

        “Only in government mental disease is the onus reversed – where the buyer determines the price, and the seller agrees – and get the money or not, and gets the boot.”

        False statement, government does not determine “just” compensation. :shock”

        • Black Flag says:

          Who does then?

        • Amazed1 says:

          They did in our case. They told us what they were going to give us…..we then had to go to the courthouse….dig up records and prove what market was. They then paid market.

          • Black Flag says:

            And if you disagreed with the ‘records’?

            Did you include the inflationary costs?

            The increase/decrease due to location?

            Just because someone bought the land in 1850, in the middle of a rundown part of NY city for $4,000 – is that what the government should pay in 2009 for a building in Wall Street?

            • Amazed1 says:

              They allowed us to use current prices for land on the hwy in this area and they purchased the land by the foot….so we got market but it took about 4 months longer for them to get their road started because several would not take the price that was offered and had to prove market.

          • Bama dad says:


            All my experience is in the state of Alabama and here the government does not determine the value of property. If the State of Alabama condemns property the court will use a third party appraiser to determine property value.

            From West’s encyclopedia of American Law:

            The measure of damages is often the fair market value of the property harmed or taken for public use. The market value is commonly defined as the price that could have reasonably resulted from negotiations between an owner who was willing to sell and a purchaser who desired to buy. The value of real property is assessed based on the uses to which it can reasonably be put. Elements for consideration include the history and general character of the area, the adaptability of the land for future buildings, and the use intended for the property after its taking. Generally, the best use of the land is considered to be its use at the time it was condemned, even though the condemnor may not intend to use the land in the same manner as the owner. Crops, grass, trees, minerals, rental income, and all other items that fairly enter into the question of value are taken into consideration when determining just compensation. The amount of compensation should be measured by the owner’s loss rather than the condemnor’s gain, and the owner should be placed in as good a financial position as he or she would have been in had the property not been taken

            • Black Flag says:

              Who determines fair?

              Why should I sell based on what I may lose? Why can’t I sell based on what its worth to you?

              I have a Ferrari, if you steal it – I’ve lost a car. But if I sell it, its more than a car – it was owned by Black Flag! So its worth MORE to the person buying it because I’ve once owned it.

              So why should I sell it for merely its value as a car?

              I should sell it based on the value assigned to it by the buyer!!

              Typical government – reverses the onus of the free market – and no wonder the economy is tanked.

            • Bama,
              I’m not sure what the Georgia Law is regarding ID. I believe it to be somewhere along the lines of the Alabama Law though due to my one experience with it. Although I was a renter, I know the owner of the property received a pretty nice sum. At least I know for sure that he wasn’t upset with the loss.

              What I feel for my property though has value because of History and Family ties to the land.

              So I don’t believe the State has the right to basically throw me off my land because I was unwilling to sell it. I have my price, like most folks. But I’m pretty sure the state would be unwilling to meet it. 😉

            • Black Flag says:

              You state: “False statement, government does not determine “just” compensation

              Then you go and show how government determines compensation.

              What your complete the word ‘just’?

              • Black Flag says:

                You state: “False statement, government does not determine “just” compensation

                Then you go and show how government determines compensation.

                What your complaint the word ‘just’?

              • Bama dad says:

                A third party appraiser is not the government determining compensation

              • Black Flag says:

                The government is the final authority to accept or not the appraisers value.

                In all cases, the owner has no rights.

                Someone can appraise my desk – I love my desk – it is battle-worn.

                An appraiser might see it worth a $100.

                To me it is priceless.

                By what right his is value ‘correct’ and mine wrong?

              • Bama dad says:

                The court has final authority, not the state.

              • Black Flag says:

                Same thing, BD.

              • Amazed1 says:

                3rd party appraisers hired by the government, paid for by the government are infact a part of the government. Their pockets are lined by the government….not by the citizen or property owner. What is their expectation to protect me the property owner?

            • Amazed1 says:

              I realize that the way a State does business and the way the Fed’s do business is probably quite different. Ours was done by the state although it is a US Hwy. At any rate it worked out OK for all concerned. Like I said in my earlier post the road widening was necessary….traffic was awful, even tho it was going to cause major problems for our business we knew it had to be done. There were some very very nice homes on the hwy frontage that were devalued due to losing all their front yard and placing their home right on the Hwy…..those people had to prove the loss of value and were compensated. I have often thought about this…I allowed the electric company right of way across my property……I felt it benefited the community and that I could conceed a little for their benefit. My husband says I made a grave error because he believes that if the road ever needs widening they will automatically take it from our property since that is the side the power lines now run on. I don’t know what they would do in that instance but I know that if they come to widen the road and they have to have it off of my side of the road…..my farm land maybe very expensive….I gave already, it is time for some one else in the community to give.

    • USWeapon says:


      Actually, the practice of compensating for land taken was well in place under common law at the time. The compensation early in the colonies was a pittance, but the justification for this was that if your land was taken, it was easy to acquire more because of the undiscovered areas. Land didn’t hold nearly as much value because it was so abundant.

      In reading some of the intents behind the 5th Amendment, there was a bitter debate among the founders on how this would be handled. But it appears plain to me that the intent was to ensure that the land was used for public use. In the many years since, the court has rarely had to rule on compensation (The Supreme Court that is). However, they have spent ample time using the takings clause to determine whether public use is being served in the seizing of property.

      • Bama dad says:

        Actually if you look at old records, most land was taken for nothing, as there was a lot of land available. Not always the case but it was common. Don’t get the idea that I have studied a lot of the old records, as I have not; this was what was taught in professional development courses that I have taken thru the years and most of the instructors seemed to know their stuff. If the question showed up on a state exam, that is the one you give if you want to be correct. Alabama land records came after the 5th amendment.

  6. INHO, emminent domain should be repealed. It serves no purpose other than theft. I’m sure that there will be some good historical views coming out today, as to why it was thought to be needed. Despite the history, it’s another bad idea that can be, and has been misused. Emminent Domain serves as a direct contradiction to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”.



  7. Black Flag says:

    And yes, USWep – private property is a corner stone of freedom.

    It becomes clear to why all great thinkers about freedom insist on the immutable right of private property.

    The extent of the logic that a person is merely the person with right of interest in property is most easily extended to your own body. The government is the ‘owner’ – you only have an interest in your own self.

    Quickly, it becomes perfectly clear why the government tells what you may or may not do with your body, what you may or may not consume, when, how, and quantity. It can take your body and kill it at its whim and cause you to be in harms way to fight for it – why? Because it OWNS you.

    Isn’t it time to be free?

    • BF, just curious, what would you do if the government was to declare eminent domain on the property you currently occupy?

      Personally, I think that eminent domain is among the most gross examples of citizen abuse…

      • Black Flag says:

        I, personally, own no real estate. I am a renter. I’ll leave you to think about my motives about that for awhile……

        Hypothetically, then:

        Since I have no armor divisions nor army, I would be forced to avail myself of the futility of the court system.

        After that failed (see, I’m an optimist 😉 ) – I would scorch Earth – since I would view the seizure under the same light as an invasion by a foreign power. Like the Soviet Union, unable to resist the German armed force, I would deny the use of the property to the invaders. I would render the property completely useless, to the best humanly possible degree.

        • BF

          Didn’t see this until after I posted.

          But given the example you pose would you not put yourself at risk by commiting an act of aggression against the government. If you lost in court and then you ravaged the land to make it “completely useless” wouldn’t you be held in contempt at the least and/or possibly commited some form of larsony?

          • Black Flag says:

            How they see it is not in my control.

            It is my land to do with as I wish.

            I would not aggress against the government directly – I’d be killed (no different than a nation facing an overwhelming attack – discretion is the better part of valor – live to fight another day)

            But render it useless – up until the day it is no longer under my direct control – yep, I’d do everything I could – salt the Earth – make it as difficult and worthless as possible.

        • My wife told me I was a pessimist. I told her that, yes, I was. That way I ain’t never disappointed! 😈

        • I too would avail myself of the Scorched Earth Policy. If I can’t have it, No one can.

  8. Naten53 says:

    I will repost my coment from open mic

    The only time eminent domain is Necessary is in the case of public safety. I used to work for townships in Pennsylvania and know first had the vastly different views of eminent domain. Some of the townships would use it and give it to private development. Some townships would fight for their residents if the someone wanted to take their land.

    The only scenario that it served a purpose was for public roads. And I do not mean the times when the department of transportation just wants to put a new road right through the middle of your house, I mean the times when an intersection designed for traffic in 1950 is dangerous, has proven to be deadly, and the property owner refuses to give up land for safety reasons.

    The argument of ruining property value and increased traffic are not valid in this case because the residential property value is already lowered by the volume of traffic. And the traffic is already there.

    The biggest thing that I dislike that is comparable to eminent domain is annexing and rezoning.

    The one town near where I used to live annexed part of a township 20 years ago and rezoned it industrial. The town did this basically to get an industrial zone in their town away from their residents and to tax it. The grudge from the township still exists. They rezoned the area next to the cities residents industrial and try to piss of the town whenever they get the chance.

    Where I live now a member of the zoning board did spot rezoning in the neighborhood where he lived. The spot rezoning was to make multi-families into single families thus increasing the value of his house that he is trying to sell and screwing the people that have duplexes that they rent.

    • Black Flag says:

      By what right can you claim ‘for safety reason’ to steal my land?

      Close the road if it is too dangerous.

      The threat to all freedom is the weak justifications for theft.

      It’s just too easy to say “Ah, let’s steal the land – it’s too hard to work otherwise”.

      • Black Flag says:

        If you can justify one excuse to steal, you can justify any excuse to steal.

        It is plainly obvious why the E.D. is abused – it’s a simple escalation of justifications.

        • Naten53 says:

          Ethically, could you, or could you let someone, refuse to even negotiate a purchase of right of way to prevent people from dying on your land.

          I say your land because in most cases the state has a right of way on your land. In new developments the developers have gotten sneaky with how they sub divide new land. They create the deeds so that you do not own the public right of way and then since your property has less square feet your property taxes are less. In most cases the right of way is deeded to the state, township, or city and no taxes are collected. In some cases the right of way is never deeded to anyone and is still technically owned by the person whose property was sub divided. The really messed up part of this method is when it comes to sidewalks. In most places the zoning codes says you are responsible for maintaining the sidewalks in front of your house. The wording and legality is really important here because the developers are putting the sidewalks inside of the right of way, so therefore the people must maintain public property next to their private property.

          I have been told by my former boss, a professional licensed surveyor, that there have been attempts to sue private citizens over car accidents on a public right of way because they actually own the land.

          • Black Flag says:

            Ethically, could you, or could you let someone, refuse to even negotiate a purchase of right of way to prevent people from dying on your land.


            Because of an inability to find a solution that did not violate my rights is their inability or laziness and the demonstration of a lack of principles.

            The Universe offers infinite number of solutions – they simply want to use the easiest one – the pragmatic solution no matter what rights are trampled.

            Then some wonder why evil surrounds them everywhere.

    • Naten53 says:

      Another bad thing that I see happen is how the Department of Transportation does a poor job of letting people know about road work. In a lot of cases the state already owns a right of way that is wider than the road currently is. Then when they go to widen it, the state doesn’t need to buy any right of way. They send out their surveyors and stake out the right of way (not necessarily the location of the new edge of road but to show the workers how far off the road they can go) then you can not believe the amount of calls you get from people that have no idea that the state already owns the rights to their land.

      • Bama dad says:

        It is the property owner’s responsibility to know the limits of his land. Not to know the limits invites others (NOT THE GOVERNMENT) to steal your land.

        • Naten53 says:

          You would be surprised at the amount of people that do not know exactly* their property line. I do not but only closed on April 1st and haven’t scheduled a survey yet. There have been many cases at my old employer (there for two years) where people would pull out the marking stakes and move them. Even a case where someone threatened our surveyors and to finish our job there had to be a court order and a police escort because the neighbors were hostile towards each other.

          In Pennsylvania there is no requirement to have a survey when you sell a property. I have seen many people get swindled into believing they will get more land then there really is. Some counties have the tax parcels mapped online. The reason we bought our house without a survey (for now) was because we were able to identify all of the neighbors and rough estimate as to the location of the property line just from a satellite picture. Another house was making it seem like it had a huge back and side yard. The tax map showed that the side yard was actually an unopened town owned street, and the back yard was actually two lots that front on the unopened street that were owned by the neighbor.

          *surveyed and marked while they lived there and saw for themselves

          • Bama dad says:

            Natan53 said:

            “You would be surprised at the amount of people that do not know exactly their property line.”

            No as a Professional Surveyor I would not. I will make the statement that 85% of rural land owners do not know the limits or boundary of the property their deed says they own and what they think they own on the ground does not match what their deed says.

  9. Not only do you not really own your property, you are also forced to pay rent to the Government in the form of Property Tax just to stay on it.

    My land has been in my family for about the last 150 years. It was owned by my GR GR Grandfather and maybe even father back than that. So it’s disgusting to think that the Government can just walk up and say “Hand’s up! Sell me your Land at OUR set price or we’ll just condemn it and take it anyway!” If I’m not willing to sell; and I’m not, then they should take no for an answer; but they won’t.

    My property has great sentimental value for the above reason. Unfortunately the Government places no value on sentiment.

    The only time I have been involved with Imminent Domain was when my store building was sold to build a bypass around Cedartown. The Property owners were given a very generous price for their property and even the store owners were compensated generously for the cost of moving somewhere else. But that’s not the point. The point is that the property owners did not have the option NOT to sell. That was not a consideration.

    This was in NW Georgia. I don’t know how it works in other places. But it doesn’t matter anyway. I don’t agree with Government theft. Whether you are given a “fair” price or not. After all, who determines what is “fair”?

  10. Richmond Spitfire says:

    Good Morning all,

    I have a question about ED (no – not the Cialis type 😉 ) as related to “fair compensation”…

    Say I develop an engine that can run off Salt Water and I own the Patent on it. I get some offers from the various Car & Oil companies around the world – $8 Billion is the best offer received so far, but I’m holding out for $9 Billion. What if the US Government came in and said, we’ll give you $2 Billion for this under ED. And I say, well…my best offer is $8 Million, give me that and it belongs to you. The Gov’t says, “No”, $2 Billion and we are blocking your sale to XYZ based upon ED Laws…Is my only recourse to fight it out in Court and possibly lose $6 Billion + Court Expenses?


    • Black Flag says:

      Welcome to hell, RS.

      Oh – you’re in it already!

      Yes, that is exactly how it would work. In real life:

      Chrysler and GM have bond holders – Chrysler bond holders are owed about $16 billion.

      They were offered $6 billion in shares – which are in themselves essentially worthless after the ‘deal’. They refused.

      The government stepped in, forced bankruptcy, and handpicked a bankruptcy judge who would set aside the bond holders rights. The bond holders, who by law, have first right to Chrysler assets have been pushed out of the way by the government – who owned nothing.

      Bet you know why capital is leaking out of the USA. No one with any sense would lend money in the USA. Just when the USA desperately needs capital investment, the acts of government have shown that it is all at 100% risk.

      • The rest of the Chrysler story so far: Justice Ginsburg and the rest of the Supremo Court have blocked the sale of Chrysler to Fiat.

        • Danak13 says:

          Not quite blocked yet…but the full Supreme will most likely hear it before their break.

        • Ginsburg is going to listen to some Dealers complain. Are these dealers going to get their dealerships back if Chrysler doesn’t sell to Fiat? 😯

          • Danak13 says:

            No, probably not. But the bond holders are correct. They do come first and if it kills the sale to Fiat…so be it. Tough decision, but selling out to the unions and putting them above bond holders is worse than eminent domain…but, in retrospect..perhaps the same??? Taking ones property over another??? A stretch but what the hell…

          • Black Flag says:

            It’s not a tough decision.

            Bondholders win.

            Chrysler is bankrupt and its assets, first, need to pay back the bonds.

            What will happen….

            The court will side with the government. They recognize that the government can do whatever it pleases. Since this is a legal matter, and the government makes the law – in the end, what the government says, goes.

            Fiat wins. For no money they get 40% of the company.

          • Black Flag says:

            No, if Fiat does not participate Chrysler is history.

        • Richmond Spitfire says:

          Hi all,

          Take a quick break to laugh your @ss off…Related to nationalized car companies!


      • Bama dad says:

        BF said:

        “Yes, that is exactly how it would work. In real life:”

        False statement, BF I am surprised you are letting you emotions overcome your normal logic and reasoning.

        • Black Flag says:

          Sir, that is exactly how it works.

          Another case RIM.

          RIM used patents owned by another company and were sued for most of the value of RIM.

          The court sided with the suit holders. The US Government – the largest single user of Blackberry – then entered the fray due to the risk of bankruptcy of RIM (and the end of Blackberry)

          The government set aside the judge’s verdict and dictated the outcome. RIM paid a fraction of the suit and got 100% of the rights to the patents.

          • Bama dad says:

            What does this have to do with eminent domain? ❓

          • Black Flag says:

            As USWep said, eminent domain is more then merely real estate – it covers all property including patents, copyrights, contracts, etc.

            RIM example is the use of E.D. to set aside patent rights.

          • Alan F. says:

            Patents are a bad example of anything. Too many times they’ve issued idea patents with no practical application nor method of delivery YET established. I’ve seen the dirty side of the patent offices here in Canada, America and Japan. In far too many cases its nothing more than intellectual squatting.

      • A problem today is that ED, Property Rights, Contracts, and damn near everything else has come to mean whatever the Government says that it means. The Constitution has come to mean what the Government says it means. Everything has been twisted. Half the things the Government does these days is Unconstitutional.

        Chrysler and GM. The Government has thrown out legal and binding contracts and is strong-arming the bondholders into agreeing to their demands. With Obama calling the bondholders a bunch of thieves. Is this Constitutional? No! But it is being done anyway.

        The Government is making sure that no contract made with a big corporation or other entity will ever be legal and binding again. So what good will a contract be?

    • Bama dad says:

      RS said:

      “What if the US Government came in and said, we’ll give you $2 Billion for this under ED. And I say, well…my best offer is $8 Million, give me that and it belongs to you. The Gov’t says, “No”, $2 Billion and we are blocking your sale to XYZ based upon ED Laws…Is my only recourse to fight it out in Court and possibly lose $6 Billion + Court Expenses?”

      If you have a credible offer at $8 billion that is the minimum they must pay to you. But based on the current administration record with the law and car companies; good luck.

      Also in all the condemnation courts I have attended the condemning party paid the legal fees for both parties, don’t know if that is the law or not, as I am not an attorney.

  11. Black Flag says:

    JONATHON PORRITT, one of Gordon Brown’s leading green advisers, is to warn that Britain must drastically reduce its population if it is to build a sustainable society.

    UK population must fall to 30m, says Porritt


    Sorry for the aside – but a few had issues with the description that Environmentalists were anti-human.

    Now they’re in government preaching their mantra.

  12. Speaking as someone actually fighting eminent domain in federal court, I can confirm that there is much that is “flexible” about the taking of property rights under eminent domain.

    In Bedford County, Pennsylvania (about 2 hours from Washington), property owners are being hauled into federal court (Johnstown, PA) by Houston-based Spectra Energy, backed by the power of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

    The “public good” argument is that this is an underground natural gas storage site (bring gas from somewhere else for a fee, store it for a fee, then send it to the northeast via pipelines and charge another fee).

    What goes missing is that the landowners’ property is sitting on top of the gas-rich Marcellus Shale; but they can’t develop that because Spectra Energy is using the Oriskany sands layer (which lies just beneath the Marcellus) for its underground natural gas storage field.

    This site is said to be “critical,” but Pennsylvania has more underground natural gas storage sites than any other state in the continental US, according to the Dept. of Energy.

    Further, in one of its motions, Spectra Energy asked that the federal judge exclude evidence that would argue “economic loss to the landowner” based on the Marcellus Shale or other deposits for fear that the jury would be “confused, misled and distracted … waste time.” (From p. 7 of the motion: Case 3:08-cv-00154-KRG, Document 59).

    We have the distinction of being told by a Spectra energy VP that he has never seen this level of property owner resistance in 26 years with the gas industry.

    One of our goals is to share information with fellow property owners in North America who are involved in property rights issues. We are under no illusions — either on the upside or the downside in the fight for property rights. We understand where the vulnerabilities are on both sides.

    Our website has begun to draw inquiries from Massachusetts to Oklahoma from folks facing similar challenges.

    For info, our site includes a landowner video to put a face on the property rights movement and blog postings:

  13. Danak13 says:

    Great post, USW.

    Legalized theft of personal property is all that eminent domain is. I can empathize with public safety issues but where does that even stop. My family is in the ranching business in two areas. One in Texas and one in Oklahoma. There is a 26,000 acre cattle ranch in Oklahoma that the government tried to move in and declare eminent domain to build a “right of way” to be able to check on some endangered species in one of our natural stream beds. It took a lot of money and the courts to stop them and keep the bastards out.

    There is a 22,000 acre cattle ranch (actually a little spread by Texas standards)that was in the way of the Trans Texas thoroughfare from Mexico to Canada. Eminent domain was to be used to “acquire the land” for the highway system that would have been in addition to IH 35. Then it was going to be turned to a toll road. Since it was “ranch” land, they put a low…very low value on it. The government did not negotiate. We were only talking about 4 acres on a corner of our land but on others it would have been right through the middle. However, as some of you undoubtedly know, the land owners were successful in killing this for the time being. Call us backwoods but in Texas we fight hard and will continue the fight. We were not talking about interstate commerce here, we are talking about a Trabs Texas corridor that was going to be a frigging toll road…and not owned by the State of Texas, either. No, it was not going to be owned by the Bush family or anyone related. It was going to be foreign owned as that is where the money was coming from… But it was stopped so far.

    Taking someone’s land is just plain robbery and value should be no consideration. If it is family land with sentimental value then there is NO price and NO justification.

    Damn, I love this site.


    By the way…unrelated but it could be a trend to affect things like this..

    ALBANY, N.Y., June 9 (UPI) — New York state politics has been thrown into tumult by the defections of two senators to the Republican Party, analysts say.

    The surprise moves by the former Democrats, Pedro Espada Jr. of the Bronx and Hiram Monserrate of Queens, gave the GOP the majority in the state Senate with 32 seats and derailed the Democrats’ agenda with only two weeks left the legislative session in Albany, The New York Times reported.

    The pair’s defections threw power in the Senate back to the Republicans. New York Gov. David Paterson at a Monday news conference said the moves by the one-time Democrats were “an outrage,” declaring the Legislature had become a “dysfunctional wreck” and vowing, “I will not allow this,” although he acknowledged there was really nothing anyone could do.

    Hmmmm…why is it an outrage when Dems have this happen and not an outrage when Repubs do this?

    Could this be a trend that will affect things like eminent domain if this trend continues? Could it be that too much power is beginning to be recognized?


    • D13 – I think you and the other ranch owners have found a new niche…..road building! Beat them at the own game and put the toll road in yourself.

      • Danak13 says:


        Will pass that on to the family. I am not a rancher, myself, but am smart enough to hire the right people when the time comes and the mantle is passed but interesting thought…form a coalition of all the ranchers and property owners in the pathway…hmmmm.

  14. This is going to be one of those unanswerable questions. there are the exceptionists and the absolutists.

    Back to my NYC roots. In the 1980’s we had huge swaths of Brooklyn and the Bronx looking like Berlin in 1945, only difference was Berlin’s buildings exploded, ours imploded. There were a few ideas for development that actually made sense. there was this retired developer ID Robins who proposed the Neimiah project (check it out). part of the reason the areas died was because of lack of home ownership and excess rental units that no one, landlord or tenant really cared about, he proposed the demolition of abandoned property on entire blocks and the construction of single family row houses.

    Citing economy of scale, he proposed building $ 50,000 two to three bedroom brick houses with basements and expansion possibilities and no subsidies government contribution would be writing off the value of the tax foreclosed property that would be given to the developer to build on. Since the property had no value anyway, that was never an issue. Robbins figured he could net a $ 500 per house profit and save a fortune on construction because he remembered, when no one lese did, that the sewers, electric , water and gas lines were already in place.

    Well, miracle of miracles, it actually happened. Thereis a whole book in that story. After 2,000 units or so, they ran into blocks that wree not totally vacant. There were maybe one or two houses left on the block. Robbins wanted NYC to use eminent domain and it did. I was familiar with some of those blocks. We were not talking sweet homesteads here but crack houses. So, several hundred more houses got built.

    While all this was going on, our normal NYC developers got antsy. These guys had been bringing in $ 80,000 to $ 90,000 rehabs in City owned vacant apartment buildings with full federal rent subsidies. Robbins was making them look very bad. So, NYC politicians, developers and left wing idealogues all created an unholy alliance using opposition to eminent domain as a rallying cry. Within a year the program was dead. Former friends turned against it. Crack houses were elevated to the status of architectural monuments. Robbins finally, at age 80 or so, really retired. A few years later, after a reasonable interlude, those very same developers who did not like eminent domain, at least for Neimiah, suddenly decided they liked it when they started building 150,000 apartments on the sites.

    The above story represents something I thought worthwhile at the time and woudldprobably still support today. I am sure that there are many out there who would disagree but I am not an absolutist and believe that (rarely) extraordinary problems call for extraordinary solutions on a one time only basis with careful scrutiny.

    • Sorry, that should have read $ 150,000 apartments on the sites in paragraph 5. We wish somebody would have brought in 150,000 apartments in those days.

  15. Eminent domain is something most people think is okay until it is happening to them or their family land. I really can not think of a reason for a government to be allowed to steal someone’s property. I was living around the Fresno area in 2003 when I was in the service. This was occuring then, farmers where being pressured into selling parts of their land for “public good” to make more houses. The farmers had fought it, and a judge said that the government only had to pay what they had paid for the land when they first bought it. Which was much lower then the present price. TERRIBLE! If you own property it should never be forced from your hands by the government.

  16. nrbeecher says:

    My biggest problem with the eminent domain argument in this case is that they are offering “fair market value” for the land. The problem is that in our current economic crisis, “fair market value” has a different amount than when the jet crashed. I am all for a memorial but why not scale it back and use what land they already have. Why does it have to be so big!

    • Amazed1 says:

      In away I might could understand the feelings of the families wanting something big and nice to honor their loved ones….but I wonder how the loved ones would have felt. Me personally would not be happy about my family taking property to build me some kind of srine. I believe even if the land owners did sell it is a flagrant waste of good money. Those people who died in that attack could be better honored than a srine. Alot more people died in the twin towers and it did not take 2200 acres to honor them. Maybe a school or Library would be alot better honor.

  17. Naten53 says:

    Commenting about the Flight 93 memorial I do not know of the article where I found it, might have been an editorial in the newspaper, but I did read that there is speculation that the reason they want the memorial to be so large is to keep commercial businesses as far away and out of sight as possible as a tribute to the memory of the people.

    I also know that where I grew up there was a highly disputed eminent domain case on the battlefield of Gettysburg.

    The National Park Service did not like the “Gettysburg National Tower” that was by far the highest object in the town and towered over the battlefield. A law passed in 1990 claimed the lands as part of the park and in June 2000 a federal judge gave park officials permission to seize the tower with $3 million given as compensation to the owners. Many speculated that since it was privately owned the park didn’t like it because it drew away business from licensed tours that have to pay the park.

    The park service continues to acquire property (not sure if purchased or eminent domain) and tear it down to “preserve the battlefield”

    On June 7, 1894, the U.S. Congress passed a law championed by Dan Sickles that gave the War Department the power to condemn land at Gettysburg so that it could be preserved… Some large sections of the 1863 battlefield are not part of the Gettysburg National Military Park (predominantly Confederate positions), and many of these have been lost to modern development, including much of the area surrounding Cemetery Hill. Within the boundaries of the park itself, there are small pockets still in private hands. Scenic easements occasionally are negotiated with land owners, trading tax reductions for preservation.

    The real is that the entire town is in the battlefield. So in theory since the laws have already passed they can just keep taking and taking.

    The articles I quoted are

  18. Good Morning to all and I hope everyone out there gets to tune into the last game of the NHL Stanley Cup Championship tonight and watch our beloved Red Wings kick the snot out of Pittsburg.

    I am sure I will get a rise out of some of you.

    For the last several years (FDR forward) government representatives have been qualifying verbage in the Constitution as they see fit to justify or support their bias desires. We have seen that for some time now with their word manipulation of the 2nd Ammendment. A lot of effort has been put into the legal and formal inturpitation of the Constitution’s meaning. As a matter of fact government today takes great care in word smithing all that is written and spoken. It has become an industry in its ownself. I am frustraited, but fascinated by the eloquent speak of polititions who opine on and on, but never say anything of value.

    Eminent Domain is another tool taken from the Constitution to combat the effort, and further strip the people of their liberties.

    It is not ethical as it is currently being played out, but then nothing this current regime has enacted has been ethical in the eyes of Lady Liberty.

    Given BF’s take on things I would be very interested to hear how he would deal with the circumstance if he was a land owner and the government pursued eminent domain against him.
    Would you let them pay you and move again?

    I don’t believe that the Founding Fathers intended the Constitution and/or Bill of Rights to be used as a re-inforcing tool/law to violate individual freedoms.

    Go Wings!

  19. You know, gotta say, I’m totally with BF here.

    Also, I have visited the site at Shanksville and honestly, sometimes when they make things so big and massive it takes away from the very thing you are trying to honor. The very simple remembrance there now is quite moving. I understand paving some roads, etc., but how many acres do they want and how much money? Bandits.

  20. Danak13 says:

    Not relevant for ED discussions…..but interesting article on the use of power..


  21. Black Flag says:

    I know of a city where a skyscraper tower was planned – and an old lady refused to sell her small house right in the middle of their plan.

    They built around and over top. She lived there until she died and her heirs sold out. However, it had become such a tourist attraction, the tower owners left it there, repaired it, and made it a specialty shop.

  22. Bama dad says:

    Good morning all:

    Well this is a tough topic to discuss as we have all been affected by eminent domain. When you got up this morning and turned on the lights, it was because of eminent domain that you were able to do so. If you are on a public water system and took a shower, it is because of eminent domain that you were able to do so. If you are on a public sewer system and flushed the toilet, it is because of eminent domain that you were able to do so. When you got in your car to drive to work, it was because of eminent domain that you were able to do so. When you stopped at the gas station and filled up your car, it was because of eminent domain that you were able to do so. When you caught a flight to fly across the country, it was because of eminent domain that you were able to. I could go on and on and on about some of the benefits we all share from eminent domain but why waste the space and time.
    Now before anyone jumps on me and beats me about the head and body, I will say that the use of eminent domain has been abused severely in the last few years. The people and states have seen this abuse and that is why 34 states have enacted laws to limit this power. Nuff said there. To understand eminent domain one has to look at its history and how it was defined in 1783. I will try to cover a little of the history later on in the day.
    All I ask is be gentle while you are pounding on me. 😆

    • Black Flag says:

      Certainly I can point to my Ferrari, beautiful house, my jet and all my jewelery as the wonderful and delightful consequence of stealing and killing.

      Therefore killing and stealing is a good thing – too bad lately it’s gotten such a bad rap.

      • Bama dad says:

        What a rant. Guess I’m going to have to lower that pedestal I had you on.

        • Black Flag says:

          It is no rant.

          Anyone can justify their means by the claim the end was worth it.

          Remember the ol’ “Ends justifies the means” argument?

          That is your offering. I shortened your version for readability 😉

    • Amazed1 says:

      Most of the things you mention here can be handled in the government owned right of way. If they already own 40′ on each side of the road why is it necessary to take what someone is not willing to sell? Just because I decied to allow someone right of way does not mean everyone else has to. But the key word is “give” not “take”. Reminds me of a Bill Cosby skit where everyone is holloring at the guy behind him to “go around, idiot, go around”. I think since water, sewer, gas and water are paid for by use and they are there for ever then I am sure the utilities get their money back….just takes alittle longer. Roads are probably a different story.

  23. Black Flag says:

    “Do not do an immoral thing for moral reasons.”

  24. I think eminent domain is a necessary evil in our society. To get rid of it all together would paralyze the government (which many here would like to do!) and society and our economy. But the use of eminent domain does need to be reduced to projects that are ‘government’ in nature – roads, utilities, etc – and not just economical development.

    And no, I don’t know who gets to decide… 😉

    The small city where I work is divided by a river. There are 3 bridges across the river. One was updated to 4 lanes about 30 years ago (before my time), including the roads leading to the bridge. The horror stories still abound about people being forced out of their homes, etc.

    The second bridge was updated to 4 lanes 5 years ago, but the process was started 15 years ago. The city spend 10 years buying houses as owners agreed to sell, and given 10 years ‘notice’ and knowing that they had a willing buyer, all owners sold and moved. The city made slightly above fair market value offers, so everyone was happy.

    They’re now 5 years into the process on the third bridge, and almost everyone is ready to sell, because they all knew it would be coming sometime. The city doesn’t have enough money in each year’s budget to buy all the properties. Rumor is one developer is buying houses cheap with the hope of selling to the city at a profit…

    I suppose eminent domain was always hanging over the head of the property owners, but there have been no screaming matches at city counsel meetings, lawsuits, etc, with the second and third bridges. With good planning, the impact of eminent domain can be reduced, but without eminent domain, one property owner could have stopped any of these projects.

    • Black Flag says:

      No evil is necessary – that is always sign that someone has chosen to be lazy and simply select theft as the way to obtain a service or good.

    • Amazed1 says:

      Utilities are not government in nature…..they are there to make a profit and are therefore a business….even if owned by a local government.

  25. Black Flag says:

    E.D. was the transition moment when my wife finally ‘got it’.

    Any justification to inflict violence upon non-violent people will justify all violence.

    There is no “except in this case” scenario that will not lead to tyranny.

  26. Bama dad says:

    History 101

    As USW said US land law is based on English common law. For 700 years prior to the treaty of 1783 that ended the war between the 13 Colonies and Great Briton title to land was the exclusive right of the crown. The crown held allodial title (absolute title or ownership) to all property. The crown could grant rights (very important phase) to vassals or groups of people to certain lands, but the crown still held the title. This is an important concept to understand because this was a 700+ year tradition on how land ownership was viewed by the colonist. With the signing of the treaty of the 1783 the crown relinquished all claim to property in the Americas. Title to all property outside of the 13 Colonies became public property or public domain. The public then became the allodial or sovereign title holder to this property. NOW HERE IS WHERE WE MESSED UP. The public delegated their sovereign powers to the representatives in the government because they are supposed to “represent the people”. After the war the 13 Colonies were deeply in debt and had no source of income but they sure had a lot of land. The land act of 1785 set up a way to survey and disposes of public lands to private citizens. Remember people at that time were used to owning rights to land because the sovereign owned the land outright and who was the sovereign at that time? The people!!!! So collectively the people did not want to give up their collective property ownership. So the government went about selling “rights” to property. This was how the government set it up and sold it. With the beginning link of the chain of title (legal term) being property rights, sales between private parties conveyed the same rights as the government sold. So folks how does it feel to be the collective (allodial) owner to all private property outside of the 13 Colonies, brings a new meaning to eminent domain does it not. Eminent domain does not take property just property rights.

    Let me say I have condensed a lot of material here and folks can find exceptions to the things I have said above. Books have been written about this. 😎

    • Black Flag says:

      Quite interesting.

      • Black Flag says:

        So, this simplification:

        If a group of people combine their allodial land and ‘rented’ the right of the use of land – within terms – and then exercised those terms based on contract – they could do that, right?

        • That might be better for some, if it’s only land involved. More profitable over the long term.

        • Bama dad says:


          That is a legal question and I just don’t know.

        • Bama dad says:


          After thinking about it I don’t think you can tear out a group from the collective (allodial) owner and have any rights. ????????

          • Black Flag says:

            I think you can tear out a group and claim allodial rights – but I am of the mind that if you are part of a group you have no property rights.

          • Black Flag says:

            You’ve definitely got this good ol’boy a’thinkin’!!!

    • USWeapon says:

      Thanks for sharing this information BD. Very interesting and it does not conflict with what I know to be true of the history on this subject. I appreciate you bringing it forward for the rest of us to read!

    • Danak13 says:

      B.D. Now ya done it…..making me think like this, however, I am calling the attorney’s that represented us in our fights (if you read my post, I think we won on something like this in Oklahoma because our ranch is in the old Indian Nations and there was something having to do with a treaty) and see what they have to say about this. What grand information….thanks.

      • bama dad says:

        We have some Creek Indian treaty lands in south Alabama and those folks get to do their own thing down there. They are their own nation in south Alabama.

  27. The biggest scandal is that the Park Service is condemning the Flight 93 land for an unconstitutional purpose: to build a terrorist memorial mosque.

    When the Crescent of Embrace design was first revealed to be a giant Islamic-shaped crescent back in 2005, it caused such a national uproar that the Park Service had to promise that it would remove the Islamic symbol shapes, but it never did. They call it a broken circle now, but the breaks are in the exact same places as before. The unbroken part of the circle, what symbolically remains standing in the wake of 9/11, is still a giant Islamic shaped crescent.

    That giant crescent points to Mecca. A crescent that Muslims face into to face Mecca is called a mihrab, and is the central feature around which every mosque is built. (Some mihrabs are pointed arch shaped, but the archetypical mihrab is crescent shaped).

    The design also includes numerous other mosque features, like the minaret-like Tower of Voices with an Islamic shaped crescent at the top that turns out to be a year-round accurate Islamic prayer time sundial. The planned memorial is actually a terrorist memorial mosque. Proof of the simple geometric facts here.

    I have been working with Tom Burnett Sr. (father of Flight 93 hero Tom Jr.) to stop this abomination. Please sign our petition. Mr. Burnett’s televised appeal to the American people to please help him stop the crescent design here.

  28. Bama dad says:

    History 102
    Public transportation

    After 1785, with the selling of public land rights to private parties, the government understood the need for the transportation of people and good in the opened lands. As there were no roads in the opened lands and goods were already being shipped by water, the government retained title rights to all navigable water ways (later as states were formed they transferred the title rights to the states). Ground transportation was along Indian trails or roads built by settlers along the path of least resistance. Generally no right of ways were purchased as the road building was a private affair at this time. The governments roll during this period was with waterways and canals. In the late 1700s and early 1800s the government was involved with the building of canals and used eminent domain to take property for this construction. I have seen many people on this sight say “build it around me” well it is hard to get water to run up hill, so moving the canal was not an option. The next big mover of goods and people was the railroad; well the railroad had design limitations on it. It had to go where the land was fairly flat (a lot of railways run parallel to creeks ever wonder why) and it was limited on what kind of curves it would go around. (kind of hard to bend that solid axle under the car) That kind of restricts where you can build that puppy does it not. Before we leave the 1800s we need to jump back to the roads and trails we talked about above. As more and more people came into the public lands they too traveled along the trails and private roads and even added to them. As the public used them they slowly became prescriptive (legal term) right of ways to where the property owner could not close them off (and there is no compensation there). The owner lost some of his rights to that land being used by the general public (there’s that darn rights to property again). Listen up folks, if you own land now; be aware you can lose rights by allowing someone to continue to cross your property. That is why businesses and churches close off their parking lots one day a year; they are asserting and announcing their ownership to the world. If you find yourself on a back road that is curvy and hilly you are probably on a road that has a prescriptive right of way where no one was ever paid a dime of compensation. In my neck of the woods probably 25% of the roads are prescriptive right of ways. Well let’s talk a little about highways that we use today, again folks say go around me if I don’t want to sell. Well if we went around every piece of property that the owner did not want to sell, we would not need a car, a bicycle would do as we could never travel faster than 10 miles an hour. A 1 mile trip as the crow flies would be a 10 mile merry go round. A highway that has a speed limit of 70 miles and hour has design limitations on how sharp a curve can be and how steep a grade can be. Its all about what you want.

    The above is just thoughts off the top of my head based on books I have read and classes I have taken through the years. Take it for what ever its worth. Ahh!!!! 40 more minutes and I am homeward bound. 😎

    • BD, Long ago, in galaxy far, far away…. Oh wait a minute. A long time ago my Granddaddy gave an easement to someone to give access to their landlocked piece of property behind him. We always knew it was an easement but apparently the County forgot. Later, after Grandaddy died, my brother got possession of that piece of land.

      First he tried to close the road with a gate. He was told that he couldn’t do that because it was a County Road. Then, he tried to get the County to fix the road because his driveway is on it. They wouldn’t do that either because they said there wasn’t enough traffic to justify the expense. No Sh!t Sherlock!! was his reply to that because it was an easement. No, you’re wrong he was told, and it’s not a gonna be fixed either.

      Then he tried to get the other landowner behind him to condemn the road so that a gate could be put up. Someone who owns no land whatsoever on the road objected and so he can’t even do that. The law says only 1 need object and the road can’t be closed.

      So now, he has a driveway on a road so bad that you can’t get down it without a four wheel drive. The County won’t fix it because the only folks that go down it are him and folks tresspassing on the land behind him. (an Arab from Marietta owns it) He can’t close it because the County won’t let him do that either.

      He has argued with the County for years about the road with no success. The County just took possession of the road sometime without my Grandaddy or family knowing anything about it. They didn’t use ID or anything else. They just claimed it without telling anyone. The first we knew was when we saw it had a name on a County map.

    • Amazed1 says:

      There were alot of lakes built on ED.

  29. Black Flag says:

    Just ‘following procedure’
    Tuesday, June 9, 2009

    That’s the excuse a police officer in Ohio gave after he shot and killed a family’s … Chihuahua .

    A family from Blue Ash, Ohio is outraged after finding out the police shot and killed

    When arguments are raised that government is “us” – it is this thing I bring to their attention.

    The government is not “us” – it is mindless organism of violence – unable to think for themselves on the periphery.

  30. bama dad says:

    JUST IN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Turn out the lights the parties all over. The Supreme Court just ruled that Chrysler can be sold to Fiat. Bend over bond holders, you just got screwed. Welcome to socialism.

    • Black Flag says:


      BF calls it again!!! What a streak! 😆

      Well, at least I know my fascism!

    • Black Flag says:

      On the bright side, personally, my car will keep its warranty for another 3 years 😆

      Who says crime doesn’t pay!

    • Chris Devine says:

      Explain to me how selling a company to another company is socialism.

      • Black Flag says:

        I didn’t say socialism – I said fascism.

        1) Fiat didn’t buy it. They paid nothing. They will run it, and share in the profits (if any). If it takes a loss, Fiat walks. 0% risk deal.

        2) Government overruled law by setting aside the bondholders rights – that is fascism.

        3) Government, by force, redistributed the shareholding on its whim – that is fascism.

        • Chris Devine says:

          I wasn’t talking to you. I was replying to Bama Dad.

          • Black Flag says:

            Ah! –

            I think I’m going start to be more disciplined myself to include the name of the respondent I’m addressing.

        • BF…you forgot one thing. If it does not profit, the UAW still gets more money from the gov’t. No one, in their right mind, will now invest on the bond drives. Chrysler is dead.

      • It becomes socialism when the gov’t vacates on position over another…ie…secured creditors got screwed…UAW got rewarded for favors in the election. It has nothing to do with selling one company to another..it has everything to do with the elimination of secured creditors over non secured for political favor. Robin Hood. End result…no more buying of bonds for me.

        • Oops…your terminology is correct…I was mistaken…not socialism. Same result though.


    • Black Flag says:

      Don’t worry, Goldie, that won’t happen.

      The only way the USA can lose sovereignty over its territory is by treaty – and all treaties need Congress to ratify – or by conquest.

      The US government could sell property rights, but China would be no different, legally, then you buying land.

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