Saturday, August 8, 2009
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.