I grew up out West. A big part of growing up in the West, at least in my family, included Western films. Westerns, like many country music songs, can tell a complicated story in regular, everyday terms. Black cowboy hats and white cowboy hats made it easy to figure out who was on what side!
Probably my favorite Western was The Magnificent Seven. That’s the 1960 version, not the 2016 re-make. The 1960 version tells the tale of seven adventurers, hired by Mexican villagers to protect their community from a bandit, Calvera. Played by Eli Wallach, Calvera is one of the most fascinating villains in a Western. Watch this scene where Calvera and his men meet The Magnificent Seven for the first time…his smug contempt comes across loud and clear when he shouts “Do you hear that? We’re trapped, all 40 of us, by these three.” Later, Calvera explains how “easy” he makes it for the villagers: “With me, only one decision. Do what I say!”
Sound familiar? If you are a property owner who has received a notice from a governmental authority that your property is needed for a government project, this might sound way too familiar. But you may want more than one choice. You may not want to do what they say.
Article X, Section 6 of Florida’s Constitution puts some power in your hands. On the subject of eminent domain, Section 6(a) of the Florida Constitution says:
No private property shall be taken except for a public purpose and with full compensation therefor paid to each owner or secured by deposit in the registry of the court and available to the owner.”
Make sure you talk to a lawyer if you receive a notice that someone else wants your property for a project. Give yourself more than the choice to do what they say.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 239-344-1326.