#ncpol: Taken

Imagine that someone rings your doorbell, announces theyits_mine_mine_mine are with Mega-Corporation X, and that they are going to give you Y-amount of dollars for your property.  You aren’t interested in moving.  Your home and the surrounding property have been in your family for generations.  Yet, if you dare to protest, Mega-Corp X can simply team up with local pols and bureaucrats, while promising “economic development” and “jobs” and simply run over you and your property via eminent domain.  If government — and / or the big contributors to elected officials — decide that your land is needed, they are going to get it.

We reported a while back about an electrical contractor in Fayetteville that had its offices seized by the city via eminent domain.  The contractor had recently renovated a historic building.  The city got a federal grant to build a “transportation hub” in the vicinity of the contractor’s offices.  City leaders decided they needed the contractor’s property and executed eminent domain actions.  The contractor lawyered up MV5BMTM4NzQ0OTYyOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDkyNjQyMg@@._V1_SX640_SY720_and eventually got tossed some cash.  But HOW SCARY is it that government can come along and decide — out of the blue — that they need your property for one of their schemes? 

A Johnston County farmer and businessman is experiencing something similar:

Trent Lassiter might be marrying into a fairly famous family, engaged to the sister of local country music star Scotty McCreery, but it doesn’t appear to have changed who he is. In fact, standing along a country road in front of his pickup truck, it’s obvious that while he is a self-made businessman, he’s also a proud country boy who loves the small community he calls home.

Situated just outside of Selma, along I-95, it’s the only home he’s ever known, living and working on land that’s been passed down from generation to generation in his family dating back to the 1700’s.

“This is where I grew up, this is where I learned how to catch my first fish in that farm pond,” Trent says, gesturing in one direction. “I learned how to turn a wrench in that shop,” he says pointing in the opposite direction. “I had a dream of building a business, and I was so proud to be able to do it on my family farm,” he adds.biggovt

And, in the less than three years since he built that business from the ground up, it’s already become a popular music venue hosting country acts like Scotty McCreery and Parmalee and serving as a spot for weddings and other events. Fittingly, it’s called “The Farm.” But, this past week Lassiter learned he’s going to lose not only that farm, but all the farmland surrounding it, including his grandfather’s old home. It all started with a phone call from his Dad last Thursday.

“My dad said, ‘Someone’s here from the railroad, you need to come to the house now. I walked in said, ‘Hello my name is Trent Lassiter, nice to meet you.’ [The stranger] said, ‘I’m Cameron Wilson from CSX,’ and before he hardly sat down the next words out of his mouth were ‘I am here to buy your family farm and your business.'”

The problem is, Lassiter, his father, and many of their neighbors don’t want to sell. But, so far it appears that’s a decision that’s not up to them. That’s because CSX has already settled on this land to serve as an intramodal terminal in Johnston County. As CSX explains on its website, The Carolina Connector, as it’s being called, “will connect eastern North Carolina directly to CSX’s extensive rail network and serve as a major transportation hub in the South.”

“We’ve been working with state officials for more than a year or two to identify the central location [for this],” explains Kristin Seay with CSX. “It’s ideal for us given the location between the rail line and I-95, and it’s great for the community, as well.”

CSX, the county, and state officials have all been touting the job creation that will result from this as one of the many benefits.[…]

*Sniff*.  *Why bother negotiating with landowners when you can simply get your lobbyists to have their bureaucrat and politico buddies bully those landowners into handing it over?*

But – but – but — Job Creation !!!!  Yep.  You can say that.  But the politicians and the bureaucrats said the same thing about The Global TransPark AND The Randy Parton Theatre. 

Leave “job creation” to actual entrepreneurs and risk-takers working within the confines of the market.  Government types — at least over the last eight years — have killed a hell of a lot more jobs than they have, um, “created.”

The lack of respect for property owners and their rights is absolutely frightening.  Where is the party of limited government on this? 

12 thoughts on “#ncpol: Taken

  1. In deciding between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, one of the key differences is that Donald Trump strongly supports eminent domain, and Ted Cruz supports property rights. That is one of the reasons, I am strongly for Cruz.

    (As to others, Rubio, Bush, Christie, and Kasich are for amnesty, and that makes them absolutely unacceptable)

  2. The JoCo thing is sad. I am sure there are many other tracts of land in that stretch where the owner would be glad to sell. This eminent domain thing is abused waaaay too much.

  3. Isn’t the GOP supposed to be the party of small limited government? The party that upholds and defends the Constitution? I guess that changes when the Chamber of Corruption comes calling with a fist full of campaign dollars! March on Shamelot, March on!

  4. I see rep david Rouzer bragging about this on his Facebook page. Sickening. Replace that man before he does any more harm to NC7.

    1. What did you expect from Rouzer? He is a former K Street special interest lobbyist, for pete’s sake. He is always going to put the special interests ahead of the interests of individual citizens.

      There is another DC special interest mouthpiece named Taylor Griffin running in the 3rd District this time, trying to take our conservative Walter Jones.

      Taxpayers do not need either Rouzer or Griffin. The Haynajker has shown where Griffin is backed by lots of DC and New York City money, and I’d bet Rouzer is, too.
      We do not need either New York City values or Washington beltway values representing us.

  5. Move it to the TransPark in Kinston where the land is available. This would truly be in Eastern NC and where the investment and jobs are needed the most!!! This would also assist both CSX and Norfolk Southern. If the taxpayers are investing over $100 million in the deal, we need to get the most bang for the buck! It’s the common sense solution to economic development.

    1. The point of this connector is to enhance the link between the Transpark and the I-95 corridor. Look at the STRACNET map.

      bit.ly/1QlNeHp (drag & drop)

      And then compare to McCrory’s NC Vision ’25:

      “Strengthen Military Connections
      Improve highway and rail connections between bases and to ports of embarkation and debarkation.”

      “Improve I-95 Connections
      Improve connections to the I-95 corridor from rail and seaports to serve markets throughout the eastern United States.”

      Selma sits at the spot where this connection between Transpark, the seaports, and the I-95 corridor (which includes the main north/south STRACNET route) has to happen. I strongly suspect that whatever commercial aspects are supposedly enhanced by this, the main driver is the military.

      I feel for this property owner, but if it comes down to him or what the military wants, who do you think wins? Maybe there’s some other property that could be used, but if they could have purchased it without risking the PR mess that this family farm represents, they probably would have done that.

  6. Forget it. It’s Strategic Rail Corridor Network (STRACNET). The military wants enhanced rail capacity, and NCDOT will force this through. The End.

    bit.ly/1QlNeHp (drag & drop)

    There’s already a connection to Transpark, which has strategic importance as the only civilian airfield in NC with a military-length airstrip.

  7. If Donald Trump supports eminent domain, then he is off my short list.
    Private Property Rights is one of the basic tenants of a free society. If that is not so, then why do all Communist Regimes stress that the land belongs to “all the people” and promote “collective farms” (which are always abject failures).
    And (of course) those who support government confiscation of Privately Owned Property will always use the mantras:
    “It’s for the public good. the military needs it, your land is in the way of a Public Works Project, (OR – and this is what our misguided Supreme Court ruled) more tax revenue can be generated if we allow “The Developer” to seize your private property.”
    Now, I may be a little slow on the uptake here, but wasn’t that one of the reasons the Revolutionary War was fought?
    (For you recent high school graduates……..oh hell, never mind)!

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