Ending Eminent Domain Abuse
There is a letter in the Post-Dispatch today about Jim Roos’ sign advocating the end of eminent domain abuse. It is kind of buried within the other letters, so I wanted to make sure our readers would have a chance to see it. Enjoy.
No apology necessary
Jim Roos owes no apology for the “End Eminent Domain Abuse” mural, which protests the use of eminent domain for private (rather than public) use (“Sign of the times,” Feb. 2). The editorial failed to acknowledge that St. Louis has taken 24 properties from Mr. Roos’ non-profit housing ministry to make way for private development.
The editorial also omitted the fact that the building on which Mr. Roos had the mural painted is itself threatened with eminent domain abuse. Posting the protest at the site of the government’s wrong was the one way to effectively voice dissent.
The editorial got one thing right: Content neutrality is a prerequisite for a constitutionally valid sign code. Yet St. Louis’s code is anything but neutral; it allows signs concerning a host of other topics. It is disconcerting that the Post-Dispatch believes Mr. Roos should apologize for wanting the same protection for a political protest.
If St. Louis doesn’t want citizens conspicuously protesting eminent domain abuse, the city simply should stop engaging in it.
Michael Bindas | Seattle, Wash.
Staff attorney, Institute for Justice