No one should lose their home just because it lacks curb appeal. Unless the Governor and legislature come to an agreement on eminent domain reform, that will continue to be the situation. That's because the state's "Slum Clearance and Redevelopment" laws let municipalities seize property for such vague reasons as poor "street layout" or "diversity of ownership," whatever that means.
The Governor vetoed Arizona's response to Kelo v. City of New London, in which the U.S. Supreme Court let government take land for local tax enhancement. Napolitano defended her veto by saying, "Arizona law generally protects the legitimate rights of property owners..."
Are private property rights really secure? Yes, the state constitution protects private property to some degree, but the "Slum Clearance and Redevelopment" laws need to be cleaned up.
Government should be forced to meet stringent requirements before they can take away a person's property. And, our laws should expressly prohibit government from taking private property for private gain. Until these changes are made our property will not be safe.
Benjamin Barr is a constitutional policy analyst with the Goldwater Institute Center for Constitutional Studies.
-Goldwater Institute: "This Land is My Land: Reforming Eminent Domain after Kelo v. City of New London"
-Goldwater Institute: "Condemning Condemnation: Alternatives to Eminent Domain"
- East Valley Tribune: "Making sure your land is yours"