Having just read the Sun Journal article of April 20, “County Commission begins eminent domain on disputed road,” I am shocked.
In the article, County Administrator Steven Cole is quoted as saying, “… taking the road by eminent domain was the quickest, cleanest way of settling the matter,” and that “… it would be cheaper for the county than a trial.”
Quickest, cleanest, cheapest — is that what stands for due process now?
There is no question there are cheaper and easier political systems than democracy. After all, it would be so much easier to just imprison accused criminals instead of bothering with a trial.
And perhaps Commissioners Steven Merrill, Caldwell Jackson and David Duguay think that Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak had it right. But in the United States, democracy and due process is what we have and what we deserve.
I know the landowners personally, as well as some of their neighbors. There is no intent to deny usage, right-of-way, or appropriate utilization of the road. And, more importantly, there is absolutely no reason to deny a basic right of this country.
I hope that when the county goes to mediation with the landowners, the court will remember the American values that other people all over the world can only dream of.
Eminent domain is not the answer. Everyone deserves to be heard.
I hope Commissioners Merrill, Jackson and Duguay realize that basic American rights come before government efficiency.
Dana Levy, Newburyport, Mass.