Oct 9, 2009

Legal Thievery

10/2209 Update: See bottom of this blog for more information on unifying neighbors to present a unite front.

Eminent Domain: The power to take private property for public use by a state, municipality, or private person or corporation authorized to exercise functions of public character, following the payment of just compensation to the owner of that property.

CITY OF GRETNA, NEBRASKA. CITY COUNCIL PUBLIC HEARING..... Notice is hereby given that a PUBLIC HEARING of the CITY COUNCIL of the City of Gretna, Nebraska, will be held at 7:00 o’clock p.m. on November 17, 2009, as part of their regular meeting, to hear public comment regarding Eminent Domain....

Hidden away behind the property’s legal description is the city of Gretna, Nebraska’s plan to take away land from my friend. Specifically, her mother-in-law. The small hay field that she derives a small income from to supplement her retirement. The land that her son and daughter-in-law and granddaughter use not only to feed their small herd of horses, but for riding. The land that has been in the family for a long time and they hoped would remain in the family through this next century. And not only their land, but land of their neighbors is up for grabs, too. And it's more than land -- it's a lifestyle.

Is the city looking to put in new roads or perhaps a new school? No! They plan to take away the land from those who appreciate the rural lifestyle and put in a "youth complex". A soccer field! I can't help but think about the old song lyrics "pave paradise and put in a parking lot." This has left me almost speechless.

My friend is not just a horse owner; she is a 4H leader. And an active one at that. Their land is used not only by her and her family, but by members of her 4H club. It is an open area for riding and the roads are as safe as roads can be for trailer-less kids commuting by horseback. My friend and her daughter are also active in Competitive Trail Riding and use their rural roads for conditioning their horses. The traffic generated from a soccer complex will take away the option of road riding for safety reasons alone. From personal experience, I know city people have no clue how to drive near and around horses. Not only the traffic, but the lights from the complex will completely ruin their rural paradise.

Since when does a sport (not a road, not a school, but a sport!) take priority over someone else’s lifestyle? Even though my friends are active in 4H, their neighbors also risk losing their property and their quiet way of life to the soccer moms and dads of Gretna, Nebraska. Is there no other parcel of land that could accommodate this without robbing from their rural citizens? Nebraska brags of its pioneer and farming heritage but yet allows it's cities to steal for what they deem an improvement in the city lifestyle?

Most of you probably don’t know my friend or even where Gretna, Nebraska is. (Between Lincoln & Omaha, right off the interstate). But if you are reading this blog, you in some way must appreciate country living and what it means to us, our horse life and our families.

If you agree that eminent domain is not appropriate in this situation, please, post a letter in defense of my friend and her neighbors to the City Clerk of Gretna or attend the public meeting. The more opposition to the asinine idea, the better! Let them find city land for their youth complex and leave the agriculture lifestyle alone! A written objection must be filed with the City Clerk prior to November 17th. A meeting will be held at 7PM on that day in Gretna. Do it quickly!

City Clerk
Gretna City Hall
204 N. McKenna
Gretna, NE 68028

Permission granted to anyone who wants to cross-post or provide a link to this blog.

Update: A forwarded message with permission to crosspost.

Ladies & Gentlemen:

Since many of the people with whom I have spoken are totally against this "Land Grab" that the City of Gretna is interested in, I wonder if anyone thinks we should organize and retain an Attorney to represent our interests?

I suggest that if we are interested in doing so, there are two initial steps to consider:

1. Send a letter to all residents in all surrounding areas where the impact of this ill-advised concept inviting them to an organization meeting PRIOR to the City's schedule meeting. We could get everyone's objections ready for presentation at the City's meeting.

2. Consider hiring an attorney experienced in Zoning Law, etc. I have had on-going disagreements with the City of Gretna when I expanded my office building at the corner of Highways 31 & 370. I retained Gerry Slusky and in each and every case, my position prevailed. There may be other concerned residents with positive experiences with other Attorneys and we could learn about those experiences as well and perhaps invite one or more legal representatives to present their initial suggestions for a course of action.

I am happy to make my conference room available for such a meeting if you believe this is a plan of action that you might be interested in exploring.

Paul Aaron
(402) 679-5741


  1. "The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened."
    — John F. Kennedy
    "As government expands, liberty contracts."
    — Ronald Reagan
    "Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are."
    — Benjamin Franklin
    We all declare for Liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberity may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name-- liberty. And it follows that each of these things is, by the respective parties, call by two different and incompatible names-- liberty and tyranny." Abraham Lincoln, 1864
    How could these great men be so wrong? Answer: There are not! Goverment is out of control at ALL levels and we need to wake up and take back our country. Take control at the BALLOT BOX! Remember these names and tell your friends the next time you go to vote!
    "I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of Constitutional power."
    — Thomas Jefferson

    Mike Anderson

  2. Darn it all..how is it going with this...Simply Amazing...I pray you can make the differance-God Speed!

    You are welcome to come ride with us anyday-Must Ride Mondays or Tue/Wed/Thur/Fri/Sat/Sun~
    503-927-7854 my Cell

  3. This just makes me ill.....

    I'm so sorry and I hope this 'plan' doesn't go through. How horrible!


  4. Well that's funny because I live near the town of Gretna. But in Virginia.

    That makes me so mad. Tell them not to give up fighting. They tried to take away folks' land around here to build a private airport for the rich people. Big fight. The county finally gave up. However, listen to what happened in New Jersey. They took away people's property who lived on the Long Branch shoreline. Big developer wanted to build fancy condos and knock down all the old Depression-era bungalows that these people lived in forever. The city said it was better for their economy--they'd get more taxes. The regular folks in the bungalows lost.

    It IS legalized stealing. It's bad enough when they do it for schools. I can't really argue with that though I don't like it. However, for fancy condos and soccer fields? I am steaming.


  5. Anonymous10:01 PM

    That happened to me. Govt took my beautiful land for a water tower and then sold the 9/10ths of it they didn't use to a developer for a strip mall.
    Sometimes we truly feel powerless.


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