Monday, September 7, 2015

eminent domain

Is eminent domain fair?  should the government be able to take property that the owner doesn't want to sell?

Members of the Sheahan family said Monday they have rejected the Air Force's $5.2 million offer to buy their land and mining claims near Groom Mine, next to the secret Area 51 installation where the U.S. military and CIA have tested spy planes and stealth aircraft for six decades.
Joe Sheahan, 54, of Henderson, said the family has decided to decline the final offer that the Air Force made public last week because "we want to keep our property."
He said the Air Force has threatened to take control of their property through eminent domain on Sept. 10 if the family doesn't accept the offer.
His cousins Ben Sheahan, 56, Danny Sheahan, 58, and Barbara Sheahan Manning, 59, — all from Henderson — said their stake in the combined 400 acres of property and unpatented mining claims is worth considerably more, not counting the reparations they say they are owed by the Air Force and Department of Energy for "abuses and atrocities" that date back to the early 1950s. That's when they said their ore processing mill was fire-bombed by a military jet and their property was showered by radioactive fallout from numerous above-ground nuclear weapons tests.
Most recently, when some family members visited the property in the restricted area 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas — as the Air Force has allowed them to do about once a month — guards held them at gunpoint, including a 7-year-old girl who was "traumatized" by the show of force, Danny Sheahan said.
"It seems like machine guns solve anything on the property out there. That's not the American way," he said.
A Nellis Air Force Base spokesman said in an email Monday that the Air Force "is unaware of any evidence to support this claim."
The Air Force claims the family's activities over the past several years have impeded its efforts to use the range for flight tests like those that have spawned the nation's stealth aircraft at Area 51. The airstrip on the Groom Dry Lake bed, known as Watertown, began operation in 1955 to test the U-2 spy plane.
Nellis officials have said the presence of civilians in the restricted area poses safety and security risks and results in costly delays of flight operations.
"We're interrupting their operations? Really?" Joe Sheahan said. "We didn't parachute into their backyard. They parachuted into our backyard."
The Sheahan's ancestors established mining for silver, lead, copper, zinc and small amounts of gold dating back to 1889. Manning said the family owns six patented claims in addition to 15 unpatented claims that are leased to the Bureau of Land Management.
She said the family's ore processing mill exploded and burned in June 1954 when a jet's wing fuel tank was dropped on it.
The Air Force said the incident was adjudicated in the United States Court of Claims.
Manning said, however, "Our grandparents ran out of money trying to fight it."


  1. Two basic views I think-
    1) The classic black and white and ultimately correct in all cases view- Taking land is essentially taking freedom. It's like what Yoda said about the dark side of the force, "Once you set foot on that path, color you future forever it will"

    2)The liberal and insanely horrible, indefensible, enslaving, looting, and otherwise stupid outlook that sometimes, in very few cases, it does serve a greater good. What makes this even more stupid is that this is highly subjective and as we all know, there simply aint no room for subjectivity when it comes to freedom.

    Not sure what greater good could come of taking this particular piece of land, and equally not sure why 5 million dollars for a piece of desert is not enough money to relinquish a claim and live happily ever after. But, to be liberal is akin to living in a perpetual state of wrongheaded confusion.

    That about sum it up?

    1. In the metro area several years ago we agreed to a tax increase for light rail. The project moves forward expanding outward into the suburbs. An interesting thing is happening, eminent domain is declared around the stations. People are losing their homes and compensated for the property and the local governments sell the property to developers for commercial development including new apartment, condo's.

      The greater good is enriching developers?

    2. Area 51 is the clue, they need more room to store all those flying saucers and dead space aliens.

    3. Come on now Mick, you KNOW this is where the FEMA camps will be. Actually, I think the government wants the land because they know Ron Paul is right and they will need to gold buried on this land.

    4. I thought the land was going to be used as a refuge for the desert tortoise.

    5. Okay, finally finished screwing around and completed my presentation. Warning, graphic pictures of impetigo that look kinda nasty.

    6. Reminds me of my daughters younger years and her battle with eczema. Spent a week in the hospital as it developed into a staff infection. A very unhappy kid.

    7. When I was real young, I had horrible asthma and eczema. In hindsight, considering that both my parents smoked, the asthma is no surprise. I still have flares of eczema but honestly, it got a lot better as my diet changed. Thankfully I never had impetigo although some of my eczema flares as a kid looked like some of those pictures.

    8. Doesn't the federal government already own about 84% of Nevada already?

    9. Have you seen much of Nevada outside of Vegas? There's just nothing there. A lotta empty space, kinda like a Rick Perry campaign office.

    10. Yeah, the daughter had a major case of eczema with allergies to boot. The allergies made the eczema worse. the week in the hospital bath every 4 hours steroids on the body, wrapped in wet clothes and then covered in sweats.

      Her eczema looked much like impetigo. She still has flare ups but after we discovered her food allergies, corn, all corn products, it was a bit easier. Except for finding food without corn products.

      Been to Battle Mountain NV. A true paradise. Then again search light was pretty nice, LOL. Truck ran into a pole that had our fiber on it. The fire destroyed the fiber. What we didn't know at the time is the alternate root ran underground next to the pole. The fire destroyed that too. Ah, the good times.

    11. I actually like Reno quite a bit. I think that place has a little bit of everything. I could care less about the casino's because I gamble so rarely I would not miss it if it were not there. It's close to a lot of really good hiking, there seems to be a growing number of vegetarian restaurants, there is actually color in the vegetation and there are four seasons. The biggest drawback, for me, is that there isn't an ice rink. The nearest one is south Tahoe which is a pretty good cruise from Reno. If they had a rink, I would consider moving there. There are pockets of Nevada that contain true hidden gems.

    12. Spent some time hiking in Red Rock Canyon. A great place to spend the day.

      Went on to Great Basin Nat'l. Park.

      The down side of Nevada is the summer heat much like Arizona both states are great fall/winter destinations.

      Battle Mountain is memorable for me. Driving back from California I had a pile of garbage called a Mitsubishi Starion. A fun car to drive that no one could fix when broken. Broke down in Battle Mountain and looked for a place to repair it. One place I stopped the guy couldn't find the carburetor. Beat on the top of the fuel injector cover with a hammer, moved on to the next place where the guy said he had no idea how to fix it. Bought a bunch of fuel additives and decided that if it broke down I would take the plates off and leave the key in it and hitch a ride back to Colorado. Made it to Vail pass before t stopped. Coasted down the east side of the pass. Had it towed from Georgetown to Denver gave the driver the keys and kissed the car goodbye.

    13. Red Rock is actually a pretty nice place to go do some mild hiking. Mt Charleston isn't bad, but as you ascend toward the top, you eventually reach a point where you are no longer shielded from seeing Vegas or Pahrump. There are actually some interesting hidden hikes close by, including some that have petroglyphs. It's hard though to find stuff that lets you feel like you have really gotten away from the city.

      I think Reno is going to have a very interesting growth period here. Getting the Tesla battery plant is going to help, but it's proximity to the tech areas of California are also key. It may go boom bust up there as they are probably about to have another period of people with California house money moving in to screw up local prices. I had planned on beating it out of Vegas pretty quick after school, but I may have an opportunity of two here that will be hard to pass up. Can't see making this "home" for good, but the cheapness of living here for awhile might make sense to build back up the savings I spent on school