“This is what government is about”

That’s County Executive Isiah Leggett, thrilled with the settlement reached with Barry Taylor of Barry’s Magic Shop in Wheaton. The county had used eminent domain to wrest the shop’s building away from the landlord. Barry’s had operated for three decades in that location, but the county decided that the space would be better used as a pedestrian walkway (!)

So, Mr. Leggett, just what is government about?

Imposing its vision upon the dreams and honest labor of residents:

The owner of the building didn’t want to sell, but he was compelled to do so by the county government. Clearly Barry Taylor didn’t want to move either. He had to secure the help of two heavy-duty law firms to help him (Winer and Winer in Bethesda, and Crowell and Mooring LLP of Washington).

Wasting money:

In addition to the money spent to purchase the building (nearly $1 million), the county has now agreed to compensate Taylor for his expenses of moving and re-establishing his business in the Rockville / Kensington area ($260,000). That doesn’t account for the legal costs involved (God only knows). Nor does it account for the cost of actually constructing the new walkway (any guesses?)

Picking winners and losers:

All this expense and trouble, when people could already walk around the building! Where’s the benefit? And to whom? Like all redevelopment projects, there are some (favored) businesses who gain at the expense of others. When the county takes from some in order to give to others, you have to wonder who is gaining, and why.

See Jacob Grier’s take on the issue.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Edifice Complex, Regulation

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