Arnold, MO Voters Say No to Eminent Domain Abuse
Proposed Constitutional Amendments Will Protect Citizens Statewide
Press Release: April 11, 2008
St. Louis, Mo. — This week, voters in Arnold, Mo., replaced incumbent politicians with candidates who share one characteristic: a pledge to end eminent domain for private use. The City held its election on Tuesday, April 8, 2008, weeks after the Supreme Court of Missouri ruled against dentist Homer Tourkakis, a longtime Arnold resident whose office city officials seek to condemn and hand over to a private developer.
In Ward 2, anti-eminent domain abuse challenger Jerel Poor defeated incumbent John Brazeal by a margin of 67% to 33%. In Ward 1, Matthew Hay—who has publicly opposed private-to-private transfers of land through eminent domain— won with 78% of the vote.
“The election results in Arnold and other jurisdictions around the state emphasize that Missourians are fed up with eminent domain abuse,” said Ron Calzone, chairman of Missouri Citizens for Property Rights. “It's important to understand, though, that most of these wins don't even give the pro-property rights forces a majority in those cities. What's more, gains made in one municipal election can be lost in the next. The people really need the constitutional protection our ballot initiative provides .”
Days before the Arnold election, city officials circulated a media advisory on official letterhead criticizing Dr. Tourkakis for asserting his constitutional rights. The controversy arises out of the City’s efforts to take Dr. Tourkakis’ office so private developers can build big-box stores.
“It’s clear voters understood how wrong it was for the City to use taxpayer money to denounce Homer Tourkakis for defending himself against the abuse of eminent domain,” said his attorney, Tim Sandefur.
Meanwhile, citizens have collected the majority of the signatures necessary for two proposed constitutional amendments that would limit eminent domain to actual public uses.
“The response to our petitions has been overwhelming – the people are hungry for real property rights protection.” Calzone added. “Our projections indicate that we will have the signatures we need by the May 4th deadline, but it's not going to be easy getting there – we still need all the help we can get.”Contact:
Ron Calzone, chairman
Missouri Citizens for Property Rights
33867 Highway E
Dixon, MO 65459