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Topic: Blight

Activists win free speech fight in Clarksville

March 30, 2009 | Print This Post


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.


A CPRC member displays the controversial ad on blight and eminent domain

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»

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HUD approves $731m for neighborhood stabilization

March 21, 2009 | Print This Post


Funding aimed at neighborhoods hard-hit by foreclosure

2009 Budget Summary.inddWASHINGTON – U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan today approved nearly $731 million in funding for 48 States and local communities seeking to recover from the effects of high foreclosures and declining home values. Funded under HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), these plans will target emergency assistance to particular neighborhoods by acquiring and redeveloping foreclosed properties that might otherwise become sources of abandonment and blight (see attached chart).

The neighborhood stabilization plans approved today include a $145 million plan submitted by the State of California, a program President Barack Obama recognized during a town hall meeting today in Los Angeles. «Read the rest of this article»

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TCPR’s “Lump of Coal” award goes to “Slap Suit” filers Swift, Wilkinson

December 24, 2008 | Print This Post


lump-of-coalNASHVILLE – 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.”

opinion-081The 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.


Joyce Vanderbilt, owner of Kelly's on Riverside Drive, displays the controversial ad that resulted in a libel suit against the CPRC.

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»

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Texas developer files lawsuits to bulldoze Freedom of the Press

December 12, 2008 | Print This Post


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.

bulldozed-coverDallas, Texas: In perhaps the most striking example of a disturbing national trend, Dallas developer H. Walker Royall has launched a lawsuit spree to silence any media or public affairs commentator who dares expose his attempted abuse of eminent domain.  Similar suits have been filed in Tennessee, Missouri and elsewhere by developers and governments looking to silence critics of eminent domain for private gain.

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»

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Conflicts of interest erode trust in city government

By | November 24, 2008 | Print This Post


Conflicts of interest exist when people in positions of trust, such as politicians, have competing personal interests which make it difficult to fulfill their duties impartially.

As our city government, comprised of the mayor and city council, routinely rule on issues affecting realtors, builders, developers, and building material suppliers, people in those disciplines should not serve in city government. Since active realtors, builders, and developers are entrenched in elected local offices, we have bad laws which enrich them at the expense of the voters who elected them and all taxpayers and residents.

Christina Walsh of the Castle Coalition, of which I am a member, wrote recently about Clarksville, “Clearly, the confluence of bad law and politically connected developers here does not bode well for the citizens of Clarksville, who have been virtually abandoned by the very political officials they elected to represent their best interests. Local governments very often disguise their intentions of transferring perfectly fine properties to private developers, declaring so-called ‘blight removal,’ ‘urban renewal,’ or ’slum clearance’ as the justification for eminent domain. They hide behind this ‘public use’ concept in their quest to acquire property for the private use of developers.” «Read the rest of this article»

Sections: News, Opinion | 3 Comments


Justice Department, HUD, hear citizen concerns on development, urban renewal

November 21, 2008 | Print This Post


CPRC member Don Sharpe speaks out against redevelopment at "fact-finding" community meeting

“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»

Sections: News | 3 Comments


Justice Department, HUD hold “fact finding’ meeting tonight on downtown redevelopment

November 20, 2008 | Print This Post


The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will host a fact finding meeting tonight on the controversial downtown redevelopment plan, dubbed “the blight bill,” including its eminent domain and assemblage issues. The meeting will be held at the New Providence Outreach Center, 207 Oak Street, in Clarksville at 7:00 p.m.

The redevelopment plan was first brought to the attention of federal officials this summer, when local NAACP President Jimmie Garland submitted some concerns to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The plan as it was passed contained language that effectively “blighted” the entire downtown business district — two square miles. «Read the rest of this article»

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Justice Department, HUD to hold “fact finding” session on redevelopment issues

November 12, 2008 | Print This Post


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»

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County leaders opt out of downtown development plans

November 4, 2008 | Print This Post


Mayor Johnny Piper and the Downtown District Partnership will be going it alone when it comes to downtown development.

County Mayor Bowers, center, opens ad hoc cmte meeting with concerned minority citizens

County Mayor Bowers, center, in anad hoc meeting with concerned minority citizens (CO archive photo)

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»

Sections: News | 1 Comment »


African American leaders to meet with Montgomery County Mayor, Redevelopment Plan Review Committee Members

August 31, 2008 | Print This Post


A group of concerned leaders from the African American community in Clarksville will meet with Montgomery County Mayor Carolyn Bowers and County Commissioners on September 3 at the Old Courthouse Building, 1 Millennium Plaza (2nd & Commerce), in downtown Clarksville, at 4:00 p.m.  Commissioners Mark Banasiak, Ron Sokol and Martha Brockman, the ad hoc subcommittee members reviewing the controversial Clarksville Center Redevelopment and Urban Renewal Plan, will participate in the meeting.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in response to a complaint filed by the Clarksville NAACP found numerous flaws in the Clarksville Center Redevelopment and Urban Renewal Plan voted into law by the City Council with full support of City of Clarksville Mayor Johnny Piper. «Read the rest of this article»

Sections: Business, Events, News, Politics | 1 Comment »

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