"This shouldn't be happening in Rosa Parks' backyard"


As David Beito noted earlier this week, the Alabama State Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (which Beito chairs) held a meeting on Wednesday where victimized property owners were invited to share their stories of eminent domain abuse. The Montgomery Advertiser was there:

Two men, Jimmie McCall and Jim Peera, told the committee that the city of Montgomery was using these ordinances to take land away from low-income minority property owners.

Both men have a long history with the city, and each has litigation against the city pending….

Peera is the owner of Avon Court Apartments, which he noted was about a block away from where Rosa Parks lived. The city had a portion of the apartment complex demolished after certain units were found to be unsafe.

Peera, who is from Africa, said he had a $1 million plan to revitalize the property and turn it into affordable housing but that the city blocked that project by rezoning the property from multi-family to single-family dwellings.

"This shouldn't be happening in Rosa Parks' backyard," Peera told the committee members.

"I believe it's what I call the backdoor to eminent domain. It's all about control," said Peera, who lives in Atlanta.

In McCall's case, the black Montgomery resident's would-be home was torn down before it was finished after the city's housing codes office found it to be unsafe. He had planned to build his "dream home" on a two-acre property at 3118 Woodley Road.

Whole story here. Beito's original story here.