Bill Davitt makes some excellent points about the dangers of giving politicians power to control blight through eminent domain. He also explains why it is best to vote for Carlos Mayans for mayor of Wichita.
Bill warns us that your home or business may be declared blighted even though it is in good and desirable condition. He is referring to cases all over the country where local officials abuse their power to declare property blighted so that it can be taken from its owners. The Castle Coalition has examples of property that is being declared blighted. You be the judge as to the condition of these properties:
Testimony of William T. Davitt before Senate Judiciary Committee of Kansas Legislature at 9:00 A.M. on Thursday, March 1, 2007 AGAINST amending BLIGHT into Kansas Statutes as an excuse for EMINENT DOMAIN.
My name is William T. Davitt from Wichita. Everything I say is my opinion, belief and understanding.
Last August I went to a meeting called by Wichita City Manager. 250 people in the room. Fancy buffet with salmon sandwiches along the wall.
Up on the stage two members of Wichita City Council show color slides on large screen. “Oh, look at the beautiful swimming pool, manicured lawn, attractive apartments! It is so wonderful that we are going to have all this in Wichita REDEVELOPMENT!”
Standing at the microphone, big developer from St. Louis explains that he will continue owning these new apartments and collecting the rent. Says he is going to KNIT together churches and schools, city and county government, taxpayers and philanthropists.
Question from audience: “What if we don’t want to sell our land to you?” Answer of developer: “We’ll TAKE IT with EMINENT DOMAIN … clean up Wichita’s BLIGHT!”
And BLIGHT is why we are here today. They want the legislature to nail BLIGHT in Kansas Statutes so they can use BLIGHT as an excuse to destroy our homes and places of business with a bulldozer, take our land away from us, turn our land over to big developer from St. Louis so he can build rental apartments and scoop in millions of dollars in profits for himself.
Well, you say your home is so beautiful that they can never declare your home BLIGHTED. Don’t kid yourself.
BLIGHT is going to be whatever the Kansas Supreme Court says it is following the argument of BIG LAW FIRMS representing BIG DEVELOPERS . . . because every judge on Kansas Supreme Court owes his job to a handful of BIG LAW FIRMS.
That is why we desperately need an amendment to our Kansas Constitution taking selection of these judges away from BIG LAW FIRMS and requiring these judges to be confirmed by Kansas Senate as is done in the federal.
We also desperately need an amendment to our Kansas Constitution that will protect our homes and places of business from EMINENT DOMAIN.
What more can I say?
William T. Davitt
Note that Wichita City Council member Carl Brewer IS in favor of creating a REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY.
Wichita Mayor Carlos Mayans IS NOT in favor of creating a REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY.