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Family to lose home by eminent domain for Costco store
Boortz online ^ | September 12, 2003 | Neal Boortz

Posted on 09/12/2003 8:56:23 AM PDT by tdadams

YOU FOLKS HAD BETTER BE PAYING ATTENTION TO THIS

I'm going to revisit the eminent domain issue again for a few minutes here so that I can share with you an incredible display of arrogance from an elected official.

As you know, I've been talking about a situation in Alabaster, Alabama where the city council of this community of 24,000 is trying to seize the property of about ten homeowners so that a shopping center featuring a Wal-Mart can be built there. The politicians say that it is perfectly OK to condemn and seize this property for a privately owned shopping center because, after all, the shopping center will generate more tax money than these private homes do.

We are seeing the evolution of a new standard for government seizure of private property. Its very simple. If some politician decides that your property would generate more tax revenue for government if it was owned by someone else, the politician can seize that property from you and turn it over to the government-preferred owner.

For our example of obscene government arrogance we turn our attention to Duncanville, Texas. Duncanville calls itself "A warm community of friends," and "A wonderful place to raise a family." Well, Duncanville may be a wonderful place to raise your family, just so long as some politician doesn't decide that the city could get more tax revenue if your home were to become a Costco.

Deborah Hodge has been living in her Duncanville home for 13 years. The Hodge property has a four bedroom house, a bar, pasture and swimming pool. It has been a family gathering place for over a decade. Just like the city motto says, "A wonderful place to raise your family."

A few months ago the city told Deborah to sell her property. They didn't ask her if she wanted to sell. They told her that she would sell. She would either sell, or they would just take it. The city, you see, wants a Costco store to be built on her land. The Costco would, after all, generate a lot more tax revenue than her little house and barn. So ... Duncanville is using its right of eminent domain to seize the property.

Now ... listen to this. These are the words of Duncanville city manager Kent Cagle. This is what Kent Cagle thinks about private property rights in America. Cagle told the Dallas Morning News "They don't have the option to say no to us. We have made it clear we want that property. The only thing that will be settled in court is how much we have to pay for it."

There is no freedom without property rights. What is it going to take to get Americans upset about this latest craze in local government revenue raising. You just identify the properties that could produce more taxes, seize those properties, and turn them over to developers.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: boortz; eminentdomain; governmentabuse; land; landgrab; privateproperty; property; propertyrights; taxes; texas; tyranny
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America's newest government tyranny. Where do we draw the line anymore?
1 posted on 09/12/2003 8:56:25 AM PDT by tdadams
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To: tdadams
From your rifle to the center of mass.
2 posted on 09/12/2003 8:57:59 AM PDT by dagar
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To: tdadams
Draw the line where the founding fathers drew it and take up arms against the tyrants.
3 posted on 09/12/2003 8:58:48 AM PDT by FormerLib (There's no hope on the left!)
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To: tdadams
Uncle Joe says: "This is a wonderful idea. The peoples Costco will be a valuable asset to the people. The government is absolutely making the right decision."


4 posted on 09/12/2003 9:00:02 AM PDT by WestPacSailor (Sorry folks, this tagline's closed. The moose out front should have told you.)
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To: tdadams
I read an article in the Dallas News yesterday. The city offered her almost $700,000 for a home valued at $400,000. The homeowner claims that the offer was not made. The offer now is $223,000. I'm sure they wish that they hadn't been so greedy.
5 posted on 09/12/2003 9:00:31 AM PDT by still lurking
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To: tdadams
Have you not heard the newest term used by urban planners? They now have "stake holder" as part of their dictionary. Thus all the city is a "stakeholder" in what YOU do with YOUR property and YOU have to get OUR (whoever OUR is) consent.

Remeber when they wanted to build a casino in atlantic city and when the little old lady refused, they just build around her. Alas the casino should have bought more politicians.

I hope this woman has all this on official record, I hope the city gets slapped with punitive damages.
6 posted on 09/12/2003 9:03:12 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (Vote!)
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To: still lurking
You consider that a good point? I don't care whether they offered her $10 million, THEY HAVE NO RIGHT TO FORCE HER TO RELINQUISH HER PROPERTY TO ANOTHER CITIZEN. Eminent domain is meant to be used (or has properly been used) to establish roadways and public usage. To take personal property from one citizen for the enrichment of another is not only immoral, it's illegal under our best traditions and most written law!
7 posted on 09/12/2003 9:03:48 AM PDT by pgyanke (If America isn't a Christian nation... what is?)
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To: tdadams
Ducanville doesn't post an email address on their web site, just phone numbers.

City Manager - Kent Cagle 972-780-5017

8 posted on 09/12/2003 9:05:06 AM PDT by Flyer (I left my tag line in Humblegunner's truck)
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To: pgyanke
I believe her beef was not eminent domain. She wanted a cut of the Costco pie. Her outrage appeared when she realized she lost the larger offer.
9 posted on 09/12/2003 9:06:52 AM PDT by still lurking
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To: tdadams
I wish my house was a Costco store. It almost is anyway.
10 posted on 09/12/2003 9:06:59 AM PDT by COUNTrecount
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To: still lurking
If a city official or any government official makes an offer on a contract, it's in writing. Why don't you find out just who is lying to who on that "almost $700,000 offer" by seeing it in writing. In todays estimating world of math, $100,000 is close to $700,000.

I find it interesting that the author who reported the city's offer of $700,000 did not ask to see the offer?

11 posted on 09/12/2003 9:07:21 AM PDT by blackdog ("But to me Joy means only sorrow, and America is one big Joy ride")
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To: Flyer
Wait. . . found an email address

kcagle@ci.duncanville.tx.us
12 posted on 09/12/2003 9:08:12 AM PDT by Flyer (I left my tag line in Humblegunner's truck)
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To: still lurking
No, they probally wish that the city would leave them alone so they could live in their home in peace. I have raised my kids in the house I live in now and would turn down offers even if they were 1/2 million above market value. There is a huge difference between "a house" and "a home". the size of the offer is not relevent to this conversation.
13 posted on 09/12/2003 9:08:31 AM PDT by calljack (Sometimes your worst nightmare is just a start.)
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To: still lurking
I read an article in the Dallas News yesterday. The city offered her almost $700,000 for a home valued at $400,000. The homeowner claims that the offer was not made. The offer now is $223,000. I'm sure they wish that they hadn't been so greedy.

Not wanting to sell your home to a developer makes you greedy these days...nice. I'd be more inclined to believe the homeowner that the offer was never made.

This is an abuse of eminent domain. The city isn't taking those homes to build a highway or a power plant. They are using that power to force them to sell their homes to developers who will make a very large profit from this deal. Is the government going to force the developers and new owners of this mall to share part of the rents they will collect on this property? No, they just want to force out the current owners as cheaply as possible and at the end of a gun if required.

14 posted on 09/12/2003 9:09:52 AM PDT by Orangedog (Soccer-Moms are the biggest threat to your freedoms and the republic !)
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To: still lurking
"I'm sure they wish that they hadn't been so greedy."

Yeah! What were they thinking? Trying to live on thier own land, the nerve of some people!

15 posted on 09/12/2003 9:10:38 AM PDT by Jonx6
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To: still lurking
If they have a contract to sell, it is in writing somewhere and one of the parties to the contest should produce it. Since the city is being made to look very bad (justifiably), I would hope they would produce the contract to clear up the confusion.

If there is no contract to sell and the city is insisting she sell anyway (just dickering over the price a bit), then they are unconscionably wrong.
16 posted on 09/12/2003 9:11:43 AM PDT by pgyanke (If America isn't a Christian nation... what is?)
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To: still lurking
There are typically more to these stories than what is reported in a one sided comentary. I deplore eminent domain in 90% of all cases. A property owner can always take the municipality or State to court and make them prove the need for eminent domain. And that is a State court too. Even if the court agrees, the property owner has the right to hire their own consultant to value the property. Juries typically are sympathetic to property owners and side with them. I wonder if the property owner in this case did. I doubt it.
17 posted on 09/12/2003 9:11:44 AM PDT by HurkinMcGurkin
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To: still lurking
Your right, of course. It's okay for the city and Costco to be greedy, but not the lowly property owner.
18 posted on 09/12/2003 9:12:13 AM PDT by saint
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To: Orangedog; All
Cosco could use a little wake up call.

Anyone have the cosco emails, I am sure they would not want to turn this in to a PR fiasco.
19 posted on 09/12/2003 9:12:52 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (Vote!)
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To: still lurking
"I'm sure they wish that they hadn't been so greedy."

Who is "they".

I seriously doubt that the home owner was offered nearly twice the appraised value.
On the other hand it is completely believable that the city would misrepresent their "offer" to the press.

20 posted on 09/12/2003 9:13:59 AM PDT by moehoward
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To: still lurking
One small sticking point here too......Just who is the city supposed to represent? She, the woman resident who actively participates in her community or Costco, a national retailer of consumer goods?

A pre-emptive suggestion to you folks out there....Attend every single zoning hearing in your community. This stuff can be spotted in the bud before problems show up on the branch. When was this woman's land zoned commercial? Retail Commercial? Mixed Use? Was her land zoned that way when she bought it? If so, she's an idiot.

21 posted on 09/12/2003 9:14:22 AM PDT by blackdog ("But to me Joy means only sorrow, and America is one big Joy ride")
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To: Orangedog
Is the government going to force the developers and new owners of this mall to share part of the rents they will collect on this property?

I'd suggest a property owner and their consultant take this stance in the eminent domain hearing. A jury might buy it. I sure do.

I honestly can't see how a court could rule in favor of the city in the first place and allow eminent domain, though.

22 posted on 09/12/2003 9:14:32 AM PDT by HurkinMcGurkin
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To: tdadams
They are doing the same thing in Beech Grove, Indiana. A WalMart store wants to locate in Beech Grove and residents don't want it because it's too close to their homes.....the argument is still ongoing....but we all know what's going to happen...
23 posted on 09/12/2003 9:14:35 AM PDT by smiley
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To: still lurking
It just may be that not all people are motivated by greed. Perhaps thay just didn't want to sell at ANY price.
24 posted on 09/12/2003 9:15:09 AM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (Even if the government took all your earnings, you wouldn’t be, in its eyes, a slave.)
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To: tdadams
Aint it great what a campaign contribution or two can buy? And their so cheap.
25 posted on 09/12/2003 9:15:24 AM PDT by fella
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To: calljack
the size of the offer is not relevent to this conversation.

Bingo!
If I don't want to sell to the government, that will then turn around and sell it to someone else, I shouldn't have to.

Eminent Domain was originally set up for highways, right of ways, railroads, sewer systems, etc. It wasn't to be so that the government could take your property, even for a fair price, and give it, or sell it, to someone else, whether it be an individual or a company.

26 posted on 09/12/2003 9:15:30 AM PDT by Just another Joe (FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
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To: still lurking
I read an article in the Dallas News yesterday. The city offered her almost $700,000 for a home valued at $400,000. The homeowner claims that the offer was not made. The offer now is $223,000. I'm sure they wish that they hadn't been so greedy.

So what? If I don't want to sell, I shouldn't be forced to sell just because the government can make more taxes off my property. That is hardly the compelling interest upon which eminent domain was initially based.

27 posted on 09/12/2003 9:16:06 AM PDT by dirtboy (www.ArmorforCongress.com - because lawyers with a clue are rarer than truth-telling Democrats)
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To: tdadams
If public hearings don't change the outcome, there is not much an ordinary American can do. Property rights are fundamental, but it can get messy.
Decades ago, in Los Angeles, before the construction of the Harbor Fwy, my great-aunt's property was the only one on a block not purchased by the government. This left her property immediately next to the freeway. She would have been far better off had they purchased the entire block, and not left her house, the only one remaining. Besides the loss in property value, it became unsafe.
28 posted on 09/12/2003 9:16:10 AM PDT by LibertyAndJusticeForAll
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To: smiley
That's a different issue to the one at hand. Now, if Walmart is planning to plow their homes under to build the store...
29 posted on 09/12/2003 9:16:26 AM PDT by pgyanke (If America isn't a Christian nation... what is?)
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To: Jonx6
I have touched a sore spot. If she considered the offer to sell an opportunity to cash out, then she blew the negotiations, I don't consider that cause to take up arms. Maybe hire an attorney to defend yourself. Regardless of the transaction, a governmental body will win if your not wise in your responses.
30 posted on 09/12/2003 9:17:27 AM PDT by still lurking
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To: tdadams
For a highway, for a power line or sewer project, for any sort of public works, okay. But so some private individual can come in and make profit off your land, no way! This is wrong.

The public has a right to expect public works projects. They should not expect an individual to suffer loss of property simply because they do not want to drive a little farther to another store.

The U.S. is lost.
31 posted on 09/12/2003 9:17:34 AM PDT by BJungNan
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To: still lurking
The city offered her almost $700,000 for a home valued at $400,000.

Yeah Right! Don't believe everything you read. On this one it's best to read between the lines.

32 posted on 09/12/2003 9:18:26 AM PDT by Orange1998
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To: blackdog
A pre-emptive suggestion to you folks out there....Attend every single zoning hearing in your community. This stuff can be spotted in the bud before problems show up on the branch.

Yep, but that's just "too much trouble" for some people.

When was this woman's land zoned commercial? Retail Commercial? Mixed Use? Was her land zoned that way when she bought it? If so, she's an idiot.

Good questions. I don't know the specific law in Alabama, but typically zoning changes are only done at the request of the property owner. I can't go request to have somebody's zoning changed without their knowledge. The city may, depending on the local laws, re-zone entire areas for more intensive use, because that rasies value(they typically can't "down-zone" property in most cases). Or, in this case, the town may have very loose zoning, as it is that way in small communities.

33 posted on 09/12/2003 9:18:53 AM PDT by HurkinMcGurkin
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To: still lurking
"I believe her beef was not eminent domain. She wanted a cut of the Costco pie. Her outrage appeared when she realized she lost the larger offer."

Maybe, but that does not give the city the right to take her property. If she wants to sell for billions and for ten bucks, it IS her property.

34 posted on 09/12/2003 9:21:26 AM PDT by MEGoody
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To: still lurking
You're still ruffling feathers.

It's not about the offers, it's about the coersion! If there's a contract, then she is only attempting to renegotiate. No contract, no offer, no sale. Anything else is theft--by the government or anyone else.
35 posted on 09/12/2003 9:22:37 AM PDT by pgyanke (If America isn't a Christian nation... what is?)
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To: COUNTrecount
I wish my house was a Costco store. It almost is anyway.

Mine, too. I'm only missing the pharmacy, one hour photo, and those little old ladies handing out samples.

36 posted on 09/12/2003 9:22:59 AM PDT by retrokitten (Welcome to the real world, hippy!- Homer Simpson)
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To: BJungNan
For a highway, for a power line or sewer project, for any sort of public works, okay. But so some private individual can come in and make profit off your land, no way! This is wrong.

These kinds of things are going on all over the place. Nobody gives a **** until it happens to them.

It's not just your local governments either.

This is why property rights and ownership mean less and less.

As stupid as it sounds, if anybody is worried about their land being taken for something like this, your best defense is to document the wildlife there, have some biologists do a few surveys and write-ups about the part it plays in the local ecosystem, and get the enviros on your side. Had a friend do something like this (bugged the hell out of him to do it) and it worked, amazing the "rights" that a certain type of bird has, while we humans don't.

37 posted on 09/12/2003 9:23:41 AM PDT by af_vet_rr
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To: tdadams
"They don't have the option to say no to us. We have made it clear we want that property. The only thing that will be settled in court is how much we have to pay for it."

"Your daughters don't have the option to say no to us. We have made it clear we will use them as underage sex slaves. The only thing that will be settled in court is how much we have to pay for each time one of us has sex with them."

38 posted on 09/12/2003 9:23:47 AM PDT by coloradan
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To: Just another Joe
Eminent Domain was originally set up for highways, right of ways, railroads, sewer systems, etc. It wasn't to be so that the government could take your property, even for a fair price, and give it, or sell it, to someone else, whether it be an individual or a company.

This is just a step or two away from getting completely out of control (as if they aren't alreasy). Imagine what will happen when the government decides that the apartment complexes that accept section 8 vouchers are either too few or not in nice enough neighborhoods. Whats stopping them from forcing the sale of newer apartment buidings near well priced single family homes to companies that WILL play the governments game. The possibilities for abuse are almost endless.

39 posted on 09/12/2003 9:24:45 AM PDT by Orangedog (Soccer-Moms are the biggest threat to your freedoms and the republic !)
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To: pgyanke
If she is serious about saving her property, get an attorney well versed in property rights. She is representing herself and is stunned that the city doesn't have her best interest at heart. I know she had right of refusal, but be smart and defend yourself.
40 posted on 09/12/2003 9:25:45 AM PDT by still lurking
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To: tdadams
And this differs from some third world country politico nationalizing land and giving it to his cronies in exactly what way???

Third world country is as third world country does.

I would expect this type of behavior in Mexico, not in the United States. Well at least I used to.

41 posted on 09/12/2003 9:26:26 AM PDT by freeeee
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To: pgyanke
You consider that a good point? I don't care whether they offered her $10 million, THEY HAVE NO RIGHT TO FORCE HER TO RELINQUISH HER PROPERTY TO ANOTHER CITIZEN.

Sure they do, if her elected representatives so decide. And she is an imbicile not to take DOUBLE what her house is worth. You scream "her property" like this is the old West, or like that movie "Far and Away". Give me a break. Most Americans stay in the same home for for an average of 7 years. Houses are just commodities. She could have bought a similar one in a nearby area for $400k and had $300k cash left over. Sounds good to me.

42 posted on 09/12/2003 9:27:56 AM PDT by montag813
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To: HurkinMcGurkin
I read about a similar situation in Baltimore. The city wanted to create a riverfront shopping area and a bunch of older houses were snatched up by the city. The mayor's said that the taxes generated by the strip mall outweighed the property taxes paid by the homeowners.

It wasn't fair that all these poor people had such desirable land and did not want to share with the city.</sarcasm off>
43 posted on 09/12/2003 9:27:56 AM PDT by LetsRok
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To: Jonx6
Yeah! What were they thinking? Trying to live on thier own land, the nerve of some people!

Are their ancestors buried in the freakin back yard? Sheesh, buy a new home and pocket the 300 grand.

44 posted on 09/12/2003 9:29:39 AM PDT by montag813
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To: smiley
This is a racket that satarted CA. City fathers raise a big bond issue to build an auto mall, a return-to-custody-facility (parole violaters' resort) and a shopping center. Oh yeah, the developers also give the city a park.

Usually it takes the city 200 years to rationalize the cost of all this hoopla. But in the meantime, another group will come along and the land will be traded back and forth among the city fathers and mothers, who are in and out of office.

Are Americans now to stupid to see that some persons of extremely modest means, are extremely wealthy after several terms on city council? Bond Issues, eminent domain, and development are a very large feeding trough for politicos.

45 posted on 09/12/2003 9:29:52 AM PDT by Kenny Bunk
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To: Flyer
Emails for the Mayor and City Council can be found here: http://www.ci.duncanville.tx.us/city_council.shtm#_Duncanville%20City%20Council%20Members%202001-2001
46 posted on 09/12/2003 9:32:21 AM PDT by Between the Lines ("What Goes Into the Mind Comes Out in a Life")
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To: montag813
The system you describe isn't worth lifting a finger to defend.

Makes me damned glad I didn't serve in the military.

Risk life or limb to defend communism? Pffft.

So what was the cold war about? Communism? Looks like it was just to see who was the biggest bully on the block.

47 posted on 09/12/2003 9:33:58 AM PDT by freeeee
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To: montag813
Houses are just commodities. She could have bought a similar one in a nearby area for $400k and had $300k cash left over. Sounds good to me.

These are your values... she's allowed to have hers.

As far as the "elected representative" comment, they are still constrained by the law. I don't know AL law specifically, but I do know in FL the law only allows eminent domain for the public good (public use) and specifically denies the use for property transfer.

48 posted on 09/12/2003 9:35:25 AM PDT by pgyanke (If America isn't a Christian nation... what is?)
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Comment #49 Removed by Moderator

To: montag813
Houses are just commodities

Young women are just commodities. New ones are born every day, and others die every day. (See my previous post for context to this statement.)

Does the concept of private property mean anything to you? How about the Consitutional protection from taking except in cases of public use? A man's home is his castle; if he has no say in that, tell me: what does he have a say in?

50 posted on 09/12/2003 9:40:02 AM PDT by coloradan
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