Property Rights Advocates Speak Out
by Ari Armstrong, February 28, 2006
Gary Lindstrom was the self-declared "progressive" in the gubernatorial race until he backed out today (as the AP reported). The fact that he walked into the offices of the Independence Institute on the evening of February 21 to condemn eminent domain says something about the widespread interest in curbing the practice.
At the invitation of Kathy Fauth (shown in the photograph), who is active with Colorado Citizens for Property Rights, Lindstrom joined a panel and around a couple dozen participants to discuss current problems with eminent domain, the practice by which governmental entities forcibly transfer property, often to other private owners.
"There are politicians who would sell their mother for sales tax," Lindstrom said, suggesting that the motive in some cases of eminent domain is to increase the local tax base.
Lindstrom said that, while eminent domain might have had a legitimate purpose in the construction of highways and military bases, now he sees no need for it. He said that those who wish to acquire property should buy it from willing sellers.
(After he left the meeting room, Lindstrom said he supports smoking bans and gun controls. He didn't explain why he supports property rights in some cases but not in others.)
Steve Nadler criticized the arbitrariness of "blight" designations and offered an impassioned defense of private property, which he described as a cornerstone of American democracy. "Private property right trumps the use of eminent domain for economic development," he said.
Listen to selections of Steve Nadler's comments on mp3 audio file.
Doug Stiverson said that using eminent domain in order to increase tax revenue is the "worst abuse of power there could possibly be." He said that developers now go do city hall when then want property, not to the doors of the owners of that property.
Tom Wambolt, Bob Hoban, Steve Nadler, Gary Lindstrom, and Doug Stiverson criticize abuses of eminent domain. Jessica Corry and Kathy Fauth also addressed the February 21 meeting. Corry has written a paper critical of eminent domain in Colorado.