Thursday, July 31, 2008

Eminent domain vs. property rights

City is being used for private profit

By COUNCILMAN MICHAEL CRADDOCK, The Tennessean, July 31, 2008

Twenty-three Music Circle E. is a very small parcel of real estate that is owned by Mrs. Joy Ford, a country music songwriter and producer. Her name is on the deed.

I am sure that as I write this article, Mrs. Ford feels like her world is crumbling around her. After all, she is being forced to defend her private property rights against the 800-pound gorilla commonly known as the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. (link)

It's not always about money; it is about respect for ownership

Our View, The Tennessean, July 31, 2008

Nashville's Music Row was once a place where individualism was valued.

Large record labels have always been an important part of the Row, it's true, but they co-existed with small publishers and other cottage industries, all taking their chances at success.
The Row, and Nashville as a whole, could lose that reputation if the Metro Development and Housing Authority is allowed to seize a small-business owner's property to be handed over to a large commercial development.

In June, MDHA sought Circuit Court approval to declare Joy Ford's building at 23 Music Circle E. "blighted," which would enable the agency to claim the property under a redevelopment district set up in 1999. (link)

Comment: The entire Opinion Page of today's Tennessean is devoted to this topic. At the same link as listed above, you can also find the article "Such districts save Nashville from decay" by MDHA's Phil Ryan, and "Lionstone project will bring jobs, revenue city needs" by Lionstone's Doug McKinnon. Both make the case in defense of condemnation.

I am pleased and pleasantly surprised to see The Tennessean take such a bold stand for private, property rights. Often The Tennessean seems to me to be wishy-washy and moderately liberal, sort of the local version of USA Today. In this case however, The Tennessean has taken a strong position and one with which I happen to agree. In their editorial, they stated "There are limits to what urban redevelopment should do, and taking someone's property against their will for purposes that are not expressly for the public good is simply going too far." Congratulations to The Tennessean!

Congratulations, also, to Councilman Michael Craddock for showing leadership on this issue.

The fight is not over. Maybe justice will prevail. What can we do to help?

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