It is respectable to read of an elected official making a stance on something. Councilman G. Bruce Ward takes on the issue of eminent domain. He writes:
Developments of the size and scale envisioned for tomorrow’s Atlantic City provide considerable economic investment to the community, as well as substantial municipal property tax revenue and thousands of construction and operations jobs.
But when property owners don’t want to move, their pleas can’t be ignored. They are taxpayers. They vote or employ other taxpayers.
Note that the Councilman makes real and substantial reference to taxpayers. Real reference to taxpayers is not often heard from Councilmen, even in their monthly public meetings.
Alas, the Councilman shows himself a politician and straddles the fence between private property and pro-eminent domain interests. He states:
When it comes to eminent domain, legislators must balance the benefits of such projects with the welfare of the community at large.
There is much room for debating whether “the welfare of the community at large” is a solid justification for forcing citziens to sell personal property against their will. The Councilman comes short of supporting a citizen’s solid constitutional rights to his own property. The Councilman straddles the position of siding with eminent domain for private gain (in the name of “the welfare of the community at large”) and the position of a citizen’s right to own property.
Mr. Ward is an attorney by trade and to his credit, the courts have not done the best job of upholding a citizen’s right to own property. He mentions the unfortunate precedent of Kelo v. City of New London, CT case in Casinos versus Community?
Councilman Ward reveals his intellect, concern for taxpayers, and a willingness to be forthcoming on the issues. We take issue with his support of the needle exchange program – which he describes also as an “information exchange,” yet we thoroughly enjoy his presence on City Council. He is available for citizens and willing to discuss his votes, positions, thoughts, future plans, and ideas. Councilman, your article sets a good example for the rest of the Council. Keep on fighting for the taxpayers.