As the City of Bloomington battles Juan Sells over taking his property for a parking garage, the thing I found most stunning is the sheer incompetence of Mayor John Hamilton and his administration. These people actually demolished a parking garage and eliminated over 300 badly needed parking spaces with no plan on how to proceed if they were not allowed to take the Juan Sells property. Why was there not more than one design approved as a contingency?
I do understand why people would oppose eminent domain for this project, but if the city actually needs to acquire that property to build parking infrastructure, I do not have a problem with using eminent domain to take the property as a last report. Even the founding fathers, distrustful of government power, allowed for taking private property in the Constitution if a fair price is paid for that property. Obviously, the first step should be to make a deal, and eminent domain should only be used if there is no other way to proceed with plans. And you certainly should not start construction until you actually own the property!
What should not be allowed, and is not allowed under Indiana law, is taking land from one person and giving it to another. The reason the city’s scheme was rejected is because the city planned to lease space to private business after building the garage. That is corruption of the highest order, and the courts were right to slap the city down. Frankly, I think there should be criminal penalties, including prison time, for any government official who attempts to do something like that. That is an obscene abuse of power that must not be allowed to happen.
Overall, the incompetence and arrogance of the Hamilton administration is staggering. Hamilton has proven he is not qualified to be mayor, and if he had any shame he would resign from office over this scandal. But as long as people keep voting for Democrats because “Orange Man Bad,” this incompetence, corruption and abuse of power will continue. You get what you deserve, voters.