Comments about ‘In our opinion: Caution is necessary when Utah transit projects engage in the practice of eminent domain’

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Published: Wednesday, July 9 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

Updated: Wednesday, July 9 2014 10:26 a.m. MDT

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Question
Cottonwood Heights, UT

My father-in-law had his business on 3500 So in West Valley closed by UDOT to make room for the UTA hub west of the mall. That's fine. He was paid what the land was worth, but nothing for income the business would have generated. He's old, so he didn't open a new store.

Like I said, that's fine. It was a sacrifice for the improvement of our transportation needs. But I drove by the other day, and the UTA hub is not on his land. It's now a taco shop. It's CLOSE to the UTA hub, but his store was sold to become a taco stand.

I'm sure that guy who wanted to open the taco place paid a LOT for that prime location (right next to the TRAX Station, Bus Station, and the mall). Probably more than they paid my father-in-law for the condemned land.

If UTA or UDOT is making money reselling land they condemned and got cheep... there needs to be an investigation...

No One Of Consequence
West Jordan, UT

That's a lot of words to say, "...public entities must always exercise extreme caution when seeking to use this sweeping power."

Looks like a rubber-stamp approval of UTA's heavy hand.

We need to rethink the way the UTA functions. As they open rail lines bus service is trimmed in the outlying areas, providing service to fewer people with each expansion of the UTA railroad. UTA is not run with the best interests of the public at heart.

Pendergast
Salt Lake City, UT

Because of Kelo v New London, it really does not matter.

Lets us all thank the right leaning SCOTUS? or not!

Darrel
Eagle Mountain, UT

@Question

If the events are as you say, I would take UDOT and UTA to court over the matter.

marxist
Salt Lake City, UT

I remember a fellow who operated what used to be the Salt Lake City scales @ 400 West and 200 South. The city sold those scales to him. He provided a service to the general public - giving people a heads up on the weights of their loads before an "official" weigh in. This was his whole life and future. The RDA gave him $28,000 when Gateway was built. This basically destroyed his future - he was handicapped wheelchair bound.

I generally oppose eminent domain because compassion never figures in.

marxist
Salt Lake City, UT

"In the case of factory owner Kerry Hamblin, “just compensation” for his business — which UTA wants to condemn in order to build a central bus garage — would be $2,000,000. UTA insists that the value is only $260,000."

In capitalism this is one of the few opportunities for a little guy to stand up to the big guys. UTA should have to cough up the entire $2,000,000. So I say - you want capitalism - then NO EMINENT DOMAIN. There are too few opportunities for the little people to stand up to the big guys.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

@marxist, Pendergast, etc,

How is UTA (Government), UDOT (Government), and the government in general using eminent domain to close businesses, evict land owners, etc.... "Capitalism"?

Capitalism is mostly irrelevant to this discussion... it's government we're talking about (not Capitalism). When the government takes over you property, or your business... that's NOT "Capitalism"... it's more like "Socialism" isn't it?

Fitness Freak
Salt Lake City, UT

UTA exists for one reason only - to enrich the (already)6 figure salaries of those at the top. The head honcho makes close to 400k! There are a lot of others over 100k. The fact that they move people place to place is just a "sideline" to their enrichment at the expense of the public.

Yesterday, there was a story about a new fast bus system in south david county. Of course, the city leaders thought it was the "cats meow".
Only problem is: I would bet a months pay that it won't get built UNLESS Davis county residents agree to a tax increase (similar to S.L.County's)to fund it.

A quasi-public entity like this is simply a way to fleece the taxpayer dollars with very little oversight.

Put UTA under the control of UDOT and the money you could save on fat cat salaries could provide A LOT of bus rides!

Herbie
Cottonwood Heights, UT

In my opinion, if something is SO important to have that you have to kick people off their own property then "just compensation" should be 3, 5, or even 10 times what the land is "worth".

marxist
Salt Lake City, UT

RE: 2bits "Capitalism is mostly irrelevant to this discussion... it's government we're talking about (not Capitalism). When the government takes over you property, or your business... that's NOT "Capitalism"... it's more like "Socialism" isn't it?"

Capitalist and socialist systems both have governments. In a socialist system there is more of a social "safety net." China, before going whole hog capitalist, was an example of this. Capitalism produces massive wealth on one end, and want on the other - we are well on our way to that situation. My point is that under capitalism it's rate that a little guy can take a slice out of a big guy. There needs to be more such opportunities. Property ownership without eminent domain is such an opportunity. That was my point.

RBB
Sandy, UT

Pendergast, I do not get your comment. While Kelo was one of the worst decisions to come out of the Supreme Court, it was not from the right leaning justices. O'Connor, Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas were the DISSENT. That is not the end of the story however.

SCOTUS ruled on public use in the U.S. Constitution. There is nothing to stop the Utah Supreme Court from finding that the similar term in the Utah Constitution is limited to what it says - public use (not we can get more money by taking their land and handing it off to our developer buddy).

Ironically, some of the land that the City of New London took from its citizens is vacant because the developer could not get a loan for the project.

Hopefully the State of Utah respects property rights and only allows the taking of property when the state is actually going to use it. Otherwise, we are all just serfs living and the States land until it decides it has a more financially productive use for it.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

@marxist,

So... how is the government taking your business or your land... "Capitalism"???

I know both have governments. I'm NOT anti-government.

What I'm pointing out is... people above blamed this on Capitalism... How so???

Governments taking over private businesses... is what happens in Socialism (not capitalism).

Governments taking private property and businesses, is a tactic of Socialist regimes... not a society that values private ownership and private property rights.

It's a socialist tactic for governments to take over private businesses.. not a Capitalist thing.

And who controls the courts... the little guy? Or the Government? So.. who's going to win?

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