Tuesday, September 21, 2004

TODAY'S HEADLINERS (Tues. 9/21)

After a long fight with city officials, a judge in Cypress, California
(part of the Los Angeles metro area) has decided to allow a church to keep its land. The Los Angeles Times reported that the Cottonwood Christian Center was looking to relocate because of space concerns to an 18-acre plot. But the local government wanted to put a Costco there, and threatened to condemn the land and forcibly take it from the church. Said the Times: What ensued was a national debate that pitted religious freedom against city redevelopment rights. Redevelopment rights? Does anyone consider it sad that what is considered one of the more fundamental rights in America today is the right of the government to seize private property from individuals who rightfully attained it? Cypress officials said they welcome Cottonwood and that the fight had never been about blocking the church, but about standing for the city's right to redevelop. "We stood on principles," Mayor Tim Keenan said earlier in the week. If by "stood" you mean "trampled."

Here’s yet another example showing that nothing behooves the government more than having to pay compensation for its frequent landgrabs. In Holland, Michigan, a man is finally getting local authorities to pay up for seizing his land for environmental reasons, according to the Holland Sentinel. Ottawa County Circuit Judge Calvin Bosman ruled in May that a ban on building a home constituted a taking of Heaphy's property and that the state would be required to compensate him. “Compensate.” Now there’s a four-letter word if you’re paid with tax dollars.

Here’s one that hits close to home for me. In Baltimore, the Sun reports that the Jones Falls Expressway, which cuts straight through Baltimore, is finally finishing up its two-year construction project. I imagine Sun employees are jumping for joy, seeing as how much I remember them complaining about it. Even better, the government promises they won’t “improve” the roads – for now, at least. For the first time since the mid-1980s, JFX commuters can look forward to several years without major reconstruction projects holding up traffic on the city's segment of Interstate 83. That’s a good thing. Nothing spells disaster for Maryland roads like new government improvements.

Businesses in New Hampshire are looking to expand their trade options with Canada, according to the Manchester Union-Leader". “What we’re trying to do is meet with Canadian companies that are interested in expanding into the states, specifically New Hampshire,” said Department of Resources and Economic Development Commissioner Sean O’Kane. “An obvious advantage to New Hampshire is the proximity of the border and we share such a deep and rich cultural heritage with our Canadian neighbors that there is just a good symmetry there, plus we have the business base and the customer base existing here for them already.” Kumbaya. That sounds great to me, as long as we make sure we only give them stuff. We don’t want to get anything in return. Imports will cost us jobs.

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