We have all heard the phrase before, “It’s for the children.” In the best intentions much is done with that refrain in mind. We are asked to vote on, and are taxed by, we support their extracurricular activities, and defend their rights to a fair and proper education. We even move when we are in the way of that progress, that “for our children.”
The Everett School Board has voted 4-0, to use the very powerful and more widely used these days, Eminent Domain Process to drive property owners off of their properties. In the Eminent Domain process, you are supposed to receive fair compensation for your property that the government is condemning in order to obtain it. In the case of the Everett School District, they are using pricing measures that do not even allow these people to move next door, let alone a fair and honest evaluation. The numbers being reached by the ESD, and the property owners are far different than what the market says it should be. So in order to fight the few property owners, Eminent Domain is being used.
Eminent domain is the exercise of the power of government to acquire private property necessary for a public use on the payment of just compensation and following due process of law. Proceedings to take property under eminent domain are referred to as “condemnation” proceedings. The property that governments may condemn includes fee title as well as lesser interests in real property, such as easements, and also “non-physical” interests such as air rights.
Under long-standing case law, for a proposed condemnation to be determined by a court to be lawful, the condemning authority must prove that: (1) the use is really public; (2) the public interest requires it; and (3) the property appropriated is necessary for that purpose.
Private property may not be taken for private uses, except for limited purposes authorized by article 1, section 16 of the state constitution. That section states, in part, that “Private property shall not be taken for private use, except for private ways of necessity, and for drains, flumes, or ditches on or across the lands of others for agricultural, domestic, or sanitary purposes.” Nevertheless, the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005), raised concerns over whether the state constitution allows local governments to exercise the power of eminent domain for economic development purposes. See The Kelo Decision and Condemnation for Economic Development.
In the midst of paperwork meant to boggle the average mind, RCW’s that may or may not pertain to your case, and all manner of double speak, they always win. To be served papers on the 7th of a month and expect a 50 plus year family property to be vacated by the 20th of that same month is ridiculous at best and flies into the face of fairness. The Everett School Board and it’s ringleader who happens to be a professional at expanding properties more than education, needs to pay up and play fair and square. Needless to say that the property is already accounted for in a rezoning that will make it worth ten times the amount they have assessed it at. So this is not only a land grab in the most blatant way, but also a money making scheme for the district in the long run. Yes, we want our kids to be taken care of, but at which cost? I think it would serve them to teach right and wrong before they teach how to make money by any means.
Martin E. Douge