Rosemount (Minnesota) Port Authority: Thieves?


Pretty blunt, Ken. Yeah, I suppose. But what else can it be called when a [city government takes someone’s property][1] not for a bridge or a road (things historically understood to fulfill the “public use” concept in eminent domain), but just because they want a shiny new commercial district. Keep in mind that this new take on “public use” (thanks [2005 Supreme Court][2]) could easily and logically be used to take your house so the government can have someone build a larger one in order to increase the tax base. As long as it’s called economic development.

The majority (five of seven) of the Rosemount Port Authority (RPA) voted to take the land. They were unhappy that this fellow named Hansen strolled in a purchased the land for an amount higher than the city appraisal. So they took it from him. Really, they couldn’t help it:

> “If we don’t go forward, we’re being held hostage” by one property owner, said commissioner Jay Tentinger.

Yes, because they must have their way. They can’t change or adapt their plan. (They wouldn’t want to have to [re-do the drawing][5].) It *must* be the way they want it. Now!

Yes, Veruca.

For us poor reg’lar folk, if we can’t pay the price someone is asking, we just make due without buying it. But the government? I guess they can just steal it away.

If this *isn’t* theft by government, what would the definition of theft by government be? They’re taking someone’s property against their will to give it to someone else who will profit from developing it in a way the city likes better. The “public” will not “use” this.

Maybe they should have left it in Hansen’s hands; he’s at least sharp enough to have known it had value and to have purchased it. In the meantime, it looks like the Rosemount Port Authority moved too slow and offered too little. Now they will use the force of government to make up for their lack of business savvy. (Say, they should be in charge of economic development!)

So, for those of you in Rosemount, next time you’re voting, remember that the following people are willing to take your property, as long as they feel they can do something “good” with it: Michael Baxter (chair), Council member Mark DeBettignies, Bruno DiNella, Mary Riley, and Jay Tentinger.

Only Mayor Bill Droste and Council member Phillip Sterner voted no.

Oh, my. Waitaminit. Guess what I just realized. Four of the five votes to steal are from appointed – not elected – members. Two of three who have to stand for election (the mayor and a City Council member) voted no.

So, this will be done at the hand of a majority of unelected people; people who can’t be booted from office for what they’ve done.

Well, folks, remember Council member Mark DeBettignies next time he’s running. Seems like he need a “Former” in his title.

And remember Mayor Bill Droste and Council member Phillip Sterner, too. Do not neglect. Re-elect! (That’s my Jackie Chiles impersonation.)

And from what I read in a [recent City Council minutes][3], it seems as though at least Mayor Droste would like to see the development happen. Apparently he just doesn’t want to steal to do it. (Though I can conceive more cynical scenarios, too.)

I know it’s the national stuff that gets the big press, but I really think that a lot of real stinky stuff happens at the very local level.

Y’know, this isn’t just conservative Ken talking. A [pretty broad spectrum of folks][4] find this kind of use of eminent domain pretty repulsive. And by the way, this kind of takings is now illegal in Minnesota, except for a loophole that RPA is using.

“I want the world. I want the *whole* world…”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *