In response to the dreadful Supreme Court decision in the Kelo v. New London case, Stephen Macklin at Hold The Mayo has started a petition for a Constitutional Amendment that will restrict government power of eminent domain by strictly defining "public use". The wording of the proposed amendment is:
The right to ownership of property being the cornerstone of liberty, no government, or agency thereof, within these United States shall have the authority to take property from any person, corporation, or organization through exercise of eminent domain for other than a public use without just compensation.
Public use shall be understood to be property the government owns or retains the paramount interest in, and the public has a legal right to use. Public use shall be understood to include property the government owns and maintains as a secure facility. Public use shall not be construed to include economic development or increased tax revenue. Public use of such property shall be maintained for a period of not less than 25 years.
Just compensation shall be the higher of twice the average of the price paid for similar property in the preceding six months, or twice the average of the previous 10 recorded similar property transactions. Compensation paid shall be exempt from taxation in any form by any government within these United States.
You can sign the petition at the Open Source Amendment Project. I've signed it and I'd recommend everybody sign it. As a result of the Kelo v. New London decision, it is now considered "public use" if in the opinion of local government, higher tax revenue will be realized by the transfer of privately owned property from one individual to another. This is an issue that needs our attention.
Update: 8/3/2005, Captain's Quarters carries a horror story from Oakland where thriving small businesses are being forced out to make way for a private apartment complex. Things are going to keep getting worse until we get some action, folks.