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Press Release

    Florida FreedomWorks Wins Victory for Private Property Rights

    03/17/2006

    St. Augustine, Fl. The St Augustine – St Johns County Airport Authority used the power of eminent domain repeatedly in the last few years to take long established homes to make way for general aviation hangers.

    The need for additional hangers was purely economic and intended to raise airport revenues. The lack of a clear public interest being served these takings prompted Jerry Cameron, NE Florida Chapter Leader for FreedomWorks, to campaign against this abuse. Jerry Cameron along with several NE Florida FreedomWorks members worked tirelessly for nearly two years, making public presentations, meeting with airport officials, and media awareness efforts. Recently FreedomWorks activist scored a victory when a member of the Airport Authority made the following statement in a recent public Board meeting:

    I urge this board to take the following actions:

    1. Direct staff to develop a plan for more involvement
    of our neighbors in these matters considering at the least the points I have made.
    2. Have a special meeting with our neighbors and any
    interested groups to present and discuss where FAA sees this airport going in future years.
    3. Assure the public that eminent domain will NOT be
    used where there is another alternative – regardless of the cost.

    I propose we have staff implement procedures to see that the above happens. If any of you disagree, I’d like to hear it now.

    There was no disagreement!

    Jerry Cameron leads NW Florida

    Florida State Director John Hallman commented: “The Airport Authority’s change of philosophy on the use of eminent domain is a victory for all of those who cherish limited government and private property rights, this victory is an illustration of how committed people can make a difference. FreedomWorks gives ordinary citizens the support and standing that they need to exert a positive influence in curbing abuses in government and I want to congratulate NE Florida Chapter Leader Jerry Cameron on his excellent leadership on this issue and all the FreedomWorks members who fought along side with Jerry and stopped this growing abuse.”

    The following letter from Florida State Director John Hallman was sent to the Airport Authority.

    St. Augustine – St. Johns County Airport Authority
    Administration Building
    4796 US 1 North
    St. Augustine, FL 32095
    March 12th, 2006

    Freedomworks is dedicated to limited government and private property rights. We work constantly to reduce the size of government, lower taxes, and protect private property rights. There has been an alarming trend by local governments to use the concept of eminent domain in ways that threaten one of our most sacred institutions, private property. Originally eminent domain was used as a last resort to obtain the most essential facilities for public safety and the general welfare. That concept has been recently expanded to include almost anything government wants to do, including projects for the sole purpose of raising revenues and the tax base. This usage is a slippery slope that may well have the effect of rendering the term “private property” meaningless.

    Freedomworks of Florida has, for some time been aware of the eminent domain proceedings at the St. Augustine – St. Johns County Airport, and has worked closely with Jerry Cameron, our NE Florida coordinator, to work on improving the situation there.

    I was delighted when I received word from Jerry that the Airport Authority Board took a strong stand against the abuses of eminent domain. Your board should be recognized throughout Florida for taking initiative in this area. Private property rights in Florida will be more secure as a result of your actions. A copy of your actions in this area is being forwarded to our headquarters in Washington DC.

    Sincerely,

    John Hallman
    Florida State Director
    FreedomWorks
    PH: (561) 392-4432
    jhallman@freedomworks.org