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Nov '23

Letter: HART’s eminent domain is brutal use of authority – Honolulu Star-Advertiser

CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM
Honolulu’s new Skyline train passed over lunch trucks parked in the old Pearlridge Sears parking lot on Sunday.
The front-page story, “HART board approves eminent domain filing for Kalihi property” (Star-Advertiser, Nov. 17), shows HART has no heart. Read more
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The front-page story, “HART board approves eminent domain filing for Kalihi property” (Star-Advertiser, Nov. 17), shows HART has no heart.
The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) invoked eminent domain to dispossess the Takara family of land on which their family business has stood for 59 years. Rationalizations for eminent domain always mention payment to the victims. That downplays the real issue: freedom and consent versus coercion. Eminent domain is ultimately backed by armed force. Enforcing it in Los Angeles in 1959 had armed officers literally drag a widow, Aurora Arechiga, from her home.
People assume cities need eminent domain. In January, I emailed development officials of Carson City, Nev., about this. They informed me that although the city can enact it, at the time they knew of no instance of Carson City actually exercising eminent domain in its history.
During these holidays, ponder whether slogans about “the greater good” are justification enough, and if passively condoning eminent domain’s brutality is what we truly want.
Stuart K. Hayashi
Mililani

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