Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor


Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor


Article excerpt

Unjust reasons for eminent domain

Regarding your July 10 editorial "The eminent-domain game": When the court allowed local municipalities to define the term "public purpose," it abdicated its responsibility to protect individual citizens against the tyranny of the majority. As a result, entire neighborhoods became targets for "urban renewal." City planning boards could declare an area blighted for any reason, however implausible. And by declaring blight, the board so devalued the land as to make a mockery of the "fair compensation" rule. In many cases, cities targeted the homes of poor minorities with no voice in the political process. Their rights were expendable in order to achieve any hazily conceived notion of public interest - including the racist preferences of public administrators. The proud era of slum clearance, public housing, and "Negro removal" began.

The current wave of seizures is no different. Small towns want more tax dollars to play with. But rather than asking all residents to pay higher taxes, they are trying to impose the costs on a few unlucky property owners. The injustice of this action - taking property from one private citizen to give to another - is patently obvious, despite the euphemistic language: "redevelopment" and "recycling." Paul F. Niehaus Cambridge, Mass.Housing Opportunities Program

Passing the buck on foster care

Regarding your July 8 article "Fewer foster homes and a rising need": It seems to me that a large part of the problem lies within society itself. The general assumption is that services are failing. I contend that while there are some failures in the system, we, as a community of adults, need to turn the mirror of blame on ourselves. We need to ask ourselves why there are not more adults reaching out to these children.

I understand about the budget cuts, advocacy efforts, professional development, and monitoring. I also understand that a significant amount of time, effort, and money is expended on each child in the "system. …

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