Skip to comments.Montgomery’s New Civil Rights Struggle ("Eminent Domain on Steroids")
Posted on 08/03/2010 9:49:00 AM PDT by Captain Kirk
In 1965, Rosa Parks boarded a bus and forever changed the course of history. Her very public struggle for equality began at a bus stop outside Columbia Court apartments in Montgomery, Alabama.
"It is a very sad situation, it is quite ironic, that this is the place, this is the city where the civil rights movement began in 1955, a very assertive civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King. Yet you have the civil rights of minorities being violated here in a new kind of way, on, I think, a massive scale," said David Beito, chair of the Alabama advisory board to the US Commission on Civil Rights.
Residents -- mostly African-American -- accuse the city of Montgomery of taking their property without just compensation. Using the city's blight ordinance, Montgomery is condemning properties, demolishing them, and even billing the property owners for the demolition costs.
We have good evidence that these homes are not in fact blighted, that is the pretext that they are blighted and that is why they are being demolished, Beito said. Property owners are loosing their land and I think that there is good reason to believe it often ends up in the hands of wealthy developers. It's eminent domain on steroids."
Karen Jones testified before a hearing held by Beito's advisory panel, charging that the city demolished her grandparents property without proper notice.
When we got here, like I said, half the house -- the back half of the house was demolished, Jones said. I said let me see your paperwork, I need to know what are you doing here, because the taxes are paid on this land, youre trespassing. And they told me that I couldn't be on the land while they are demolishing the house.
(Excerpt) Read more at liveshots.blogs.foxnews.com ...
Don’t know about Alabama, but in California a jury decides how much the property is worth.
In 1965, Rosa Parks...
It was 1955.
I looked at the pictures in the story. Slide 6 was a nice home. The argument for condemnation could actually be made for the rest of them.
From the article Property owners are loosing their land ...”
Loosing? It’s losing!!!!!!!!
Sorry pet peeve.
In this case, the city just demolishes the building and bills the owner. It does not even bother to take the land....though, by this action, it makes it worthless.
If this guy has a thing for blight he needs to see what real blight is...
What argument for condemnation? The government does not even compensate the owner for demolishing the building. It simply tears it down, bills the owner to haul it away, and leaves the land worthless.
There are plenty of occupied buildings in Montgomery that were far more “blighted” than the one owned by Karen Jones. The one owned by McCall was brand new and in excellent shape. Jones was even given her day in court.
I guarantee they don’t just walk up and start tearing homes down, these people were probably given years to bring their place up to code and ignored all the warnings. I have lived next to property that was condemned for being considered severe blight, there are times when nothing else will work with some people.
The biggest “blight” *I* saw was the pathetic state of the sidewalks and roadways. Yes, a couple of those homes were a bit shabby, but those sidewalks were utterly hazardous.
Politician, clean up YOUR responsibility first, THEN worry about those who pay your wage.
So, in your opinion a guy who is using reclaimed materials and is building his structure slower than what some bureaucrat deems adequate is only preparing some “bulldozer bait” for the city to bill him for destroying it.
Boy, am I glad I don’t live in your tight-a** world, FRiend.
I would have questioned one of the homes, the newer one looked just fine to me.
The big question is WHY they chose the houses they did, has the land any special value or do developers want to build something there? I just can’t see them tearing down homes unless they really are dangerous to enter or there is a financial gain for someone.
If the improvements have an economic use -- even as an interim use -- then the condemnor should be paying for the value of the improvements it is taking.
Not at all, but I have been on the other end of blight while growing up and know what it is like dealing with someone who moves in to a neighborhood and then reduces everyone’s property value around them.
When I was a kid growing up we had 10 acres, and a family bought the 10 acres next to us and dropped of a mobile home against code. This guy owned a tire outlet in Detroit, within 5 years there were untold thousands of used tires littering the property. We couldn’t sell our house because no one wanted to live next to a dump, and this guy just thumbed his nose at anyone who tried to get him to clean it up. It took 15 years for the county to go through the courts to get him evicted and the property condemned, and who knows how much to clean it up.
I see both sides of this issue. Its not cut and dry that if it’s your property then no one has a say as to what you do with it, especially if there are established homes around you. If you want to live like that then move out to the country and buy a lot that no one has to look at but you.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying the government was right. I am saying that of the few buildings I saw I could see, at a cursory glance, that a case for condemnation could be made.
When one lives in city limits, one accepts that there is a minimum standard of maintenance. Nobody wants to live next to a house that is a rat ranch. I remember a neighbor a couple blocks from me that got in trouble with the city for this sort of thing. They finally cleaned up his property and sent a bill.
If you want something closer to total freedom, you need to live in an unincorporated area. Even then, one must remember we do not live in total anarchy ANYWHERE in the US. There are very basic minimal rules.
Et tu, Fox News? Can't anybody write this language anymore?
I guarantee a developer wants it,, and the city is grabbing it for them. No amount of work, bringing up to code, going to hearings,,etc would have stopped it.
The city wants that land for a specific reason, guaranteed.
No. Don’t make that bet. I’m a local. The econmy sucks here; anything being built has moved East, and even there they stopped building. West Montgomery is primarily black, poor and crime ridden. No one is or wants to build there.