Turning Your Money Against You, Part II
Almost precisely one year ago, I wrote about how some Missouri cities were dedicating your taxpayer dollars to preserve the government’s ability to take property from one private owner and give it to another private owner. As you may remember, the Missouri Municipal League engaged in litigation intended to prevent Missouri’s citizens from voting on the question — using a combination of funds from city governments and contributions from the same commercial developers who are eager to see eminent domain used to their advantage.
Folks, they’re at it again.
Almost as soon as Missouri Citizens for Property Rights got a ballot title from the Secretary of State, the Missouri Municipal League sued in an attempt to make the ballot title recite a parade of imaginary horrors that they claim would follow the end of eminent domain abuse. A couple of weeks ago, Judge Richard Callahan ruled that the Secretary of State’s ballot title could go forward with only one insubstantial adjustment.
The Missouri Municipal League has appealed that ruling, continuing to insist that the restoration of property rights should be described as nothing less than the death knell for America. And, again, they’re calling on your elected officials to pony up your money in order to prevent you from having a say in the matter.
As a “Red Alert” sent out by the Municipal League states:
[A]lthough cities cannot directly contribute to support or oppose any ballot measure, cities may fund public informational campaigns. The City of Springfield has already committed $5,000 to this effort. Other cities are following suit. City contributions should generally reflect the size and financial capacity of the participating city. The League will also continue to coordinate these efforts with private sector “partner organizations” such as the Missouri Chamber of Commerce.
Of course, other cities have a more direct means of trying to prevent your participation in the political process. The city government of Slater, Mo., passed a resolution last week that “urges the citizens of [that] community to refrain from signing a CPR constitutional initiative petition because doing so would be contrary to the best interest of most property owners within the State of Missouri.”
When I used the Sunshine Law to compel the city to produce all documents its officials considered before adopting this resolution, all they could provide was a PowerPoint presentation created by the Missouri Municipal League — meaning, apparently, that city officials did not even consider the actual text of the proposed amendment, much less seek out any alternative interpretations. Instead, they resorted to the Orwellian suggestion that a constitutional amendment designed to protect the property rights of all Missourians would somehow be bad for property owners.
This should not be tolerated. Fortunately, it seems that some people have recognized this and are taking action. The Post-Dispatch reported just the other day that some citizens in Pacific, Mo., have demanded that their city withdraw from the Missouri Municipal League.
If enough people put pressure on their city governments to do the same, the Municipal League may have no other choice but to start respecting property rights instead of continuing their defense of eminent domain abuse.