Eminent domain ruling draws fire: (Kerrville CA) Daily Times, 8/11/05

By Gerard MacCrossan

Opposition to the U.S. Supreme Court’s June eminent domain ruling is drawing support from both sides of the House of Representatives. Congressman Henry Bonilla’s comments to the Kerrville Noon Rotary Club on Wednesday brought applause for his stance and for proposed legislation that would penalize any governmental entity that employed eminent domain rights to take property for private gain.

“I disagreed with the (Supreme Court’s) ruling,” Bonilla said, adding his response was to file HR 3405 — The Strengthening the Ownership of Private Property Act.

The bill proposes ending federal economic assistance on all economic development projects should any state or local government entity take property from one private party to give to another.

“If you are a community that does this, you will lose all federal funding,” Bonilla said. “The bipartisan support across the board (for this bill) has been found.

“Maxine Waters from California, who is known as a fire-breathing liberal, has signed on,” he said.

Another liberal Congressman, former Democratic presidential challenger Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, is among 19 House members co-sponsoring the bill. Four other Texas congressmen, including Lamar Smith, have signed on, and U.S. Senator John Cornyn has filed similar legislation, Bonilla said.

The bipartisan support, he said, comes from the fear shared by inner city-dwellers that their homes could be taken away as easily as those of the citizens of New London, Conn., under the Supreme Court ruling.

“No city is going to want to lose their federal funds,” Bonilla said, adding his bill is a “creative way” of combating the ruling.

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