Car Wash Lawsuit Dismissed

A U.S. magistrate has recommended the dismissal of the lawsuit filed against the city by Henry Weinschenk, owner of Express Car Wash. The business was prohibited from using water during the 2002 drought, and filed suit against the city last June, claiming that the prohibiting on washing cars amounted to a violation of the Fifth Amendment (“private property [shall not] be taken for public use, without just compensation”). Weinschenk intends to appeal. John Yellig has the story in today’s Progress.

5 thoughts on “Car Wash Lawsuit Dismissed”

  1. That’s a major distortion of the taking clause of the Fifth Amendment, but not an unusual distortion. Property rights advocates (powerful property owning corporations and their friends) have been arguing for many years that the Fifth Amendment guarantees compensation every time a government organization does anything that might affect private property negatively. This is funny, because everything government does affects private property. If every policy was scrutinized for every way it hurt private property interests and then those interests were paid for it, the beaurocracy costs alone would be staggering. Such a reading of the Fifth Amendment effectively abolishes government, which may sound nice, but in fact is a bad idea right now. For example, without the city to direct water conservation efforts, we could very well have run out of water. And I guarantee the economic damage to the city from that would have been much worse than anything Express Car Wash had to suffer through.

  2. I’m glad to see this test of the eminent domain clause. But I think taxes and regulation are different from taking property. In this case, no property was taken. Future potential average income is not property.

    Corporations are for relaxation of right to own property so their pals in govt can take from you and give to them. Corporations oppose taxes and regulation of property because their wealth is often in the form of real estate.

    Charlottesville’s Eminent Domain website

  3. Bullshit. I am more anti big biz than anyone, but your little blather means nothing in this case. I don’t care if he invoked the 5th amendment or triple-H clause 52-43. This small biz guy was inappropriately discriminated against based on purely subjective and emotional [poor] judgment from city individuals. The city did not use or provide any generally accepted scientific measurements determining his biz was more wasteful of water resources than, say, local fast food joints or even the damn county buildings themselves.

    Government’s purpose is to serve the people, not to oppress them. To me, this situation is quite similar to the Rosewood scene: something bad happened and someone needs to pay. Why not just hang a few negroes? That way, people will know something was done about it, even though the veritable criminals may still be at large and innocent men and their families have to suffer to appease the populace.

    What I want to see is a change in the way we the people hold our own government accountable. Just as we can prosecute private entities for wrongdoing, so should we have a well-oiled and prepared system to bring down bad government. Government is a necessary deviation from our utopical ideals, yet it is fundamentally necessary for as long as there’s unfairness in the world. We must not allow our own governments to propagate their own inequities and misdeeds with impunity.

  4. And to make it all worse, since the "historic" drought of 2002, what has been done to solve the problems that were identified? Not a damn thing! Has the reservoir been dredged? No. Has the dam been raised? No. Have the water resources been improved in any way? No.

    Damn good thing it’s supposed to rain today, tomorrow, and Wednesday, isn’t it?

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