There is no indication that Donald Trump is planning to visit Washington State soon, but if he did, he would find solid common ground with Frank Chopp (D-43rd), the Democrat leader in the Washington State legislature. These two politicians might appear to be unlikely allies. However, they both appear to support government using eminent domain to forcibly take away homes from low income people and give their property to large corporations and billionaire developers for private profit. Donald Trump supports eminent domain and has used it for his own profit. Frank Chopp, Democrat Speaker of the House, is the one who would make it possible for Donald Trump to profit in this way in Washington State. Donald Trump has said “I love eminent domain!” Frank Chopp seems to feel the same way, because he is blocking an eminent domain reform bill that has gained wide bipartisan support in the State Legislature!
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Frank Chopp has dedicated himself to supporting eminent domain for Donald Trump’s future fortune by personally blocking and preventing this reform in the state legislature right now. Despite substantial bipartisan support from both Democrats and Republicans in both the Senate and the House, Frank Chopp alone is preventing this reform from landing on Governor Inslee’s desk. If he holds out until the cut-off date Friday – both Trump and the corporations who abuse this legal loophole can benefit. There is no official word from the Trump campaign about how thankful he would be to Frank Chopp.
Many political insiders at the capital have reported that despite the bipartisan support for this long-overdue reform in Washington State, Frank Chopp has personally blocked SB 5363 from receiving a vote on the house floor. Last month the bill received two thirds support in the State Senate, passed unanimously out of the Democrat controlled house judiciary committee, and now the bill languishes at the pleasure of Frank Chopp. Is Donald Trump grateful to have Frank Chopp on his side?
You can get involved:
In order for the state legislature to be able to vote on this bill, it needs to be passed out of the rules committee by Friday. If you are interested in helping convince Chopp to abandon his alliance with Trump and end eminent domain abuse for private corporate profit, you can reach him directly here: (360) 786 – 7920 or email@example.com
On the other hand, if you support billionaires and think government should subsidize their dreams by taking property from low income homeowners by force, then call the Trump campaign and let them know his friend and ally Frank Chopp is keeping the option open for him in Washington State. Maybe Trump can build his next casino in Seattle: 646-736-1779
The history of Eminent Domain for the benefit of billionaires like Trump
Eminent domain is the right of a government to take private property for public use by virtue of the superior dominion of the government over the lands in its jurisdiction. Typically, most people assume this refers to freeways, schools, military uses, or some other clear public “good.” However, there has been a trend over the last seven decades to expand the use of eminent domain to include taking people’s homes and giving their land to large private developers justified because the government collects more taxes that way. Sometimes large corporations can convince local government to declare a low income area “blighted” so that the homes can be condemned, destroyed, and the land given to a corporation for an office park or some other economic development scheme. In Donald Trump’s case, he wanted to forcibly take Vera Coking’s home, so that he could build a limo parking lot instead.
It doesn’t take much imagination to predict how corrupt this expansion of eminent domain has become. The concern about this issue, however, tended to percolate exclusively among think tanks, academics, property rights activists, and advocates for the low income folk who are proportionally the people impacted the most by this policy. The national apathy on this issue changed in 2005. That year, in a 5–4 decision, the US Supreme Court held that the general benefits a community enjoyed from economic growth qualified private redevelopment plans as a permissible “public use” under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.
The Kelo case shook off the nation’s apathy about the abuse of eminent domain because the epic legal battle was such a clear case of the little guy (Suzette Kelo) losing her home so that the Pfizer corporation could build a big “urban renewal” office park there instead. The City of New London, Connecticut thought this was a great plan and removed the lower income neighborhood and the people who lived there through eminent domain. Suzette Kelo also forcibly lost her little pink house. Then, Pfizer changed their mind and walked away from the big Central Planning scheme. The land once occupied by homes is now an empty wasteland used to dump garbage. The Central Planner’s utopia never happened.
When the decision was announced by the Supreme Court, it generated much public disgust from all sides of the political spectrum. Surveys taken since the Kelo decision have consistently demonstrated over 80% of Americans strongly opposed this decision. This is one reason why nearly every state in America has reformed their eminent domain laws. Washington State is one of the few who have not, even after a 2009 Attorney General’s report clearly indicated Washington State needed to close the “Kelo” loophole (maybe we should call it the “Chopp/Trump” loophole).
I have testified at the legislature in favor of this reform for almost half a decade now. The Citizens Alliance for Property Rights (capr.us) has been lobbying for this reform for years as well.Last week was no exception. As legislators and senators have become more knowledgeable – Democrats and Republicans alike – they have supported this legislation. Only one man (in addition to Trump) stands in the way – Frank Chopp.
Again, here is how you can get involved to actually do something about it:
In order for the state legislature to be able to vote on this bill, it needs to get out of the rules committee by Friday. If you are interested in helping convince Chopp to abandon his alliance with Trump and end eminent domain abuse, you can reach him directly here: (360) 786 – 7920 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Or, if you support billionaires and think government should subsidize their dreams by taking your property by force, then call the Trump campaign here and let them know his friend and ally Frank Chopp is helping him. Maybe Trump can build his next casino in Seattle: 646-736-1779
“Something has gone seriously awry with this Court’s interpretation of the Constitution. Though citizens are safe from the government in their homes, the homes themselves are not.”
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas – 545 U.S. 469, 518 (2005)
For more background information on this subject: