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Kudos for Washington Examiner’s Weekend Editorial

Two weeks ago, we growled after reading that local jurisdictions are concerned about Virginia’s proposed constitutional amendment which would strengthen Virginia’s eminent domain legislation. In that Growls, we embedded links to a “must-read” essay on the future of eminent domain in Virginia published by the Virginia Institute for Public Policy.

In a “local editorial” this weekend, the Washington Examiner writes:

“The Virginia League of Municipalities is lobbying heavily against the amendment, which requires governments to pay the true value of any land seized and to reimburse landowners for their financial losses. Continuing abuse of eminent domain in Arlington and Alexandria demonstrate why this amendment is sorely needed.”

The Virginia Municipal League (VML) and the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) are the two major lobbying organizations employed by Arlington County. The two cost Arlington taxpayers about $90,000 annually, and that was the cost when we last checked three years ago.

So what else did the Examiner write in their local editorial? It cites abuses in both Arlington County and the city of Alexandria. In Arlington, the editorial notes the county’s threat to use eminent domain to acquire the property at 2020 14th Street North for a homeless shelter while one of Alexandria’s uses of eminent domain will result in a case before the Virginia Supreme County next year. Here’s how the editorial concludes:

“The Fifth Amendment expressly forbids taking private property for public use "without just compensation," but that is exactly what Arlington and Alexandria officials have been trying to do. The proposed amendment to the Virginia Constitution merely reaffirms what the Bill of Rights already guarantees: If the government takes your land for any reason, you will receive a fair price in return. It's not too much to ask.”

Believe it or not, the newspaper writes that “(e)ven Del. David Englin, D-Alexandria, who voted against the constitutional amendment the first time, said that he may vote for it this time around to send a "foot-stomping" message to City Hall to back off.”

Again, kudos to the Washington Examiner.

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