Sunday, October 05, 2008

Victory for Music Row Entrepreneur Joy Ford In Nashville Eminent Domain Dispute

Ford Keeps Her Building & Gets More Land, Conflict Settled through Private Negotiation, Not Government Force

Institute for Justice, October 1, 2008

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. (link)

Landowner Ford stays put as Music Row standoff ends

By CHAS SISK Staff Writer, The Tennessean, October 2, 2008

A $70 million Music Row project has cleared a major obstacle after the developer and city officials reached a high-profile compromise with landowner Joy Ford on Wednesday that saves her business from the bulldozer.

"I'm so elated this is over," Ford said. "This is not about money and material things. If you spend a day or a hundred years of creating something that rightfully belongs to you, it's wrong for somebody to take it." (link)

Music Row holdout saves her memories

By GAIL KERR, The Tennessean, October 2, 2008

They said she was an obstructionist. Greedy. Stubborn. Stupid. And yes, even the "b" word.
But Joy Ford would not budge. Not because she is any of those things, but because Country International Records, humble and dated as some may see it, is hers.

The saga of big and powerful people trying to take Joy's land is over. The two sides forged a compromise with a simple land trade.

That is good for the developers, good for Music Row and good for Joy Ford. But developers and city officials who help them should walk away from this with a lesson learned: Some people can't be bought. (link)


Finally this story has come to an end. Joy Ford stays put. Standing up to the city's closing of an alley which made it difficult for tour buses to park behind her building, facing the threat of condemnation, and rejecting large offers of money, Joy Ford refused to budge.

Joy had a lot of help in her David-versus-Goliath battle. Local radio conservative talk show host Phil Valentine took up her cause. The Tennessean, which usually can be counted upon to take a liberal position on any issue, came to the defense of Joy Ford with sympathetic news stories and pro Ford opinion pieces by Gail Kerr. Bloggers and chatters took up her cause. While there was never a public demonstration, if this case would have gone on, I believe a lot of people would have turned out to demonstrate on her behalf. I know, I would have. One organization that received little public mention but that fought her legal battles was The Institute for Justice.

Although this case is over, we should not allow this to happen to anyone else. The right of condemnation should be restricted to a true public purpose. Simply because a property is in the way of a redevelopment plan, the city should not be able to take the land through condemnation. The state legislature needs to redefine what constitutes "blight." In any normal use of the term, Joy Ford's property was not blighted. The Metro Council needs to take away from the Metro Development and Housing Agency the right to exercise eminent domain and all eminent domain condemnations should have to be voted on by the Council.
Ford achieved her victory but is not giving up the fight. She has pledging to work with other property owners and Metro and state legislators to stop eminent domain abuse saying, “I will not rest until eminent domain is stopped being used on behalf of private interests.”

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1 comment:

  1. I completely agree with you about the concept of eminent domain. This case (and all others like it) are a terrible abuse of power by those in government.
    My mama would cut me out of her will (hyperbole) if I ever supported the government taking someone's land just to give it to a private developer.

    That's an outrage, that even in the context of being a political theory discussion, is a pie-in-the-sky, naive, absurd view of how community benefits flow out of private business at the expense of the member of the very community they are trying to help!

    Good call!