It’s little wonder that a newspaper that agreed in 2005 with the nearly universally reviled Kelo decision would jeer Virginia’s current attempt to protect wicked “special interests” — home and small-business owners, farmers, the less educated and less well-off — from abuse by eminent domain [“Corporate welfare in Va.,” editorial, Nov. 2].
Virginians require a unique solution because their constitution contains an odd quirk: The General Assembly is explicitly permitted to change the definition of “public use” — what delineates how eminent domain can be used — from year to year. Question 1 simply declares the right to property as fundamental and prevents further politicization of the government’s power to forcibly acquire property.
As for compensation, the cost of each road or utility project will not “skyrocket”; it will be exactly the same. Only now, instead of the home or business owner bearing the greater burden of a condemnation, the public will pay a little more, which seems only fair when the public is the one that benefits.
Steven Anderson, Arlington
The writer is an attorney with the Institute for Justice, which argued Kelo v. City of New London before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Post decried the Virginia property rights amendment on Tuesday’s ballot as protection for big business. That’s the opposite of the truth.
As a state legislator who sponsored this amendment, I can tell you that this isn’t about protecting special interests. It’s about protecting Virginians from special interests. It’s an effort to protect our right to own property — a right that has been abused by Virginia governments and others. Landowners currently get little to no compensation if, because of a government taking, they lose access to their property and have to build a new access road or driveway. And businesses lose the costs of moving and the loss of business when they’re forced to close while moving. These aren’t big corporations; they’re mostly family-run businesses and farms that can’t afford such losses.
The amendment, which had bipartisan support in the General Assembly, would give just compensation for these expenses. That’s not “corporate welfare,” as The Post called it. That’s protecting the little guys from the powerful and connected.
Johnny S. Joannou, Portsmouth
The writer, a Democrat, is a member of the Virginia House of Delegates.