A Dictator in Dallas

In late May, one of the items on the agenda of the Dallas City Council was a proposed settlement with a property owner regarding an eminent domain case. Councilwoman Sandy Greyson spoke against the settlement,

I’m not blaming anyone that we’re settling this case, but it’s just infuriating that if you’re rich enough you can hold the city hostage for years and get what you want. There’s something really wrong with that.

Greyson didn’t like the fact that the property owner–Monty Bennett–had the means for fight the city when it wanted to seize his property. In her diatribe, she notes that “ordinary people” simply succumb to the city and lose their property. She doesn’t object to such legalized theft; she does object that some people don’t give in so easily.

Greyson wants citizens to be obedient and compliant to the demands and dictates of government officials. And she is infuriated when they aren’t. This is the mentality of a dictator.

She complains that Bennett’s fight against the city has cost taxpayers millions of dollars. But she has no concern for the individuals whose lives are destroyed by eminent domain. To a dictator, individuals exist solely for the purpose of serving the ruler.

Bennett had the audacity to assert and defend his rights. He is not the unthinking automaton that dictators like Greyson demand. Indeed, he built a cemetery on his land because Texas Law 711.035 exempts cemeteries are from taxation, seizure by creditors and eminent domain.

Sadly, Bennett represents a rare victory in the fight against eminent domain. As Greyson notes, most citizens do not have the means to fight City Hall. And so, “ordinary people” fall prey to thugs like Greyson.

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