Governor Deval Patrick laid his cards on the table pretty plainly when he vetoed a home rule petition from the town of Amesbury, Massachussetts.
Had Patrick signed off, the town could have adopted tougher restrictions on the use of eminent domain than the state as a whole. In fact, the town would have banned the use of eminent domain to transfer property between private parties.
Patrick says he rejected the petition because of “significant opposition to this bill at the local level.”
That opposition certainly isn’t coming from property owners worried about developers trying to grab their land.
As for Amesbury voters, they passed the measure to submit this petition at the ballot box, and it was unanimously approved by the town council. Then it made it through the state legislature before reaching the governor’s desk. About a month before he vetoed it, Governor Patrick himself voiced support for the bill when he was in Amesbury.
Of course, the persons who want a free hand to grab property whenever they like are the ones who oppose the petition. These include the current Amesbury mayor, Thatcher Kezer, who says there’s “no need” for Amesbury to differ from the rest of the state when it comes to stomping on property owners.
Deval cites such opposition as if it could justify his contempt for Amesbury voters and their property rights. But politicians like Kezer will never voluntarily relinquish the power to rob their neighbors.
Unfortunately, that’s common sense.
I’m Paul Jacob.