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Foes in Congress Unite in Defense of Property
By Carolyn Lochhead
The San Francisco Chronicle
Friday 01 July 2005
Washington - House and Senate Republican leaders, backed by Democratic African American liberals, moved rapidly Thursday on legislation to blunt last week's Supreme Court decision allowing local governments to seize private property for economic development projects.
Rep. Maxine Waters, a liberal Democrat from South Central Los Angeles, and Rep. Richard Pombo, a rock-ribbed conservative Republican from rural San Joaquin County - who rarely join forces on any issue - were among a group that introduced a bill to cut off federal funds for cities that use eminent domain for such projects.
"Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals are going to be organizing behind opposing the Supreme Court decision," Waters said. "It's like undermining motherhood and apple pie. I mean, people's homes and their land - it's very important, and it should be protected by government, not taken for somebody else's private use."
Pombo, a longtime property rights advocate, said anger at the court's 5-4 decision in a case from New London, Conn., had united rural landowners with suburbanites and city dwellers fearful that cities will eye their homes for hotels, malls or any commercial use they think will generate more tax revenue.