A friend of mine sent me this incredible video of Dallas city council member Sandy Greyson during a council meeting expressing her anger over a citizen, Monty Bennett, who dared to use his own wealth to stop the city of Dallas from using their wealth to seize his land via eminent domain.
My transcription below does not do the video justice as it lacks the tonality of her frustration, her abject disdain for the lewd rabble to challenge their local government authority which she clearly thought was inviolable, at least until now, ending in her angrily pushing her microphone away and smacking the power switch off.
“This is an eminent domain case. It’s for a much needed waterline. And the council’s being asked today to vote to uh…to vote to settle this case with a man who has fought us for years and has cost Dallas taxpayers millions of dollars and intends to cost us millions more unless we settle with him by going around his property.
Now, other ordinary people, regular people, like you and I, who can’t afford to fight the city of Dallas over an eminent domain for years and years…I mean we wind up getting our property taken. Uh, and, sometimes it’s very necessary…we need waterlines, we need roads, we need some of these public improvements. So I’m not blaming anyone that we are settling this case today, I mean I totally understand that we’re doing kinda what we have to do here, but it’s just infuriating that if you are rich enough, you can hold the city hostage for years, and then get what you want.
There’s something really wrong with that. Uh, and, uh, I’m so conflicted on this vote… didn’t want to make the motion because, uh, while I so want to vote no on this, uh, neither do I want to continue to spend more money fighting with this guy because in the end we’re settling because he’ll probably win.
But it is just infuriating – we have people come down here saying, ‘Please don’t take my property’ and because they are just an ordinary person we take their property. But this guy’s rich enough to fight us for years and so he is gonna win and, (annoyed grunt), its just…so…maddening.”
(She then angrily pushes mic away and flips the switch off).
The YouTube video I posted was taken down, not oddly, so you can watch the video here.
Empower Texans did a great article on this including the following observations (emphasis mine):
It’s fitting that – for once – government officials are experiencing the “infuriating frustration” that’s commonly felt by “ordinary” Texans who are subjected to the unjust whims of unaccountable politicians.
Critics unsympathetic to Bennett’s plight will claim the pipeline is a “necessary public good.” But even necessary projects don’t give government the authority to abuse the rights of landowners.
What the critics fail (or refuse) to recognize is that the landowner had worked from the outset to negotiate an alternative route with Dallas officials…and they weren’t the only ones…The Texas Scorecard previously reported on a group of 43 landowners near Mansfield, Texas who also fought reckless eminent domain proceedings by the TRWD, (Tarrant Regional Water District) related to the same water pipeline.
Not only did the TRWD fail to listen to landowners’ concerns, they turned a blind eye to alternative routes that were less costly, less intrusive, and more efficient. They also refused to deliver on promises to hold public hearings in the community and lied to landowners about who would face condemnation proceedings. Charles Crook, an engineer and affected property owner, thoroughly documented the TRWD’s reckless behavior.
Ultimately, the TRWD opted to threaten Crook with hasty condemnation to intimidate others from speaking out and perpetuating a public relations nightmare. Crook and other landowners were ultimately told to pound sand.
Don’t you love it when Government Stormtroopers like Sandy Greyson are forced to kneel embarrassingly and quite publicly before the citizens in abject humility to their constitutional superiority over her?
At least she’s freed up now to go figure out how to fix her city’s pension fund shortfall, the second largest local government net pension liability in the country. Maybe they should have put these millions spent on lawyers towards that fund and not wasting it fighting over some dirt.
Here’s my take on her statements…
with a man who…has cost Dallas taxpayers millions of dollars
He did not cost Dallas taxpayers millions of dollars, Sandy Greyson and the Dallas City Council cost taxpayers millions of dollars. It is Sandy Greyson and her royal court, I mean the council that chose to spend that money to fight him in the first place, obviously failing to judge his dedication to retaining his land and his resources to do so.
It was also their decision to keep fighting him even as hundred thousand dollar check after hundred thousand dollar check kept being spent on their lawyers. They could have stopped at any time, but their strategy was clear, which is why her anger is so visceral….they gambled they could outspend him and crush him under the weight of legal fees, and they lost. Like a degenerate gambler throwing good money after bad, they threw away truckloads of taxpayer money getting more and more frustrated by his refusal to kneel in their effort to force him into submission from the ‘bottomless’ taxpayer funded pockets of their Statist power.
unless we settle with him by going around his property.
So, turns out, they can just go around his property. Now that might cost more, but we can’t keep pretending America is a free country and then get upset with a man who wants to keep his land rather than let the government run a pipeline through it. We are either a free people, or we are not. Either private property is real, or its a myth and is only yours until a bureaucrat can argue for a better use of it for the public good where they also get to determine what is good for the public. And based on the article above, it appears there were other more efficient and less costly routes, but the city council didn’t care.
Uh, and, sometimes it’s very necessary…we need waterlines, we need roads, we need some of these public improvements.
Just sometimes we need some of these improvements. Other times, completely unnecessary but they seize the land anyway?
Now, other ordinary people, regular people, like you and I, who can’t afford to fight the city of Dallas over an eminent domain for years and years…I mean we wind up getting our property taken….but it’s just infuriating that if you are rich enough, you can hold the city hostage for years, and then get what you want. There’s something really wrong with that.
So let me get this straight…here is how her insane logic works…when the city of Dallas uses its wealth to hold a citizen financially hostage who can’t afford to fight the city and they lose their land, that’s good, but when a citizen uses their wealth to hold the city of Dallas financially hostage who then can’t afford to fight the citizen and they can’t take the land, that’s bad. Is she insane? Does she hear the insane Statist argument coming out of her mouth?
we’re settling because he’ll probably win
If he would “probably win” then why did they fight him in the first place? Clear incompetence – but I can tell you why they decided to fight him – because they were spending other people’s money. It’s easy to make the decision to spend millions on lawyers when it’s not your millions. The city was used to getting what it wanted by grinding the ‘little people’ under with gobs of cash spent on lawyers to seize their land and they assumed this chump would be no different. They’d make it rain for the lawyers with other people’s money and walk away with another win. So with their Statist superiority looking down their noses at him and cutting checks from the taxpayers bank accounts they haughtily waited for him to kneel like everyone else before the altar of Government self-righteous despotism. They will tell you what’s good for you citizen from their book of moral superiority.
But it is just infuriating – we have people come down here saying, ‘Please don’t take my property’ and because they are just an ordinary person we take their property.
My God. She just outright admits that if you are an ordinary person and you come here pleading with her not to take your land, she’s taking it anyway. She can’t wrap her fat pompous head around the fact that there is a plebe among the unwashed rabble capable of stopping her.
Government, at all levels, is supremely dangerous because it is filled to the brim with people like her. People that believe the State knows better than you and will make you agree that they do with laws and codes and taxes and regulations and ultimately, guns, which is why all of us must continue to fight and spread the word that the only government, if any government at all, must be as small and contained and limited as possible.
We have 200 years of unfettered government expansionism, freedom trampling and tyranny by Statists like Sandy Greyson to unwind. Get to work, Monty Bennett did, and he won a battle for us.
Categories: Big Government, eminent domain, Government Failures, Government Terrorism, Government Tyranny, Headlines, Individual Rights, Non Aggression Principle, Progressive, Rights, Rule of Law, Statism