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Posted: 1/17/2006 6:06:54 AM EDT
Although I’m not from the great state of Oklahoma I thought this would be worth posting in your hometown forum.
It looks like the nasty eminent domain issue is alive and well and is now taking churches so that Home Depot can have a new home. Perhaps some may want to contact the responsible politicians and let them know how you feel.

Regards
Rich V

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From National review online
January 17, 2006, 9:26 a.m.
Unholy Land Grab
In the spirit of Kelo.

By Heather Wilhelm
For seven years, Reverend Roosevelt Gildon has preached the gospel at the Centennial Baptist Church in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. His congregation, around 50 strong, is like a small family. The elderly members, and those without cars, often walk to Sunday services.
“Rosey,” as his friends call him, figured he’d go on preaching in the tidy steel structure for years to come. That was, until the government told him they were taking his church away.
Since the Supreme Court's controversial Kelo decision last summer, eminent domain has entered a new frontier. It’s not just grandma’s house we have to worry about. Now it’s God’s house, too. “I guess saving souls isn’t as important,” says Reverend Gildon, his voice wry, “as raking in money for politicians to spend.” The town of Sand Springs, Oklahoma, has plans to take Centennial Baptist — along with two other churches, several businesses, dozens of small homes, and a school — and replace them with a new “super center,” rumored to include a Home Depot. It’s the kind of stuff that makes tax collectors salivate. It’s also the kind of project that brakes for no one, especially post-Kelo. “I had no idea this could happen in America,” says Reverend Gildon, after spending Monday morning marching in the Sand Springs Martin Luther King Day parade.
This unholy takeover goes back to Sand Springs’s controversial “Vision 2025” project, which emerged in 2003. The plan includes, according to its website, the “largest set of public redevelopment projects in the history of Tulsa County.” The money earmarked for Sand Springs was supposedly meant to focus on redeveloping an abandoned industrial area for big box retailers and other stores. One problem: Centennial Baptist Church isn’t abandoned, and unlike some of the other buildings in its neighborhood, it is in pristine condition. More importantly, the church doesn’t want to sell — and they have good reasons. “After I heard the news, we started looking to see if we could move,” Gildon said. “I just don’t think we can afford it. It’s too expensive. And if we can’t move, and they take our building, what happens to the church? If we leave, who is going to minister to the black community in Sand Springs?”
Reverend Gildon is a practical man. He’s not a firebrand, and he’s not looking for a fight. He just loves God and loves his church, and wants to continue serving his community. Unfortunately, local officials would rather have an extra parking lot for a new Bed Bath & Beyond.
It makes sense on one level. Churches don’t generate any tax revenue for the government to spend. They don’t “stimulate” the economy. They often, much to their peril, occupy prime, envied real estate. With the supercharged powers granted by Kelo, be very, very afraid.
What’s most egregious about this application of eminent domain is that there’s already plenty of room for development, even if the pesky church sticks around. Many community residents were happy to sell their property. Two other churches in the area decided to move to Tulsa. Other structures in the area were dilapidated and ready for the deal. The way things are now, Centennial Baptist Church could easily live side-by-side with new stores, houses, or businesses. Yet Centennial remains in the crosshairs — even though two nearby national chains, a taxpaying McDonald’s and a taxpaying O’Reilly’s muffler shop, have been left alone.
In December, Reverend Gildon joined up with Americans for Limited Government and our partner group, Oklahomans in Action, to gather signatures for the "Protect Our Homes" initiative, which will go on the ballot in November 2006. Protect our Homes is a measure designed to stop eminent-domain abuse. Right now, Americans for Limited Government is working with citizens in Michigan, Montana, Missouri, and several other states to do the same.
“I hope that my story makes people more aware,” said Reverend Gildon, “and that maybe it stops other people’s homes and churches from being taken against their will.” Meanwhile, he awaits his next meeting with the planning board, where they will tell him how much his church is worth. If things don’t change, it promises to be an offer he can’t refuse.

Link Posted: 1/17/2006 10:13:02 AM EDT
Eh,
we have enough baptist churches in OK anyway.

Link Posted: 1/17/2006 11:00:18 AM EDT

Originally Posted By olyeller:
Eh,
we have enough baptist churches in OK anyway.




+1
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 11:40:59 AM EDT
It could have been your local bar or whore house as well. It doesn't matter whether it is a church or whatever. It means some local developer pays bribes to some asswipe politicians, they get YOUR property or someone esle's CHEAP, whether you want to sell or not. Then they MAKE MILLIONS off the property while the orginal owners got just peanuts.
The justification is that your property is in the way of developing MORE TAX MONEY
Emminent domain is the right of the government to take your property for the good of the community not the for the GOOD of someones' bank accounts.
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 2:59:46 PM EDT

Originally Posted By danc46:
It could have been your local bar or whore house as well. It doesn't matter whether it is a church or whatever. It means some local developer pays bribes to some asswipe politicians, they get YOUR property or someone esle's CHEAP, whether you want to sell or not. Then they MAKE MILLIONS off the property while the orginal owners got just peanuts.
The justification is that your property is in the way of developing MORE TAX MONEY
Emminent domain is the right of the government to take your property for the good of the community not the for the GOOD of someones' bank accounts.





Something else we agree on.......
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 3:05:19 PM EDT

Originally Posted By acman145acp:

Originally Posted By danc46:
It could have been your local bar or whore house as well. It doesn't matter whether it is a church or whatever. It means some local developer pays bribes to some asswipe politicians, they get YOUR property or someone esle's CHEAP, whether you want to sell or not. Then they MAKE MILLIONS off the property while the orginal owners got just peanuts.
The justification is that your property is in the way of developing MORE TAX MONEY
Emminent domain is the right of the government to take your property for the good of the community not the for the GOOD of someones' bank accounts.





Something else we agree on.......



+1 Thats BS gettin to tkae what they want. Be it church property or bar or whatever. It doesn't matter what sign is hangin on the front door of the place.....its BS havin that kindof power.
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 3:11:16 PM EDT
I think eminant domain like this is a crock of shit. You guys go ahead and say "we have enough baptist churches in OK anyway" and then the next time some contractor comes and start taking your tracks of land and houses away from you and farms that have been in the family for the greater of the community dont start bitchen. There is a difference in highways, water supply then that of shopping centers, complexs and houseing additions. If this is the case then we dont own anything.


This will cause me to boycot who and whatever has any envolvement.


When this passed the supreme court I was under the impresion that oklahoma was not going to do it.
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 3:28:05 PM EDT
The taxpayers are getting ripped more and more in this country by special interests who own government officials. New Orleans will be rebuilt using OUR FEDERAL TAX dollars. Some of the land will have condos, etc built on land siezed by the government, The special interests who own the government officials will use government money to do it, then sell it to retirees, etc and make a killing. Very little capital outlay and big profits to the private sector using OUR TAX DOLLARS.
This abuse of eminent domain is almost theft and definitely a result of corruption.
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 3:50:44 PM EDT
When that Supreme Court Ruling was in the news they said that couldn't happen in Oklahoma, they had state laws preventing it?
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 8:14:06 PM EDT

Originally Posted By danc46:
It could have been your local bar or whore house as well. It doesn't matter whether it is a church or whatever. It means some local developer pays bribes to some asswipe politicians, they get YOUR property or someone esle's CHEAP, whether you want to sell or not. Then they MAKE MILLIONS off the property while the orginal owners got just peanuts.
The justification is that your property is in the way of developing MORE TAX MONEY
Emminent domain is the right of the government to take your property for the good of the community not the for the GOOD of someones' bank accounts.



Don't make ASSumptions there friend. I pretty sure that the righteous wouldn't bat an eye IF this was a bar or "whore house" (didn't know these existed in OK but whatever) By the article it seems that more than a few were "happy to sell their property" so it seems that a good number made out well from this deal.
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 9:26:09 PM EDT
JD8, an example of property being taken by emminent domain is the Urban Renewal of the 60s. Presbyterian Hospital on NE 13th in OKC was built on property that was taken for less than $75000. The land was then sold at a large markup of $1.2 million in the early 70s to build the hospital. On a 99 year lease!
If someone sells their home willingly and are happy, great. And you are right about a Baptist church keeping their mouth shut if it was a whore house. Yeah, they still exist in Oklahoma!
But paying someone a little so someone can use government clout to make a lot is NOT RIGHT!
Another example of misuse of funds is the MAPPS projects (Bricktown) in Oklahoma City. The ones who made the most money from it are the Gaylords (30% owners of BassPro) and James Norick (ex-mayor) and his partners. The Crystal Gardens were part of the original "String of Pearls" that fell apart due to lack of civic leadership in the late 70s and early 80s. I know all about the Crystal Gardens downtown. I busted the slab on it the mid 70s. It wasn't completed until the mid 80s. THey had to get it done before they ever started the MAPPS projects.
Take a look at the Cowboy Hall of Fame. It stood unfinished for almost a decade until the mid 70s.
What I'm saying is that civic leadership is not for the good of the community. It seems more to line the "civic leaders" pockets.
The renovation of the Skirvin Hotel in downtown OKC has some of the shadiest financing you ever saw, including using HUD clean up funds. Instead of calling it shady, they call it "complex".
There is very little enforcement of the law or real lax interpetation of the law when it comes to a few making lots of money at someone else's expense.
The Supreme Court decision about eminent domain concerned New Jersey property. People who had lived in the neighborhood for generations were forced to sale their homes to condo developers, not for a highway or road, airport, etc. that would improve the lot of the ENTIRE community, but to line the pockets of condo devleopers. The basis of the ruling was it would bring in more tax money for the community. And there is no guarentee how that tax money will be spent!
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