Letter to Editor about Governor Perry's eminent domain farce

The letter below was written by Linda Lancaster whose entire family on her mother’s side has land and corn-producing farms in the path of TTC-35 east of Temple. She contacted Governor Perry’s office about his feigned new-found love of private property rights and said that if the Trans Texas Corridor was a regular road for public use that she couldn’t really argue if it were indeed for public use, but because Perry wants to seize our land and turn it over to a for-profit private tolling company, that is using the power of eminent domain for economic development. She rightly cannot understand how the State can seize someone’s business (farm) and turn the property over to someone else’s business (toll company). And, as in Arlington, she fails to understand how they can tax hotels/car rental businesses and make that tax go towards building someone else’s private business (Cowboys stadium).

Our answer to Linda: The reason we cannot understand such hypocrisy and exploitation is due to the scope and depth of corruption in government today. The average Texan is beginning to understand how special interest politics (where one special interest exploits both the taxpayers and fellow businesses for their own personal gain by simply greasing the palms of politicians to get pet projects and laws passed) will rob them of their own property and their ability to make a living or to pass on a heritage. That’s what needs to stop, but it won’t without a Texas-sized tax revolt!

Dear Editor:

To see Gov. Perry use Susette Kelo for a photo-op in several newspapers while claiming to value property rights makes me physically ill.   Mrs. Kelo is the public face of eminent domain abuse in America.  Mrs. Kelo fought her town’s plan to seize her home and land to turn over to private developers wanting to build condos, retail shops, and a resort hotel in Connecticut.  Her case went all the way to the Supreme Court, whose shameful 5-4 decision (Kelo vs. New London) in 2005 opened the floodgates for local/state governments to take land and hand it over to private developers. This is pure “Robin Hood” in reverse — take from the poor and give to the rich.

It is our dear Gov. Perry who is behind the biggest land grab in Texas history.  His Trans Texas Corridor private toll road is scheduled to seize 580,000 acres from Texas landowners.  Our state will seize land and farms from owners, turn it over to a private for-profit tolling company, then let overtaxed drivers pay back the money in exchange for building the tollroads.  This plan is not dead yet; it has simply undergone a name change and a public relations makeover.  Mr. Perry’s “Toll Roads Across Texas” and eminent domain plans are alive and well.

Now that Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is running for the governor’s office, our dear Gov. Perry has become a “fan” of strengthening eminent domain laws (the same ones he vetoed in 2006).  You’re much too late, Governor.  You sit silent while land and homes are seized all across the great state of Texas for condos, retail shops, stadiums, private toll roads, and other forms of PRIVATE development.  It is obvious that you favor private developers, businesses, and lobbyists over your constituents.  Our forefathers’ 5th Amendment definition of “public use” was meant for roads, bridges, schools, etc., not playgrounds for the rich and famous.  You are selling off our entire state.  What’s next, the Alamo?  You should be ashamed to say you value property rights, farmers, and our Texas heritage.  What a laugh!

Linda Lancaster
Arlington, TX

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