Highway 95 Expansion

Letter to the Editor

By Spencer Hutchings of Sagle, Idaho

We all understand the need to create public works, such as freeways, power grids, sewers etc. The creation of these necessary infrastructure projects get complicated when unelected bureaucrats decide they will use the force of government to take from one of us, for the benefit of all of us. We all know this as eminent domain.

It’s very difficult, nearly impossible, to fight eminent domain takings since the unelected bureaucrats of our state have the unlimited funds, funds we pay them in our taxes, with which to fight the property owner. Not to mention these unelected bureaucrats can back our unlimited funds up with the force of armed men should it come to that.

Now if the owners of the property in question are willing to sell their property for monetary compensation, then all parties can move forward with a workable agreement. But when you have people that do not care to have their property taken from them at the offered price, well then as a nation of free people we have a real problem.

Do we adjust the path of the project? Do we force the owners to sell or take from them what the state wants by force or coercion?

Could we amicably settle the matter? Increase the price offered for the property, perhaps far above market value? We all must try to put ourselves in the shoes of the property owners. How would you react if an unelected bureaucrat told you they were taking your property? Most people would not respond well to that. Perhaps instead of our state government spending our tax dollars on lawyers, they just write a bigger check to our fellow citizen that is being asked to sacrifice there home for the good of all of us?

Perhaps the state could offer to trade the property they seek for the project in question for another piece of land? The state could buy another private property on the open market or offer some state owned property as an equitable trade or even an upgrade for the land owners they are seeking to take from?

I’m not saying this would work for everyone, but it gives us options rather than bankrupting our fellow citizens with legal fees or using force to take property our fellow citizens have every right to keep.

The bottom line is our state should never do what amounts to robbing or punishing our fellow citizens just because some unelected bureaucrats decided to put a freeway through a piece of land their home was placed on.

Plans that involve the possible eminent domain taking of private property should be carefully examined and extensive public input should be gathered. Our fellow citizens in the impacted area should have ample time to make comment, suggest alternatives and reach an understanding.

Isn’t that how you would want to be treated?

Spencer Hutchings is running for State Representative District 1A in the Republican primary.