Saturday, August 8, 2009

Eminent Disdain

The City of Johnson condemned private property owned by David and Imelda McClinton and has taken it by eminent domain. The twice-retired Washington County Circuit Judge Michael Mashburn signed an order of possession requested by Johnson Mayor Lonnie Barron for an easement taking the McClinton's property so the city can provide water and sewer service, or so he said.

The weird thing about the exercise of eminent domain in this case is that the City of Johnson cannot provide water and sewer service. It has no water treatment facility. It has no sewage treatment plant. It appears to be fancifully condemning private property without any real public purpose in fact.

Equally interesting is that this property is in the legislative district of Senator Bill Pritchard (R-Elkins) and Representative Jon Woods (R-Springdale). Just two years ago, Representative Woods introduced a bill to limit the use of eminent domain by defining "public use" and to abolish a local government's right of eminent domain to condemn and take private property for community redevelopment. Now, Rep. Woods could not care less whether cities take private property on a whim, and he has been strangely silent on the issue.


  1. "A bill to make it easier for cities to take over water systems in areas a city annexes was recommended by the Senate City, County and Local Affairs Committee on Tuesday despite opposition from Washington County Judge Marilyn Edwards, among others.

    House Bill 1647 by Rep. Jon Woods, R-Springdale, would require water systems to enter negotiations with a city that annexed land served by that water system. Edwards and others oppose the bill because losing customers in a rural water system makes it less likely the system can afford to expand into hard-to-reach areas that are expensive to serve. For instance, the bill will make it harder to serve about 450 families in extreme southeastern Washington County who don’t have pipe-in water and who are having to haul water in, Edwards said. The bill has already passed the house and goes to the full Senate.

  2. Jon Wood?

    YOu mean the FAMOUS Jon Woods from Chickenopolis?

    Nay, no time for voters' concerns nor their stinkin property rights.

    Jon-Jon, when not doing the bidding of Arvest or the Insurance industry, has
    Bigger Fish to fry. Click here

    Wonder if his good Church of Christ patrons know about Jon-Jon's rise to stardom?


  3. Abuse of Eminent domain is a tragic thing.
    These folks should support The Castle Coalition and the Institute of Justice.
    The fifedom of Johnson is a bad thing.

  4. Wonder if Judge Mashburn's mental/neurological status is a good point of appeal?

  5. Mr. Franks, you are on a roll today!
    But seriously, I thought that domed thing in the middle of the cow pasture no. of Johnson Rd. was a sewer WWTP? If not then wtf?