Sunday, February 26, 2006

Eminent Domain - part 2

As I mentioned here, the rights of all property owners in Ridgecrest is under threat by the Community and Economic Development Director Gary Parsons said Ridgecrest Redevelopment Agency.

Rite-aid, a company that already has a business here in town wants to buy a lot at the corner of Ridgecrest blvd and China Lake Blvd to build a new store. The fly in the ointment of Rite-aid's plan is that the property owner at the corner where they want to build wants more to sell his property than the Rite-aid developer wants to pay.

Rite-aid's solution is to petition the Ridgecrest redevelopment Agency and the City Council to use the power of eminent domain to force the property owner to sell to them at a lower price.

This is a completely absurd situation. In the last few years there have been several eminent domain cases in the United States where people who did not want to sell their homes were forced to. But this case is different. The property owner is willing to sell. Rite-aid is just not willing to pay his price.

What ever happened to the rule of supply and demand? What ever happened to the rights of property owners? If Rite-aid wants this property then pay this owners price. If he is asking more than you want to pay then let him keep his property and buy somewhere else or better yet keep doing business in the location where you are already located. If Rite-aid really wants to move, there are a lot of empty buildings in town and lots of other empty lots. Buy one of them.

It seems like our City Council and the Gary Parsons, the Community and Economic Development Director have lost touch with what the people of Ridgecrest want. There have been several letters to the editor of both our local papers all condemning the use of eminent domain for this cause. Most of the authors of these letters all say the same thing. They believe that this is wrong and they will not shop in the new Rite-aid if they gain this property through eminent domain and they will also vote against any member of the city council who supports this action in the next election. Talking to people in town about this issue I haven't found a single person who thinks this is a proper use of eminent domain.

Yet, in the face of these objections to this use of eminent domain Gary Parsons seems dead set in making it happen. In the Tuesday Feb 21st edition of the Daily Independent Mr. Parsons had this to say.

"He’s going to sell it," said Parsons. "The question is at what price."

Sounds pretty theatening to me. Sell your property on your own or we will take it away from you, then pay you what we think it is worth and tell you that you sold it.

I personnally don't know what the big deal over this piece of property is. I think the property on California St. where the City Council, the Police Department, and the City Offices are located would be a great place for a new Rite-aid. Maybe we should get the Council to excercise a little eminent domain and sell that property to a drug store, or better yet a new Super Walmart.

One last time:

I disagree with this action and I promise that I will never set foot in any businees that acquires it's land through eminent domain. Additionally I will use my blog and my voice to convince as many others to also boycott said business. I will also not vote for any member of the city council who supports this action. I will also use my blog, my voice, and my wallet to champaign against said council members.

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