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The Ganley Candidacy

I’ve commented on this in response to a previous posting on Tom Ganley’s candidacy for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate from Ohio, but I think it deserves its own entry to disseminate the information as widely as possible.

Tom Ganley is campaigning as a conservative. That’s great. Except at least in one vital area, he hasn’t acted like one – private property rights.  Post-Kelo, and following the revelation that Pfizer now no longer wants Mrs. Kelo’s former property, this is no small matter.

Mr. Ganley’s foray into the use of eminent domain to advance his business efforts occurred in 2001 in Akron, Ohio.  Mr. Ganley, as president of the Ganley Auto Group, was owner of Ganley Toyota, having purchased the dealership in 1995. Business was good and Ganley Toyota wanted to expand. So far, so good.

The trouble was not all his neighbors wanted to sell their property.  One neighbor was a modest restaurant, Katmandu. It was nothing fancy, but it was the pride and joy of its owner, Robert Brescia, who had devoted years of his life to build and improve his business and the associated property. 

But more importantly in my mind, was the home of Romie and Betty Holcomb. Romie, a Korean war veteran, and his wife had called their property home for 30 years. The fact that Mr. Holcomb risked life and limb in the service of his country meant nothing. Neither was the difficulty that an elderly couple would face in relocating and taking on a brand new mortgage.

But according to news reports at the time, the Ganleys never even made an offer to purchase the properties neighboring their dealership. No offers. No negotiations. Nothing.  What the Ganley Auto Group did was put pressure on Akron City Council in the form of, “Either condemn these properties and sell them to us or we will move the dealership out of Akron.” Akron City Council agreed, the area was declared an urban renewal zone, and the properties were seized under eminent domain.

Supporters of Ganley’s candidacy have cited the losses Ganley has suffered at the hands of the auto bailout as an example of his experience as a business owner and his understanding of the dangers of unchecked government power. A phrase comes to mind, “He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword.” Or, to borrow a phrase from Michele Malkin, “boo freaking hoo.”  When his home is taken from him like the Holcomb’s was (at his bequest), then he will understand the dangers of unchecked government power.

Mr. Ganley may not have a voting record to judge his candidacy by. But he does have a public record. And on the issue of private property rights, it is not the record of a conservative.

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