Prince William County

Bills To Prevent Abusive Backdoor Eminent Domain In House And Senate Committees Monday!

On Monday in Richmond, lawmakers in each chamber will consider bills to curb a backdoor way government agencies now are using to subvert out recently passed Property Rights Amendment to the Virginia Constitution. The House Courts of Justice Civil Law Sub-Committee will consider HB 738 and the full Senate Courts of Justice Committee will consider SB 194, bills designed to protect property owners from inverse condemnation. Virginians ratified the Property Rights Amendment with 75 percent of the vote in 2012. It is a shame that after such a massive victory for families and for liberty from big government, we still must fight eminent domain abuse. But the hideous procedure of inverse condemnation circumvents the Property Rights Amendment, which prohibits many instances of eminent domain abuse and guarantees fair compensation in cases where a government taking is necessary.

Here's what VDOT and other government agencies now do: When it needs land, it publicly announces its intention to take land for "development rights" or for "conservation easements." However, the agencies don't make an offer for the land. Meanwhile, the property instantly loses massive value.

The property owner can’t sell it to anyone, because nothing can be done to the land. The government agency can take its time — often years — until the property is so cheap, its compensation to the owners for the taking is a fraction of what it once was worth. This is a backdoor method of making taxpayers subsidize government!

The perfect example of this is the Bi-County Parkway in Prince William and Loudon Counties. There, the Virginia Department of Transportation forced conservation easements on all property owners, even though every property owner has written their opposition to their properties' inclusion as easements.

The bills will protect property values by allowing the owner to get compensation for what the land was worth at the beginning of the process. They also dovetail with the Property Rights Amendment's language that allows property owners to receive just legal expenses in these indirect takings, just as owners do who have their land taken by conventional eminent domain. Often, property owners are intimidated from going to court for fear of expensive court costs.

Please click here for members of the House Courts of Justice Civil Law Sub-Committee. Ask the delegates to support Delegate Scott Lingamfelter's HB 738 Monday afternoon.

Please click here for members of the Senate Courts of Justice Committee. Ask the senators to support Senator Dick Black's SB 194 Monday morning.

Despite 75 Percent Approval Of 2012 Property Rights Amendment, Government Still Engaged In Eminent Domain Abuse

On Wednesday afternoon, the Senate Courts of Justice Committee will consider SB 194, a bill to protect property owners from inverse condemnation, a technique that subverts the Property Rights Amendment Virginians passed with 75 percent of the vote in 2012, after government bureaucrats prevented it from reaching the ballot for years. It is a shame that after such a massive victory for families and for liberty from big government, we still must fight eminent domain abuse. Here’s what VDOT and other government agencies now do: When it needs land, it publicly announces its intention to take land for "development rights" or for "conservation easements." However, the agencies don’t make an offer for the land. Meanwhile, the property, often in the same family for decades, or invested in for retirement or for family needs, such as paying for children’s college education, instantly loses massive value.

The property owner can’t sell it to anyone, because nothing can be done to the land. The government agency can take its time — often years — until the property is so cheap, it’s compensation to the owners for the taking is a fraction of what it once was worth. This is a backdoor method of making taxpayers subsidize government!

The perfect example of this is the Tri-County Parkway in Prince William and Loudon Counties. There, the Virginia Department of Transportation and the federal government teamed up to "grant" conservation easements to land in a historic district so as to build a road near a historic battlefield. Yet, it asked no property owners if they wanted the easements and, in fact, every property owner wrote asking for their land to be removed from the easements. But, the government is sticking to its position.

Please contact members of the Senate Courts of Justice Committee, especially if your senator is a member. Ask them to support Senator Dick Black's SB 194 this Wednesday. The bill will protect property values by allowing the owner to get compensated for what the land was worth at the beginning of the process.

The bill also dovetails with the Property Rights Amendment’s language that allows property owners to receive just legal expenses in these indirect takings, just as owners do who have their land taken by conventional eminent domain. Currently, property owners, especially older ones, are intimidated from going to court for fear of expensive court costs.

ACTION: Please contact members if the Senate Courts of Justice Committee and urge them or her to vote yes Wednesday on SB 194, to prevent this shameless method of government taking families’ lands on the cheap and circumventing the Property Rights Amendment!

 

 

 

TEA Party Queen Looks Into Options

Is Jamie Radtke making moves that would confirm our pre-recent-election speculation that she is interested in running for office? It all started after her very successful Virginia TEA Party Convention (see Lynn Mitchell in the Washington Examiner) in October that prompted Virginia politics commentator Dr. Bob Holsworth to write on his Virginia Tomorrow blog that she would be a formidable candidate for office one day. But, we wondered, which office?  Then, late last week, she resigned as chairwoman of the Virginia TEA Party Patriots Federation, according to Anita Kumar at the Washington Post's Virginia Politics blog, in order to explore a possible a campaign for the U.S. Senate seat now occupied by Jim Webb. This followed her victory in a poll at Bearing Drift over more established and likely candidates, including the previous holder of that seat, George Allen, as well as Prince William County Board Chairman Corey Stewart, and Delegate Bob Marshall.

According to the Post, Radtke, as we thought, was thinking of a Virginia Senate run. But after the success of the convention, she has been encouraged to think globally, as it were. Is it all a head fake, to build visibility for a 2011 state Senate GOP primary run after all? Could that also be said for Stewart's recent interest in the job, since he long has eyed the Lt. Governor's post? (See his provocative interview at tbd.com.) Then there's the possibility, as reported by the Post and Bearing Drift that former Congressman Tom Davis may seek the GOP nomination as well.

So, will Virginia join some states from this year's election and throw a Boston Tea Party in two years or settle for a traditional, genteel tea party, complete with appropriate china? For the junkie, 2012 can't get here soon enough. For some of us, can't we just get through the General Assembly and the 2011 elections, first?

Now, It's Shannon's Turn

We know why the three Democrat candidates for statewide office are reluctant to debate, even though they are behind in the polls — they either don't know their own positions (see Creigh Deeds tax and Marriage Amendment videos) or don't know much about the job they are seeking (see Jody Wagner video). Now it's Delegate Steve Shannon's turn to show his incompetence as he seeks election to attorney general, Virginia's second most important office. Tuesday, we commented on a debate he and his Republican attorney general opponent, Senator Ken Cuccinelli, had on WTOP-AM in Washington, D.C. It didn't go well for Shannon, then. Last night, in Prince William County, it got worse. Also, again, it wasn't broadcast. But we do have the magic of YouTube and, with his performance, Shannon might become a bigger video celebrity than Deeds, whose tax video has been seen by 50,000-plus people.  

In the video, Senator Cuccinelli asks Delegate Shannon to name the divisions within the attorney general's office and their functions. Shannon doesn't know! He says it's a gotcha question, as if not knowing the structure of the commonwealth's law firm is a trivial matter, and refuses to answer! (Hear the derisive laughs from the audience.) Does he think the governor doesn't have to know how many cabinet departments there are, or their functions? 

At the end, you can hear Delegate Shannon tell a reporter, "It's been a bad week . . . for Ken." If polls showing his opponent up by double digits is his idea of bad, no wonder he thinks he answered the question!

Wagner Ducks Debate With Bolling Over Rumored Math Portion?

A lot of nonsense has been recklessly thrown around in the discussion over the reason Democrat Lieutenant Governor candidate Jody Wagner bailed on a scheduled debate in Prince William County with incumbent Republican Lieutenent Governor Bill Bolling. Sure, there were disputes between the two camps over rules, format, moderator, etc., but all were worked out. However, we have heard on the deepest of deep background that the non-negotiable from Ms. Wagner was the math test portion of the debate. Especially troubling to her were the proposed old school word problems. You know, exercises such as:

If tax collections come in at Y in Year 1, but are scheduled to come at X in Year 2, and X is six billion dollars less than Y, how much money do you spend in Year 2? 

And . . .

If you forecast revenue at Y amount in Year 2 and it comes in even lower in Year 3, forcing your boss, the governor, to make more unpopular budget cuts, even though you were warned not to project so much revenue, how soon do you leave your job as Secretary of Finance and run for statewide office in Year 4?

And, of course . . .

How many days does it take to remove a news release with false information from your Web site, even after the organization issuing it admits its mistake?

All kidding aside, we're greatly disappointed the debate didn't come off — in reality because Ms. Wagner wouldn't agree to a stipulation banning video from future television ads, a normally agreement in campaigns, used most recently in the gubernatorial debate in Fairfax — because we'd like Ms. Wagner a chance to finally be "clear" about her positions (libs seem to use that word a lot) and to finally begin "to communicate with the public,"  opportunities she has previously claimed she has not had.

Which leads us to ask, If candidate Y is down in the polls by X amount, and down in fundraising by Z amount, how many debates does she duck?