Sunday, February 01, 2009

"After 8 years of Rick Perry's rule as Governor, Texans should have learned an important lesson...."

The Ongoing Rebirth of Eminent Domain: Is the Emperor Wearing His New Clothes?


Peter Stern
Waxahachie Daily Blog
Copyright 2009

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is "chomping at the bit" again. It is a new legislative session and the first thing the governor wants to do is to stir-up old business. The topic is "Eminent Domain".

You may ask, "Why does the governor want to push through legislation for eminent domain?" Is it for the reason he states, to protect Texas property owners?

According to an article in the 1/20/2009 Austin American-Statesman:

Gov. Rick Perry, bracing for a fight over property rights in the 2010 Republican primary, said Thursday he wants to amend the state constitution to further protect private landowners from eminent domain abuses.

Invoking the names of Texas independence fighter Davy Crockett, Perry proclaimed his support for Texans who are "justifiably fiercely committed to land ownership." He said he wants to ensure fair property negotiations and a ban on the government seizing land for commercial development.

"Texas still has the best land," Perry said, paraphrasing Crockett. "We've got to fight to protect the rights of folks who own it."

And if you believe that, folks, I have some ocean front property in Central Texas I will sell you at a great price!

In 2005 after the Federal Supreme Court voted to permit government to acquisition private property for development purposes, many state legislators promptly began actions that would inhibit such eminent domain activities for the protection of their constituents. On November 25, 2005 Gov. Rick Perry signed off on Senate Bill 7 that protected Texans from government takeover of their private property for profiteering and development purposes.

In 2007 Gov. Rick Perry, advised by his Transportation "Lieutenant" Rep. Mike Krusee [who retired this year from the House], vetoed House Bill 2006 that paved the way for additional compensation by requiring eminent domain commissioners to consider “loss of access” when determining dollar amounts. The bill also provided for the recovery of damages like changes to traffic patterns and visibility of the remaining property from the road.

The reason Perry refused to sign HB2006, which was supported by Texas Department of Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, The Texas Farm Bureau and the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association --- to name a few --- is because Perry was getting excessive pressure from cities, counties and TxDOT to veto it, because of how it increases the cost of eminent domain for roads and highway construction. Naturally, it does; however, the reality is (or should be) that if the government is going to forcibly take someone’s property from them, you had better pay them reasonably well — at least fair-market value.

In conclusion, what Gov. Rick Perry is trying to do in the current 2009 Legislative Session is NOT to provide more protection for Texas property owners, instead he is trying to "stack the deck" for government to pay landowners as little as possible to take away their private property in the name of development and profiteering.

After 8 years of Rick Perry's rule as Governor, Texans should have learned an important lesson. Virtually ANYTHING sought after by Gov. Perry is NOT in the best interests of MOST Texans and their families.

Contact Gov. Perry, your Texas House Representatives and State Senators to vote against the Governor's hidden agenda re: eminent domain bill. It is a violation of the rights of Texas property owners that will NOT offer fair market reimbursement for the government taking away our private property.


Gov. Rick Perry:

Texas Senate:

Texas House of Representatives:

(Peter Stern of Driftwood, Texas, , a former Director of Information Services, university professor and public school administrator, is a political writer well-known and published frequently throughout the Texas community and nationwide. He is a Disabled Vietnam Veteran and holds three post-graduate degrees.)

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