The Kansas Meadowlark

Mar 27, 2006

Eminent Domain Abuse in Manhattan, KS: 
"Exactly as bad as what the Communists did in China"

The Fox News Hannity & Colmes' show on Friday featured a Kansas eminent domain abuse case from Manhattan, the "Little Apple," Kansas.  Marlene Ferlemann and Penny Ferlemann Sizemore are fighting almost a hopeless battle to keep their property from being taken by the city of Manhattan..  View the video (look for  video, "Controversy in the 'Little Apple'" ), or read the transcript of this program.  

Other information about this case can be seen here:


"But that's my property"


Property rights really don't exist in Kansas (anymore).  The State of Kansas can take a person's property via eminent domain (or even taxes) with a majority vote in the legislature.  The majority of the Kansas legislature are too pusillanimous to respect property rights of the very people they represent.  How does this make sense?

Last week the Kansas House rejected a constitutional amendment limiting eminent domain to only public uses.  The Kansas press is all too happy to condemn such a constitutional amendment (e.g., Lawrence Journal World), but is the press aggressive enough in protecting personal property rights?  Does the press "look the other way" let developers have their way?  A weaker bill giving the legislature the power of taking any property they want was passed instead.  

Do "Community Leaders" know best for all of us but take NO RESPONSIBILITY for their actions?  The Kansas Meadowlark has documented other cases of eminent domain abuse in Kansas since 2003.  In many of these cases the local governments show no advance planning or responsibility, such as:

  • The Blue Valley Board of Education took property from a woman who was born on the property in 1916 in Johnson County and had lived there her entire life (see Apr 28, 2004 article "District pursues land acquisition.").  Because Johnson County, Overland Park, and the Blue Valley Board of Education could not do responsible planning for new schools, they pick on an old woman and take her property?  And the Kansas press didn't even try to help this old woman?

  • The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) also abuses their power.  In a 2003 case in Overland Park, residents were invited to a meeting about "noise" walls along I-435.   In a bizarre "bait and switch" KDOT just weeks later told 15 residents that noise walls were not enough and they must move with their houses to be destroyed. (See "Doomed Homes in Overland Park Worth $2.6 million to be Destroyed.")  How were these houses ever allowed to be built so close to the Interstate?  Why doesn't planning work by local city/county governments?  Instead, why are private citizens the ones forced to suffer?

The Kansas legislature should be ashamed for protecting developers instead of citizens.


3/28/2006 UpdateFairway Residents Upset Over City Hall Site:  Petition against possible use of Eminent Domain

K a n s a s M e a d o w l a r k @ e f g 2 . c o m