John Walsh & Bob Blue

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... is the guest speaker scheduled for the 141st meeting of the Karl Hess Club, to convene on March 20, 2006.


    John Walsh on "The Key to Kelo" with Bob Blue

Eminent Domain abuse is one of the most critical issues to arise recently. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states "nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation."

In Kelo vs. The City of New London, the Supreme Court held that private homes and stores could be taken for a development that enhances property taxes and/or increases payroll and sales taxes revenues.

Also at issue is "just compensation," in that many property owners would willingly part with their parcels for an agreeable price. But Eminent Domain is often the first resort, not the last, because the governmental agency wants the property at the lowest cost.

Finally, the very idea of taking private property for "public use" only to convey it to another private party is anathema to fair play, justice, and the sanctity of private property as a foundation of our social system.

John Walsh is no stranger to local political controversy. In the past, we've had John speak on local political shenanigans and transit boondoggles. He's been lauded as "The Freak Who Stopped The Subway."

John says that he's "the only leader in the fight for property rights who doesn't own land," and observes that "Eminent Domain turns landlords and tenants into allies." When he is not (literally) gagged at MTA meetings, arguing transportation issues, he is likely the most conspicuous local activist on the redevelopment front. 

Kelo is the most nationally prominent of many cases being contested in localities around our country. It's been likened to the Dred Scott case's contentiousness. Could Kelo precipitate another civil war?

Across the street from the Ricardo Montalban Theater (formerly the Huntington Hartford Theatre) on Vine near Hollywood Boulevard is "The Angelyne Building," slated to be seized, demolished, and replaced by a "W" Hotel, presumably a more tax lucrative and "highest and best use" for this parcel. 

The Angelyne Building currently houses Bernard's Luggage, founded and operated for over a half century by Bernard Blue, father of Bob Blue, who will tell us about his travails dealing with government agencies intent on converting his property.

Our speakers will tell us how they intend to make The Angelyne Building "The Alamo of Property Rights."


    About John Walsh

Originally from New York City, where his parents started the first rent strikes in the 1950s, John Walsh comes to activism naturally. His "two great heroes are Howard Jarvis and Malcolm X" and his goal is to "train ten more John Walshes" to expand the effort.  A teacher by trade, John has taught every grade from pre-kindergarten through college and adult school.  He works as a substitute teacher in and around Los Angeles.


    About Bob Blue


Owner of Bernard's Luggage, Bob has been in the forefront of Hollywood activism. As reported by the Castle Coalition in May, the Los Angeles City Council approved a $325 million project at the intersection of Hollywood and Vine, including a fancy new 296-room W Hotel, thus displacing Bernard's Luggage.


    Special Note

The Karl Hess Club will present the Samuel Edward Konkin III Memorial Chauntecleer, an award for activism in the field of Agorism.



ADDENDUM: David Harmon took these photos at the above meeting.



Prior to Walsh and Blue's talk, the KHC awards committee announced the Chauntecleer Award to Wally Conger.