Saturday, August 23, 2008

No Eminent Domain Abuse in Washington

In the Washington town of Ballard, which is pretty much part of Seattle, a little old lady named Edith Macefield became a local legend when, at age 84, she refused to sell her little old house to developers.

Edith died June 15th at 86 years old. Her house still intact, as you can see in the photo. During the course of fighting the construction that surrounded her, Edith befriended many of the construction workers, including the construction's superintendent, Barry Martin.

Edith's last will and testament put Barry Martin in charge of her estate. During the course of constructing buildings that put concrete walls on 3 sides of her house, Edith charmed those building the walls. Barry Martin would drive Edith to appointments and help her with all sorts of things.

I've long said that the eminent domain abuse that occurs regularly in Texas to the benefit of private business, like the Dallas Cowboy Stadium Scandal in Arlington or the Radio Shack Corporate Headquarters in Fort Worth or the mall parking lot scandal in Hurst would not occur in the more, well, progressive states on the west coast. Or the rest of America.

The survival of Edith's house is a prime example of how different things are in Texas compared with the rest of the United States. Edith was offered more than a million bucks for her $120,000 house. Which she refused. There was not even the remotest suggestion or attempt to abuse the concept of eminent domain to steal Edith's house, like what was done dozens of times in Arlington to get the land to build Jerry Jones his stadium.

Edith lived in a place that respected the basic American concept that one should be secure in ones home, safe from predators misusing the law for their own private gain. I still foolishly hold out the hope that the lingering court cases against the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones and Arlington will somehow reach a courtroom outside Texas and result, somehow, in criminal charges being brought against those who committed crimes against citizens of Arlington, with jail time and huge fines being imposed on those who did the dirty deeds. I know it won't happen, but I naively cling to the concept that justice prevails in America, while I now it often doesn't.

1 comment:

LKT said...

Ballard is not a town. It is a neighborhood, borough if you will, within the Seattle city limits, and is under Seattle jurisdiction. It does often feel like an independent community, as do other boroughs of Seattle, but all the "Free Ballard" and "Mayor of Ballard" stuff is a joke.

It doesn't change the point of the post, though. It's just a point of clarification from a Seattleite who stumbled on your blog.