Friday, June 24, 2005

24: “…With Local Implications”, Part 3

Continued from Number 23: “…With Local Implications”, Part 2

Start at Number 22: "...With Local Implications" Part 1

According to the U.S. Department of State on its website US Info, an American farmer, writing at the end of the Revolution stated,

“The instant I enter on my own land, the bright ideas of prosperity, of exclusive right, of independence exalt my mind. Precious soil, I say to myself, by what singular custom of law is it that thou wast made to constitute the riches of the freeholder? What should we American farmers be without the distinct possession of that soil? It feeds, it clothes us, from it we draw even a great exuberancy, our best meat, our richest drink, the very honey of our bees comes from this privileged spot. No wonder we should thus cherish its possession, no wonder that so many Europeans who have never been able to say that such portion of land was theirs, cross the Atlantic to realize that happiness. Thus formerly rude soil has been converted by my father into a pleasant farm, and in return it has established all our rights; on it is founded our rank, our freedom, our power as citizens. [J. Hector de St. Jean Crevecoeur, Letters from an American Farmer (1782)]”

Wednesday’s Supreme Court decision allowing eminent domain to be used to seize private property and give it to private developers includes properties owned by non-profit organizations, which includes churches. It also includes such places as the Daniel Lady Farm in Straban Township, a piece of property owned by the non-profit Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association. Straban Township has coveted the property for a long time so it could be developed. Its 140 acres are prime for housing, and commercial development, and even some small industrial plants. Straban needs the property to put a second exit/entrance from Pennsylvania Route 116 through to the development under construction beside the Giant Supermarket on the site of old Camp Letterman along York Street. The construction is on the property previously owned by former Straban Township Supervisor Roy Thomas.

Under the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Straban Township can declare the Daniel Lady Farm eminent domain, and take it for municipal and private development with impunity.

What can be done to stop this and other travesties here in Adams County? Let’s organize a list by priority:

  1. Force the legislature to repeal Act 71.
  2. File a suit seeking to overturn Act 71 based on its conflict of interest in the legislator’s power to appoint members of the Gaming Control Commission AND to own portions of casinos.
  3. Force accountability on local government by starting recall petitions. Do not wait until November. Start now. Target the Straban Township Supervisors, the Straban Township zoning Committee, the Adams County Commissioners, and the Adams County legislators, State and Federal. (Steve Maitland HAS come out opposed to the casinos, and then disappeared. Senator Santorum has also come out recently as opposed to a casino here. No one is actually doing anything about it.)
  4. Force accountability on the part of the Adams County Economic Development Corporation through legislative revisions to the laws enabling these Star Chambers. Shine some light on them. [Look for a blog, soon that exposes some problems with our own ACEDC!].
  5. Get Senator Santorum, and our local representatives to the U. S. House of Representatives to co-sponsor a Constitutional Amendment reversing the Supreme Court ruling on eminent domain issued on June 22, 2005.

Make no mistake about it, folks, your homes are in jeopardy. Those who sit there after reading this and say, “Oh, it wouldn’t happen to me!” had better take another look around their property, and picture a Sheetz on it, or a Ruby Tuesday or McDonalds – maybe even a casino.

These enormous erosions into your private rights, rights guaranteed by natural law as put forth by the likes of John Locke, and Thomas Jefferson, are extremely serious problems. They require strong measures. Nothing will get the attention of the legislators who have been doing this to you, to me, to all of us, faster than starting a recall petition. Make your voice heard. Demand IMMEDIATE action of your representatives, all of them. And just for insurance sake, start the recall petition anyway. Let them perform to YOUR satisfaction in order to keep their seats.

And for God’s sake, and for your sake, and the sake of your children, learn to avoid the Party Lever in the voting booth. Judge all of the candidates on their merits according to your personal yardstick.

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Gettysburg, PA 17325

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john mcnamee said...
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