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Lawyer Bonanza or Protection of Private Property Rights

On November 20, 2011, we growled after reading that local jurisdictions feared the impact of the proposed constitutional amendment that would strengthen Virginia’s eminent domain legislation. Then on December 4, we growled again, saying kudos were due an editorial in the Washington Examiner.

Well, it looks as if some members of Arlington’s legislative delegation in Richmond are siding with local jurisdictions rather than with the property rights of citizens. At the Arlington County Civic Federation’s monthly meeting on Tuesday evening, January 3, one member of Arlington’s delegation, Del. Bob Brink predicted, “It’s going to be a lawyer’s bonanza if it passes, as I expect it will,” while Senator-elect Barbara Favola said, “On many levels, this is a very bad idea,” according to the report by Scott McCaffrey in the Arlington Sun Gazette yesterday.

McCaffrey also pointed out:

“Arlington officials painted a number of doomsday scenarios, suggesting that the county government could be financially liable to property owners when shutting down roads for parades or even for SWAT-team activity.

“More seriously, county officials have reason to be concerned that the proposed constitutional amendment could complicate their efforts to grab control of a private office building in the Courthouse area for use as a homeless-services center. And it could conceivably increase the cost of public-works projects, such as the planned Columbia Pike streetcar line, if business owners have to be compensated when the public loses access to their facilities.”

Sure doesn't look like Arlington’s representatives in Richmond are on the side of Arlington residents. We think the protection of private property rights trumps the rights of local or state government. More importantly, as we growled on November 20, the number of abuses of property rights in Virginia warrants the strengthening of Virginians' property rights.

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