Statism on the left coast takes the most colorful forms, as this eminent domain taking by the city of Seattle proves.
The city is forcing a 103-year-old Spokane woman to sell her parking lot in Seattle to make way for, well, a parking lot.
The Seattle City Council voted Monday to take the lot near the waterfront by eminent domain, using a portion of the $30 million provided by the state to take care of parking issues around the waterfront. Hundreds of public parking spaces will be lost when the state begins dismantling the Alaskan Way Viaduct for the digging of the tunnel. The construction will last until 2020.
The lot is owned by Spokane resident Myrtle Woldson. She doesnâ€™t want to sell, so the City Council voted unanimously to use its power of eminent domain to take it after paying Woldson â€œfair market value.â€
None of the City Council members would speak about their vote, but property rights advocates call it ridiculous.
â€In this case, the city of Seattle is using eminent domain to seize a parking lot, so they can use it as a parking lot,â€ said Glen Morgan of the Freedom Foundation, which is an Olympia-based, conservative, free-market think tank. â€œThereâ€™s no public good in that at all.â€
Morgan said there are several bills in the Legislature that would revamp eminent domain and give Washington property owners more rights.
â€œEminent domain was originally intended for stuff like roadways, expanding roads, schools,â€ said Morgan. â€œSituations that are for the public good.â€
Hat tip to Scott Drum.