by Robert Dean
Chairman, Tidewater Libertarian Party

The Tidewater Libertarian Party (TLP) at its meeting on Saturday, June 19, 2010 took a vote on the issue of eminent domain and its abuse by the City of Norfolk's Redevelopment and Housing Authority (NRHA).

The vote was unanimous in its opposition to what is transpiring in the property rights arena in the City of Norfolk.

Old Dominion University is looking at its next phase of development adjacent to its campus, but there are several businesses that stand in its way.

The answer, condemnation, a word that raises the hair of every citizen who has ever read the U.S. Constitution. 

The word that led to that now infamous, Kelo vs City of New London eminent domain case ruled upon by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The case that makes the blood boil in the hearts of every libertarian, especially here in our region due to the fact that the TLP submitted an amicus brief on behalf of Ms. Kelo in her fight to keep her property.

That brief, written by TLP General Counsel, Steve Merrill, was accepted by the Court and is part of the record of decision.

Kelo v. City of New London, was a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States involving the use of eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another to further economic development.

The case arose from the condemnation by New London, CT, of privately owned real property, so that it could be used as part of a comprehensive redevelopment plan.

The Court held in a 5–4 decision that the general benefits a community enjoyed from economic growth qualified such redevelopment plans as a permissible "public use" under the Taking Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

That ruling led to outrage by individual state legislators who scrambled to make changes to their laws that would protect the rights of all property owners. Virginia followed, but there are still empty holes in our protective laws.

Old Dominion should, as a good neighbor, change its plans and leave these businesses alone.

It should also tell the NRHA that they will no longer be doing business with them, and in the future, all transactions will be done as they should have been done from the beginning, a willing buyer purchasing from a willing seller.

Anything else is off the table.

Private property rights, the rock-bed of our individual liberties and the foundation of our constitution need to be protected at all costs.

Please call or write your contacts at ODU and express your outrage. Attend the condemnation hearing in the Norfolk Circuit Court; it will open your eyes to an out-of-control, non-elected government agency

Note: As of June 19, 2010, the land where Susette Kelo's home had once stood remains an empty lot, and the promised 3,169 new jobs and $1.2 million a year in tax revenues has not materialized.

And as for Pfizer. they've closed shop in a cost-cutting measure.

How's that for government planning gone wrong.

The TLP applauds the citizens of Virginia Beach for twice voting down the establishment of a redevelopment and housing authority.