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The power of property condemnation

Published October 16. 2019 12:07PM

Letter to the Editor:

One of our founding principles is that the actions of our government into an individual’s life must be as minimal as possible. When we talk about eminent domain, the seizing of a person’s property, the standard for such an intrusion must bear a very high burden.

Imagine you are a small-business owner or individual who lives in a house along a highway and a representative from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation knocks on your door and informs you they are taking your land by eminent domain. What would you do? Do you just hand over the keys? Do you fight “city hall” or if you are a “average Joe” can you afford the legal representation or just accept the minuscule offer to vacate?

Currently, almost all the laws, regulations and power regarding eminent domain benefits government at every level, and in reality, it always has with the simple understanding that it be for the “public good.”

Vague interpretations are a government specialty, and the term “public good,” is ripe for abuse. Does the government still take the entire property when a viable alternative is available?

It is the duty of every citizen to stand in the defense of a fellow citizen. The good citizens of Mahoning Township are losing the tax income from two extremely valuable properties: the property between Lehighton Kia and Lowe’s and our property to the right of Aldi’s.

The amount of traffic on 443 from the Thomas J. McCall Memorial Bridge to Walmart is the reason the PennDOT widening project makes sense, but putting a retention pond on valuable frontage is poorly thought out engineering.

This is the frontage that will be condemned for the two water retention ponds instead of being placed behind these properties. Forget the West Nile virus carrying mosquitoes and algae this standing water will attract, but how often will the trash from the highway blowing into these ponds be removed by PennDOT?

When we protect the inherent rights of an individual, we protect our own. To hold our government accountable, and keep its “just powers” in check, is the responsibility of all of us.

Joe Bennett

Lehighton

Comments
Here's the interview for "Joe"

https://www.nationalreview.com/2015/10/donald-trump-eminent-domain-wonderful/

Joe,
Did you ever build anything? You post much, but your experience in such matters doesn't come close to that of Donald J Trump. I'll keep my thoughts on eminent domain to myself this day. Above is the actual interview folks, "Joe" just typed out a paraphrase. When the actual words don't make your argument, paraphrase, sort of like Shifty Schiff did. Scoundrels!
Its been well reported that trump has said "I love eminent domain." If you don't like that quote he also says "I think eminent domain is wonderful". The truth is, he has profited off of forcing people out of their homes. And you love him.

What is scarier is that trump says he will use the "military version" of eminent domain to build his wall. That version doesn't require him to compensate the land owner or get court permission.
Joe you are a fraud. You target President Trump for every position he takes on every subject. Who are you? How many buildings have your name on the side of them? How many Billions of $ are you worth? How many people work for you? How many construction projects did you oversee to success? What year did you graduate from the New York Military Academy as Cadet Captain? What year did you graduate from the Wharton School of Business? Have you ever managed a successful campaign for President? How many debates did you win? How many arenas have you filled up with people anticipating a speech from you during a Rally? How many hours would someone wait in line to see you? We all know the answer to this Joe. Keep up the fake outrage.
I have done several construction projects thank you. The largest was $87 million for my past employer.

I am not a billionaire, but thats mainly because I didn't have a dad to give me it. I would venture to guess I have had much larger growth of my wealth as a percentage than donald during my career.
Just curious. How much money were you paid for the condemned land? I'm sure you made a profit on it.
See here we are Joe. You have a twisted mind to compare President Trump with Chancellor Hitler. You would be ashamed of yourself if you had any understanding of history. You hate Trump so much you can’t see straight. Are you even aware that citizens were forced to go to Hitler’s rallies? You reveal your dysfunction with your misrepresentation of circumstances. You believe you are smarter than President Trump, yet you say such ignorant hateful stuff. Keep it up. You are watching fake news.
Come on Joe. People were forced to become NASDP members. There must have been at least 100 groups that had members, like clubs, that had uniforms with badges and all that set their sub-group apart from others. Watch the video, “Triumph of the Will”, Leni Riefenstahl, of a 1934 Nuremberg Rally. At that time the German resurgence after the loss of WWI was social and political on a national scale. Few knew of the evil that was to come, as national pride morphed into aggressive authoritarian supremacy. People were required to attend special events. People were poor and sometimes they were given food or shoes to join organizations. People were watching you if you missed an event.
"We have reached a cease fire in Syria" Pence

"This is not a ceasefire" Turkish Foreign minister 2 minutes later.

Keep believing the lies.

Well Joe, we need to get you up on the stage for the next Democrat debate! You could breathe some life into the race. Having a self-proclaimed genius that is rich is what America needs. Come on Joe. Stand up.America needs you.
Joe,
What office do you hold? What have you built? Have a rally lately?
I don't defend "The Donald", but I'll vote for him in 2020. Who's your choice?
(this ought to be good)
I’m letting the process go forward but I have doubts trump will be on the ballot quite frankly. The fact you have definitively decided with over a year before the election shows the level of thought you are putting into this.

If I have to support a democrat, right now I lean Buttigieg, Ryan or Steyer, the latter two having little chance. I am hopeful of a libertarian/independent run by Amash but only if it’s clear he could win or take away enough votes to hurt trump. I would support a run by Romney or Kasich but the GOP leadership will try to squash it like Bernie.
Since you see rallies as a reason to support someone, here is someone who held tons of them with way more people attending than trump.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuremberg_Rally
Hey CPA boy... did you actually count the people (Inauguration), or did your friend Chris Matthews count them for you? Ha Ha Ha
You crack us up!
If I take your letter at face value and take all you've stated as fact, it does seem rather short sighted for the state to take prime commercial real estate frontage for such a project. You say there are alternatives, but I have no idea on that point. Would someone else have to have their property taken by emminant domain for these alternatives? I'm also not sure what Mahoning Township could do change this course of action. One would think though, if they had any common sense and had any real possibility of changing the state's position on this, they would do so. Not only would the township be losing the property taxes on those properties, but the LASD would be losing them as well. The losses don't stop there though. Once the properties housed businesses the property tax would be significantly higher one would think, for both government entities. Beyond that, the jobs those businesses would provide would also garner the 1% income tax. 50% of which would go to the township and 50% of which would go to the school district. I was told today that Mahoning Township would also be blocking LVHN from building the hospital on the property they purchased on 443. I've none of the particulars, just what I was told. Although there would be no property taxes paid by LVHN on that property, the jobs it would provide are desperately needed in this area and once again, the township and the school district could certainly benefit from the local income taxes assessed on those jobs. I'm sure East Penn would jump all over it if they got the opportunity. And they very well may get that opportunity if what I was told today is true.

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