Topic: Eminent Domain
Dallas, Texas—The author and publisher of Bulldozed: “Kelo,” Eminent Domain, and the American Lust for Land today asked a Dallas state court to dismiss the defamation lawsuit filed against them by Dallas developer H. Walker Royall. Published in 2007, Bulldozed chronicles events in Freeport, Texas, where Royall signed a development agreement to have the city take land owned by Western Seafood—a generations-old shrimping business—and give that land to Royall’s development company for a luxury yacht marina. Royall sued the book’s author, Carla Main, and its publisher, Encounter Books, in October 2008, seeking monetary damages and a permanent prohibition on further printing or distribution of the book.
Royall’s lawsuit is part of a national trend. Similar suits have been filed in Tennessee, Missouri, Washington and elsewhere by developers and government officials looking to silence critics of eminent domain for private gain. Earlier, when the Gore family—owners of Western Seafood and the original victims of Royall’s eminent domain abuse effort in Freeport—complained against Royall’s actions, he sued them for defamation. In the present lawsuit, Royall has also sued the Galveston newspaper that reviewed the book, along with the book reviewer. Law Professor Richard Epstein, whom Royall also sued, was dismissed from the lawsuit in March. «Read the rest of this article»
Court dismisses lawsuit filed to silence those who oppose eminent domain abuse
ARLINGTON, VA: Evidently you can fight city hall—and fight private developers who use city hall’s power, too.
In an order issued on March 26, 2009, Judge C.L. “Buck” Rogers of the Circuit Court for Sumner County, Tenn., vindicated the right to protest government abuse by dismissing the libel lawsuit brought by Richard Swift, a developer who is a former member of the Clarksville City Council, and Wayne Wilkinson, a member of Clarksville’s Downtown District Partnership, against members of the Clarksville Property Rights Coalition (CPRC). «Read the rest of this article»
Senate State and Local Government Committee approves election integrity bill and legislation honoring Republican Majority on State Election Commission
NASHVILLE, TN: Legislation protecting the integrity of elections in Tennessee overcame its first hurdle towards passage this week with approval by the Senate State and Local Government Committee. The bill requires voters to provide photo identification to guard against fraud and assure only U.S. citizens vote.
“Unfortunately, we know that voter fraud exists and that there are people who try to be dishonest in an election,” said Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro), Chairman of the Committee and sponsor of the bill. “This bill aims to curtail such abuse by making sure those persons voting are who they say they are.” «Read the rest of this article»
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Center for Policy Research today announced that Clarksville City Councilman Richard Swift and Wayne Wilkinson, a member of Clarksville’s Downtown District Partnership, are the recipients of the “2008 Lump of Coal Award.”
The Tennessee Center for Policy Research awards this dubious distinction annually to the person or group in Tennessee who, more than any other over the past year, acted as a Grinch to Tennesseans by bah-humbugging the principles of liberty and limited government.
Swift and Wilkinson receive the fourth annual badge of disgrace for leading efforts to take the homes and businesses of Clarksville residents through eminent domain for a private redevelopment scheme that would line their own pockets.
When a group of citizens criticized Swift and Wilkinson for their attack against private property and their conflicts of interest, the shameless duo assaulted the Clarksville residents’ First Amendment rights by filing a frivolous lawsuit attempting to silence the criticism. «Read the rest of this article»
Targets include book author, publisher, law professor Richard Epstein and newspapers that published book review. The eminent domain and redevelopment issues in this case, all of which have roots in the precedent setting Supreme Court Kelo vs City of New London (CT) mirror issues that have arisen in Clarksville in the past 15 months, including a libel lawsuit against the grassroots Clarksville Property Rights Coalition.
Royall worked with the city of Freeport, Texas, to try to condemn a generations-old shrimp business owned by the Gore family to make way for a luxury marina. The project became the subject of the book, Bulldozed: ‘Kelo,’ Eminent Domain, and the American Lust for Land, authored by veteran legal journalist Carla Main. «Read the rest of this article»
“Sued for a half million dollars for speaking out…”
“This ordinance is detrimental to the community…”
“The City Council ‘rubber stamped’ the mayor…”
“I don’t think they have a plan…”
“Our Leadership doesn’t want to listen to us….”
“CHA is a shadow, not a voice…”
“Preying on minority communities…”
“I’ve never been to a public forum where the public couldn’t speak…”
This is what representatives from the United States Department of Justice, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Institute for Justice heard when they came to Clarksville Thursday to listen to community concerns about the about the city’s controversial redevelopment plans. Seventy people participated in a fact-finding meeting at the New Providence Community Center on Oak Street sponsored by the NAACP and the Urban Resource Center.
Walter Atkinson, Senior Conciliation Specialist with the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service (Southeast Region IV), in stating that the meeting was “to hear community concerns,” said his role was in part to try and avert “litigation.”
“I am here to listen and observe,” Atkinson said, noting that it was letters from NAACP Chapter President Jimmie Garland and Terry McMoore of the Urban Resource Center that focused federal attention on this local issue. Atkinson had been “in communication” with Mayor Johnny Piper and with the Downtown District Partnership Board. Piper, DDP members and most sitting City Councilors did not attend this meeting. Jim Doyle, who was not re-elected to his Ward 8 seat, along with newly elected councilors Candy Johnson, David Allen and Jeff Burkhart did attend the meeting and spoke with the Ward 6 constituency. «Read the rest of this article»
The U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will host a fact finding meeting on November 20 at 7 p.m. at the New Providence Outreach Center, 207 Oak Street, in Clarksville.According to Terry McMoore of the Urban Resource Center, this is a precursor to a larger public forum on downtown redevelopment issues.
The original Community Town Hall Meeting format was discarded in favor of this new agenda. Elected officials, community leaders and civic organizations have been invited to attend. The meeting is also open to interested members of the public. «Read the rest of this article»
Mayor Johnny Piper and the Downtown District Partnership will be going it alone when it comes to downtown development.
Montgomery County mayor Carolyn Bowers, in letters sent to Piper and DDP chair Scott Giles, said the county will not participate in the controversial Clarksville Center Redevelopment Plan, which had been dubbed “the blight bill.” The proposed plan which was approved by the City Council earlier this year had been strongly opposed by the Clarksville Property Owners Coalition, a grassroots group that has challenged the legality of the program and process of eminent domain and an assemblage clause. The redevelopment plan would offer tax increment financing for certain property developments. «Read the rest of this article»
Successful Main Streets and Downtown Districts have a transportation hub at their core, in other words, mass transit. Something to bring people directly into the downtown area for jobs, shopping, city business, arts centers and museums. They don’t shift to the outskirts and out of sight. If they must send the primary station to the outskirts, they run free shuttles to key downtown sites (a perfect use for old fashioned trolley-style buses).
Progressive cities also don’t have car dealerships and acres of single-level church parking lots at their core. They make certain that ample handicapped accessible parking slots are available on every downtown street, that parking (garages) are both plentiful and convenient for all citizens. «Read the rest of this article»
Ford keeps her building and gets more land; conflict settled through private negotiation, not government force
Arlington, Va.— Eminent domain will not be used against Nashville music entrepreneur Joy Ford in a hotly contested battle about the abuse of government for a developer’s private gain. In an agreement signed Tuesday night, September 30, Ford, who has fought eminent domain since June of this year, keeps both her building and obtains more land adjacent to her building along Nashville’s storied Music Row while agreeing to give up land behind her office.
“This agreement is a magnificent victory for Joy Ford and all Tennessee home and small business owners,” said Scott Bullock, senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, which represented Ford and fights eminent domain abuse nationwide. “By challenging eminent domain abuse, Joy Ford obtained a landmark agreement where she keeps her building and gets more and better land next to it.” «Read the rest of this article»
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