Saturday, June 25, 2005

Football is More Important that Freedom in Dallas

We all love NFL football, right? If you want to give up your home to make way for a new stadium and condos, well, that's your right. But if you'd rather keep your home, I guess you're just out of luck. If this bothers you, write to the Dallas Cowboys and let them know:

The Arlington City Council is expected to authorize on Tuesday eminent domain proceedings against as many as 19 properties needed for a new Dallas Cowboys stadium and approve resolutions paving the way for 33 more condemnations in the coming weeks.

Mayor Robert Cluck said the properties are owned by individuals who are either unwilling to sell or are demanding an unreasonable price for their homes or lots. Some have not responded to the city's offers, he said, and a few would not allow city negotiators on their property. "If they can't make reasonable counteroffers," Dr. Cluck said, "we have to use this tool."

City officials said they would continue to negotiate with property owners through Tuesday to try to avoid the need for condemnation. However, Dr. Cluck said, some homeowners are unlikely to settle without legal action.

The city's announcement came a day after the U.S. Supreme Court released a decision confirming that cities have wide latitude in condemning property for economic development purposes. That decision, which Dr. Cluck said didn't affect the timing of next week's votes, means that federal appeals of condemnations for the stadium in Arlington are unlikely.

Robert Magnus, whose house is on the condemnation list, said he was unaware of the City Council's vote next week, but he's not surprised. He had hoped that the Supreme Court would help him with its Kelo v. New London case.

Mr. Magnus would not say how much the city has offered him for the house he's owned for two years, but he said it wasn't enough to pay off his mortgage.
"They are just giving me pennies and telling me to get out," he said.