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[at-l] Re: Eminent domain

kahlena wrote:
> This whole E.D. thing....I understand it is for the good of all
> the people.
> I understand we'd be poorer as a country without it.
> In my previous post I said that public lands are precious to me...
> more so, perhaps since I also understand what the proceedings
> can do to people.
> Been there...
> In 1956, my Parents bought my Grandparents home. This was
> not a farm...just a house on a double lot near the edge
> of town.  Our homestead, none the less, for four generations.
> As my Dad puts it, the ink wasn't dry on the loan, before the
> state came around and started pounding stakes in the yard...
> surveyor's marks.  He asked the man what this was about and
> was told that the home might be taken to make room for the
> entrance to the new bridge.  Everyone in the area knew the
> old bridge needed replacing (it was built for horses and
> trolleys),  but being blocks away from the river, my folks
> hadn't thought the house in danger...until now.  The surveyor
> told them that there were several proposed routes...nothing
> had been decided...they'd be notified.
> And then, they heard nothing...they inquired and were told
> it was only in the planning stage....hadn't been budgeted,
> an election was coming, nothing would be decided until then.
> My folks were left to wonder.  And every month, as they wrote
> the check for the mortgage, instead of the feeling..one month
> closer to owning the house, it was, one month closer to what?
> Six years later, the surveyors came again. I remember my Father,
> barely waiting till the men had left, before he grabbed the biggest
> sledge he had and pounded those stakes deep into the ground,
> out of sight.  He said it was because he didn't want to break
> the lawn mower on them but I knew the real reason.  Funny thing
> is, just weeks after the surveyors came, a bad storm proved to
> us that the roof needed replacing.  Now, any homeowner knows,
> when your roof needs redone, if you can swing it, you go for the
> 30 yr. roof. But with the stakes in the yard, the question was
> 'Will the state pay extra for the 30 yr guarantee?'
> In fact, that question had to be a factor on every decision made
> about the house.  Tired of hauling ashes up from the cellar?
> Switch to gas heat!  Why...so the state can bulldoze the brand new
> furnace along with the rest of the house?  Everytime we run the
> vacum while the Christmas tree lights are on,  we blow a fuse.
> Time to rewire the house!  Why...if it burns down, we'll probably
> get more from the insurance than we'll get from the state.  The old
> cherry trees have passed their prime.  Time to plant new ones!
> Why....will we ever get a chance to eat the fruit?  And I know of
> no one who enjoys the chore of painting the house.  But at least
> there should be some comfort, while you're hanging on that ladder,
> that you are caring for something that those who came before you
> cared for and that your kids will care for after you. Instead,
> this chore was doubly onorus...the state wouldn't care how carefully
> we sanded the blank blank trim.
> And every couple of years, the surveyors came back.
> This wasn't just happeneing to our family but to that whole
> end of town....30 sq. blocks....a hundred families  with stakes
> in their yards.  Those less tied to their homes, moved.  And
> because of the threat of E.D. the property values went down.
> The new owners were often absentee landlords who did minimal
> up keep. Those who stayed, like our family, postponed major
> upkeep.....waiting....waiting...waiting for the state to make
> up it's mind.  And whenever we asked, the answer was always
> "No final routing decisions have been made yet."
> The neighborhood died.
> Twenty five years....twenty_five_years after the first surveying,
> the bridge was built. They put it three blocks south.  Our house
> still stands...other people's houses do not.  I_grew_up_waiting
> for the other shoe to drop.  I look at the lines on my Father's
> face and the grey in my Mom's hair and I wonder how much different
> life would have been without those twenty-five years of worry.
> So if you run into a landowner who's less than cordial, look at
> the lines on his face.  Maybe some of them are there because he's
> been living under the E.D. Sword of Damocleas for a while...
> wondering and worrying how long it will be before the state decides
> that his home or his land or his farm that he and his, have loved,
> must be 'acquired' so that the hikers don't have to look at it,
> as they walk by......           Kahley
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