Monday, April 15, 2013

Markets and Enviroments: Government power.
Eminent Domain

By James Gray

Everyone growing up dreams of owning there own house set out on there own piece of land, cause that’s what the American dream is all about. Only there is one thing that can stand in your way, Eminent Domain. Eminent Domain: broadly understood as the power of the state to seize private property without the owner's consent. To exercise the power of eminent domain, the government must prove that the four elements are present: (1) private property (2) must be taken (3) for public use (4) and with just compensation. We will discuss the effect that eminent domain has on us as individuals and also on a whole city.

There are several benefits that come to a community in the form of eminent domain, without it we would most likely not have some of our highways, public transportation, schools and new developments. These things bring many jobs to our community and support us economically. One major project that I can think of that is coming to California and will effect the city of Fresno for sure is The High Speed Railroad. This project will be enforcing eminent domain to its fullest, having to buy out people’s homes, farmlands, and business just to build this rail. Yes this can be seen as a negative to the community, but the jobs and the revenue brought to the city in the long run will be very substantial.

One negative effect that eminent domain has on us as individuals is that it doesn’t really ever give us that true freedom of owning our own piece of land. There is always that worry in the back of your head that the government can come in and take over what you thought was yours for there own doing. To go a long with that, who is to say what “just compensation” truly, is? The land could only really be worth so much but maybe it was handed down through generation of your family, built by your great-great grandfather. Just because the land has a marked value doesn’t mean it’s that important to the person who owns it. So in the end the government really owns all the property no matter whose name is on it. One case of this is just in our backyard. According to an article in the Clovis Independent, Fresno seeks eminent domain for land at Willow, Nees avenues. The owner is in total agreement of the project that would be going in, he disagrees with the City's $253,000 offer of compensation. The owner has his own appraiser who values the land at $340,000. The acquisition area involves the owner's fruit trees, lawn, driveway, and other amenities. The owner also see the future of the land being used as a commercial lot and sees the value at much greater than the city does.

If everything was fine and dandy, eminent wouldn’t need to be in existence the owner and the government would be able to see eye to eye. Since that isn’t the case what we have is a battle between two “business people” trying to get what they presume is the just compensation for what they believe should be theirs.

Works Cited
"California Eminent Domain Report : A Blog following Condemnation, Inverse Condemnation, and Regulatory Takings Written by Attorneys with Nossaman LLP." Fresno : California Eminent Domain Report. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2013.
"Fresno - Bakersfield." California High-Speed Rail Authority. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2013.
"What Is Eminent Domain?" What Is Eminent Domain? N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2013.

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