Friday, March 17, 2006


A recent email to Iowa Ennui...


Hey -- this is Nate Niceswanger with Zzz Records in Des Moines checking in. I wanted to thank you for calling out Jack Hatch in one of your recent posts. Both my landlord and I were bewildered by the letter when it appeared in the Register; I have no idea why he would stick his neck out when he seems to have so much opposition on the eminent domain issue.

Anyway, I just wanted to say "thanks" for mentioning this. I think it slipped by a bunch of people when his letter ran in the Register.


Zzz Records
Des Moines, Iowa, USA

Jack Hatch and the rest of the Senate Democrats are opposed to HF 2351, a bill that would stop private investors’ use eminent domain to acquire other people’s property for the purposes of economic development. Hatch publicly stated his case for ignoring his constituents on eminent domain in a letter to the DMR published March 4th. You can read it if you want, but why bother, all you need to know is that Democratic Senator Jack Hatch is a property developer specializing in “urban renewal”.

It is fair to say that Hatch’s opposition to the bill limiting the use of eminent domain is related to the fact that he makes a living screwing over this group of ‘little people’. He can worry all he wants about poor people and TouchPlay, health care, energy assistance, but when it comes to affecting his livelihood and lifestyle, he’s going to find a way to rationalize his behavior – so typical.

I disagree with Nate on one thing; I don’t think the Hatch letter slipped by anybody. These letters are in today’s DMR

What defines 'public good?'

I rarely disagree with Jack Hatch, but people are afraid of the abuse of eminent domain for good reason ("Eminent Domain Not Abused in D.M.," March 4 letter).

Those empowered to make eminent-domain decisions almost never come from the neighborhoods they condemn. There are no objective definitions of "greater good," "common good" or "community betterment" with which to make equitable decisions about whose property may be taken, but it is nearly certain it won't be those in posh neighborhoods who have to worry.

A person's home should be his castle whether he lives in a mansion west of downtown or an east-side neighborhood. There are simply too many connections between local politics and local developers to be lax on this issue. One should not have to worry about developers grabbing a councilman or congressman by the wallet and convincing him that storming another man's castle is for the greater good.

- Jeff Clothier, Colfax.

Jack Hatch writes that "Iowa's economic future depends on maintaining a proper balance between private investment and public good."

Sounds lofty enough, but I don't understand what that is supposed to mean when we are discussing eminent domain.

Our future depends on protecting private property, and if eminent domain is defined as increasing property tax values for public good then we are in trouble.

- Buzz Schwartz, Des Moines.

I suppose for guys like Hatch living in Vertigo is a challenge…particularly in a culture comfortable with omission.

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