Eminent domain abuse in Norwood, OH

George Will highlights another clear example of eminent domain abuse in his latest Newsweek column. A few key paragraphs:

The Gambles say that when the city offered them money for their house, they were not interested. “We had everything we wanted, right there,” says Joy, who does not drive but could walk to see her mother in a Norwood nursing home. “We loved that house — that home.”
Past tense. Norwood’s government, in a remarkably incestuous deal, accepted the developer’s offer to pay the cost of the study that — surprise! — enabled the city to declare the neighborhood “blighted” and “deteriorating.” NEWSWEEK reader, stroll around your neighborhood. Do you see any broken sidewalk pavement? Any standing water in a road? Any weeds? Such factors — never mind that sidewalks and roads are government’s responsibility — were cited by the developer’s study to justify Norwood’s forcing the Gambles and their neighbors to sell to the developer so he could build condominiums, office buildings and stores.

Reeling from the life-shattering effects of an uncircumscribed power of eminent domain, the Gambles are hoping for rescue by their state Supreme Court, before which they are represented by the Institute for Justice, a merry band of libertarian litigators. The Gambles have the dignified stoicism of uncomplicated people put upon by sophisticated people nimble with complex sophistries. Carl says, “We’re paying a lot each month for storage” of their possessions that do not fit in his daughter’s basement near the town of Independence, Ky. Independence is what becomes tenuous when property rights become attenuated.

This could happen to you, folks. If you happen to live in Ohio, please read my post on the Ohio eminent domain task force that’s ignoring the major objection to eminent domain abuse: people don’t want the government taking their property and giving it to another private property owner. Ever.
As George Will wrote, “Kelo demonstrated that anyone who owns a modest home or small business owns it only at the sufferance of a local government that might, on a whim of rapacity, seize it to enrich a more attractive potential taxpayer.”
Hat tip: No Left Turns

Ohio eminent domain task force misses the point

5th Amendment textThe Ohio task force on eminent domain has released its preliminary report, and it’s missed the most important point of the exercise. I’m not interested in a fairer procedure for the government to use as it takes my home. I’m not interested in a clearer definition of “blight” that spells out exactly when the government can take my home. You see, I don’t want the government to take my home at all. Why is that so hard to understand?
A local or state government can exercise its eminent domain powers to take private property from its owner, if the government does so for a “public use” and pays “just compensation” (see the Fifth Amendment, at right). Until very recently, the term “public use” meant what you’d expect: building a school, putting in a highway, laying railroad tracks, and other projects that the public has access to.
We used to think of private building projects as a “private use” of property, since the public doesn’t have guaranteed access. But no more. Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Kelo v. New London last summer, the definition of “public use” has expanded to include the government seizing your land and giving it to another private owner for “economic development” (which means the new owner’s project yields higher property taxes than you do, or creates jobs, or some similar rationalization).
Liberals and conservatives alike blew a collective gasket over the ruling, and angry voters have already pressured several state legislatures into passing laws prohibiting these takings through eminent domain.

Painting Ohio’s 13th District a nice deep red

Tell Hugh Hewitt I did my duty. I gave a copy of this …

Buy this book!

… to Congressional candidate Paul Burtzlaff last night.
Paul Burtzlaff photographHe’s running for the open seat in Ohio’s 13th Congressional District, which was vacated this year by Sherrod Brown. A conservative Republican, Burtzlaff is a former Navy chaplain who’s now a Lutheran pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Westlake, OH. I’m a parishioner there, so I know the man well and endorse him heartily. His honesty and integrity are beyond reproach, so you can trust him to follow through on his promises (much like somebody else we all know).
He’s strong on national security, and his campaign is also emphasizing his commitment to improving education and bringing jobs to Ohio. He’s never run for public office before, so he’s no member of the Washington “in crowd”, nor is he one of the Ohio GOP establishment elites who brought us candidates like Bob Taft and Jim Petro. Burtzlaff is refreshingly straightforward and open about his policy positions, so you’ll always know what he believes and why. He doesn’t flip-flop, either.
I’ll be supporting Paul Burtzlaff’s campaign, and hopefully before long there will be some seriously meaty information to publish about this candidate. For instance, although there’s no press release yet, Burtzlaff just won the endorsement of The Ohio Right to Life Society, and he will also be the focus of a Meet The Bloggers session on Saturday the 15th if the MTB crew agrees to the date (details coming soon).
Keep your eye on Paul Burtzlaff. The results of the May 2nd Republican primary might just surprise you.

Mike DeWine, Sherrod Brown, or a rusty fork to the eyeball? I’m torn.

In the recent past I’ve advocated support for Bill Pierce, a conservative challenger to incumbent U.S. Senator Mike DeWine. Well, chalk that up to stupid idealism. Pierce is roadkill in the May 2nd Republican primary, based on the results of the latest poll by the Columbus Dispatch, which has DeWine in front with 61% to Pierce’s 1%. With only 34% undecided, RINO Mike is again our standard-bearer by default. I’ll vote for him only because when compared to Sherrod Brown he’s the lesser of two evils. It will still chap my backside to support DeWine, a gutless member of the Gang of Fourteen, but I know better than to let Brown (my current congresscritter) get involved in judicial nominations and foreign affairs.
George Will is watching us here in Ohio, and in his latest column he predicts a tight Senate race between Brown and DeWine. I’m not so sure it’ll be close. DeWine’s lead over Brown grew from 5% in January to a 9% margin in a February 18th Rasmussen poll. Here’s hoping that trend continues.
Two key paragraphs from Will’s column:

DeWine is seeking a third term in an inhospitable environment — the middle of the second term of an incumbent president of his own party. That is when the electorate often experiences “the six-year itch,” the desire to reshuffle the political deck. … The redistricting done for incumbent-protection after the 2000 Census may have made the House almost impervious to the itch … so voters might vent their restlessness in Senate elections. And “restless” hardly describes Ohio’s dyspeptic mood regarding its Republicans, who hold all statewide offices. Scandals and tax increases drove Gov. Bob Taft’s approval rating in one poll to six. He has bounced all the way back to 16. Richard Nixon’s job approval rating was 24 on the eve of his resignation.

DeWine, one of only four senators who supported John McCain in 2000, is a moderate conservative with an independent streak — for example, he has repeatedly voted against drilling in ANWR. This may be enough to annoy some conservatives without being sufficient to distance him from the state Republican shambles. We shall find out late on Election Night when, as usual, the nation will be watching Ohio.

I’m so very, very tired of the Ohio GOP establishment and its candidates. They campaign as center-right conservatives but govern as liberals. The current leadership of the Ohio Republican Party foolishly thinks this state’s voters can be made to march in lockstep behind any old fool as long as the candidate hangs an (R) after their surname. Well, this primary makes me feel like the proverbial critter caught in a leg trap who’s forced to gnaw off a paw to survive. I’ll reluctantly march to the polls this year and vote for RINO Mike, but if the Ohio GOP fields another crop of liberals in 2008 and expects me to step out smartly with two gnawed-off stumps, I’ll cheerfully tell them where they can put this year’s leg.

Update (11:25 PM): Tom from BizzyBlog.com points out that the poll is unreliable, and the Dispatch itself has a sorry history of shoddy polling practices. Here’s the key paragraph I missed when I scanned through the article this morning:

The mail poll of 2,894 registered Democratic voters and 2,874 registered Republicans voters from March 15 through Friday has a margin of sampling error of 2 percentage points.

Notice it was a mail-in poll; those are notoriously unreliable. Also, the respondents were registered voters, not likely voters. That makes a big difference, too. Dave at NixGuy.com has more analysis that tracks with BizzyBlog’s.

A lonely Democrat voice

Democracy Guy gets it (sort of):

There may, in fact, be some mystery anti-gay neanderthal electorate that abracadabra showed up at the polls who otherwise would have not, but it certainly was small, indeed would have been dwarfed by the higher turnout in general, and simply would not have affected the election to the tune of 120,000 votes, which is double the margin by which Clinton won the state in 1992. Such voters were a ripple in the overall tide that moved the undecided electorate in 2004. We lost Ohio for the same reason we lost the election nationally….security. Not because of some Rove-ian magic wand.

It’s a shame that the Democratic Party hasn’t got more sane (and vocal) members like this, people who don’t suffer from Bush Derangement Syndrome. Unfortunately, the Dems have been following the lead of the big-time lefty bloggers. Hugh Hewitt’s metaphor of water pipes made of lead or copper illustrates the problem:

The blogosphere is a vast set of information pipes, like water pipes, providing the stuff information/news junkies find essential. The old plumbing is still out there –newspapers, television, radio– but the blogs have dramatically increased the volume of the information flow.
What [Howard] Dean hints at is that the left side of the blogosphere’s pipes have a problem. They are made of lead. They are in fact poisoning the information they are distributing, and the consequence is the slow poisoning of the Democratic Party.

Read the whole thing.
Hat tip: Brewed Fresh Daily

Leftist newspaper vandal caught on camera

 
Welcome, Hugh Hewitt readers! Make yourselves at home.

Take a good, close look at this champion of intellectual diversity:

Busted!

She’s cleaning out a newspaper rack full of the latest issue of The Sentinel and dumping the papers in the trash. The Sentinel is Ohio State University’s student conservative newspaper, and its fine writing obviously continues to anger campus leftists in Columbus … because it has the perplexing quirk of disappearing from the racks before leftists in training students get a chance to read the latest commentary from the right. Happily, this Thought Policeperson got caught on camera by the paper’s staff.
Here’s the kicker: according to The Sentinel, she’s a Postdoctoral Researcher who works at OSU’s Environmental Molecular Science Institute.
I’m sure there’ll be more to follow on Dr. Stickyfingers at the newspaper’s blog, The Open End.

NB: I’m also pleased to mention that The Open End is a member (along with Brain Shavings, Wizblog, Eric Hogue, and Hugh Hewitt) of a mighty blog alliance here in Ohio called The Buckeye Bloggers.

Passenger jets and missiles don’t mix

Yesterday, we heard about Nicaragua’s problems with maintaining control of its shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles. Today as I was driving, I heard on WTAM that several communities near Hopkins Airport in Cleveland have complained so bitterly about jet noise that the government has responded with a web site … where you can track passenger jets. That’s right. According to WTAM, you can log on to a web site and make sure passenger jets are at their designated altitudes and in their correct flight corridors.
Now, assuming I heard the radio report correctly, am I the only one who sees a problem here? We’ve potentially got missing SA-7 surface-to-air missiles floating around on the black market, a new web site reveals location and altitude information for air traffic around a major international airport, and just up the road in the metro Detroit area there’s a very large community of Muslims. Heck, we have our own home-grown terrorist fundraiser here in town (and don’t tell me he’s alone).
Hello? Is anybody home at the Department of Homeland Security?
I’ll keep looking for a link to the aircraft tracking web site, which I’ve not found yet. Boy, I hope I’m mistaken.

UPDATE (12:02 PM): I just got off the phone with WTAM’s news room. I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news. The good news: I heard wrong … there is no jet tracking web site. The bad news: Hopkins Airport is indeed putting such a web site together (according to WTAM). I’ve already left phone messages with Marty Flask, the Security Director at Hopkins, and with Laura Farmer (position unknown … I got her number from the Media Relations Manager, Pat Smith, who didn’t answer my question about the web site).
UPDATE (3:21 PM): Andrew Cochran of The Counterterrorism Blog just let me know that the Department of Defense has been chasing down Nicaraguan SAMs for two years already, which wasn’t in the original story. That’s reassuring, since I suppose that if the terrorists had a workable SAM they’d have used it somewhere by now (in Iraq or Afghanistan if not in America). The idea of the jet-tracking web site still sounds foolhardy, though.
UPDATE (9:16 PM): Just to clear up what might otherwise be murky in my hurried post, the government entity involved here is the airport itself, which is owned and run by the City of Cleveland (except security of course, which falls under the TSA). So far as I can determine, this web site idea is not a state or federal one. The feds ought to take notice of this, in my opinion, if it truly will allow detailed jet tracking online.
UPDATE (9:30 PM): Jeff Quinton has thoughts on a similar-sounding system he’s seen before, and I sure hope what Hopkins has got planned is no more detailed than that.

Bleak surroundings = good blogging?

Chad The Elder at Fraters Libertas wonders if the climate, coupled with the local media’s blatant liberal bias and poor writing skills, might explain the bounty of good center-right bloggers in the Minneapolis/St Paul area. He also wonders if boredom might be involved. Now if Chad’s hypothesis is true, there must be several promising center-right bloggers in the Cleveland area.
Hmmmm …