Monday, January 15, 2007

Eminent domain topic at Republican Breakfast

Charlottesville, Va.-- John and Nancy McCord of the Virginia Property Rights Coalition spoke to a crowd of about 50 people at Golden Corral Saturday January 13. The forum was sponsored by the Albemarle County Republicans and questions from the audience were entertained.

The McCords said they became eminent domain activists nine years ago when American Electric Power wanted to run power lines through their property in Blacksburg. The McCords did not dispute that utilities are a legitimate public use. They thought the purchase offer was half the actual value of the land.

When asked why they weren't offering just compensation, the power company said they're offering what the law allows. If you have a problem with that, change the law.

So that's what John and Nancy have been trying to do ever since.

John traced the problem to a 1953 Virginia Supreme Court ruling that allowed Norfolk to seize non-blighted property if it's located in a redevelopment zone. He said, in Virginia, redevelopment and housing authorities exist only to transfer property from one private owner to another. And the flood gates have opened up.

Nancy said judges began to chip away at property rights in the 1930s during the Great Depression. Many of the New Deal work programs, like the Blue Ridge Parkway, seized land through eminent domain and displaced families and businesses.

The McCords urged people to contact their Delegate or state Senator and let them know it's time for real eminent domain reform.


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