Supremely Bad Decision
GRAND RAPIDS — It's not as though any of them were bucking to get the nod for Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, as all had conceded that position to John Roberts.
The board agreed to send a letter to
Bills and resolutions in both the House and Senate do that by restricting a municipality's ability to apply the law only to public projects and not private developments, as the Supreme Court agreed to do in Kelo v.
"This, in our opinion, tightens up the eminent domain law and doesn't allow the state of
The Supreme Court decision paved the way for
County Commissioners James Vaughn and Paul Mayhue, however, felt using a letter as a means of protesting the decision and supporting the legislation wasn't potent enough action for the board to take. They thought passing a resolution would send a stronger message to
"If we're going to stand for something, then let's stand for something. What is the purpose of a letter?" asked Vaughn.
But Commissioner Dan Koorndyk, who chairs the county's Legislative Committee, told board members that Becky Bechler of Public Affairs Associates (PPA) said a letter would carry more weight with state legislators than a resolution would. PPA lobbies for the county in
"The letter uses the exact same language that Commissioner Mayhue used in his resolution. So I don't think the letter is watered down," said Klein.
In the end, only Vaughn and Mayhue voted against sending the letter to
"Anything that limits government is good," said Commissioner Dean Agee, "and this letter does that."