Meet Mike Laster, Houston City Council Member from District J.
Mike was born in California, a place where eminent domain laws (a fancy term for legalized property theft) are common place and frequently abused by state politicians.
At a recently city council meeting a concerned citizen, Deidre Jordan, came forward with a story about how Houston is trying to seize some of her property near Greens Bayou which she claims has been in her family for "a very long time".
Jordan explained how she's been receiving threatening letters from the city since January so they can take some of her land and build a hike and bike trail which will cost $220 million. She insists she's already given the city 20 acres of her land and she's not interested in sharing anymore of her property so she's pleading with the city to leave her alone. Her family uses the land to lease out space for truck storage. This is their primary source of income. The amount of land the city wants to take from her is enough to park one or two trucks.
During the exchange Councilman Mike Laster dismissed the citizen's concerns and publicly mocked her, accusing her of trying to "jack up the price" of her property.
The woman, however, insists she's not interested in selling the property. She just wants the city to leave her alone.
As the woman begged the city council to let her keep her property, Mike repeatedly interrupted her and sent her away. A short video of the exchange tells you everything you need to know about Councilman Laster.
$220 million is an awful lot of money to spend in a city that can't afford to pay it's firefighters. Even worse, the property where the city wants to build the hike & bike trail is a short distance away from a halfway house: home to sex offenders and other recently released violent criminals. Does that sound like a place where you'd wanna go jogging? Would you want your wife or daughter to use that hiking trail? Mike Laster thinks so - and he wants to use the government's power to seize people's property in an effort to make it happen.
Fact: abusing eminent domain laws for city beautification efforts is unethical and immoral.