Guest Rant

I’ve been away for a bit, but fortunately faithful reader Chuck is picking up the slack. He submits:

I’m sure it has been said earlier, but I first heard the quote “…humans, above all else, crave power…” from “Lord of the Rings” – so I give credit to J.R.R. Tolkien. (Thank God for Hobbitt’s…)

This was certainly evident in the recent village of Brockport political elections – which are over, thankfully. Perhaps some of the candidates were motivated by frustration at what they perceive as ineptitude by the current office holders, but it seemed to me that a number of those seeking office were coveting the spotlight and looking for an opportunity to puff out their chests. Leading (be it a church or country) and advancing an agenda is one thing, wielding power for personal gain is absolutely another.

I was thinking the recent ‘Eminent Domain’ decision by the US Supreme Court granting public entities the authority to essentially sieze private property (for fair market value…) where the public benefits might have made an appearance in your Blog. Being the naïve sort that I am, I felt the argument that increasing the property tax base (by building strip malls or office buildings in place of private residences) in and of itself formed a public benefit was tenuous at best. One of my co-workers (a staunch Republican…) used the “re-distribution of wealth” theory – being able to collect more tax dollars and re-distribute them to the masses in the form of public services is a public benefit. I still think it is kind of weak, but the authority has been granted/upheld by 5 out of 9 brighter minds than mine. I believe the decision not only grants the local municipalities the authority to make this decision, it also gives them the power to write legislation regulating this practice, so I guess it isn’t quite so Draconian, but whenever private property ownership rights take a hit it catches my attention. I’ll have to research this one more.

We started to ponder the ramifications. What are some of the other low tax rate properties? Churches, synagogues, cemeteries…

I would like to think that the officials that would permit (not to mention those that would even suggest, much less propose) replacing a place of worship with an office park wouldn’t be elected to a second term, but the damage would already be done…

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