John Stossel

The homeowners tried to challenge the legality of the condemnations, but a court dismissed the complaint.

It's bad enough the politicians want to steal the homes of these working and retired people. But according to IJ, the city led the residents to believe a way might be found to save their homes even after they had promised the property to the developers. Says IJ: "[T]he MTOTSA homeowners took the mayor up on his offer, promising to cooperate with the city and help with neighborhood improvements. Rather than work with the homeowners, however, the city dismissed them ... " -- demanding elaborate plans for expensive infrastructure improvements.

"To save their homes, in other words, Long Branch expects 93-year-old Al Viviano and his few dozen neighbors to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultants and specialized urban redevelopment plans," says IJ. "[T]he problem with MTOTSA is not blight; it is that it has 93-year-old retirees, not rich and trendy professionals."

Mayor Schneider insists the residents knew the redevelopment plan already was in place and were told the chance of saving their homes was slight. And anyway, he said, he couldn't really see how the few homes in good repair could be integrated into the development plan.

Americans have long prided themselves on their homeownership. It has been seen as the key to the independence and freedom that made America what it is.

Now ownership is subject to arbitrary rule by arrogant politicians.

John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at > To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at ©Creators Syndicate