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The Bush Presidential Library
Posted by: Jon Henke on Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Bush's Presidential Library might be a perfect poetic reminder of his tenure...
The school favored to host the George W. Bush Presidential Library, Dallas's Southern Methodist University, may encounter a snag next week in the form of a lawsuit alleging that the school has improperly seized local homes in order to secure land for the proposed library site.
A religious school that seizes private property through disingenuous and possibly illegal means (for the greater good, natch) to be used for a massive ("$200 million to $300 million") paean to Government. I think we have a winner!
 
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I’m not sure why you’re surprised. He got the locals to condemn land to build his baseball team a stadium—why not a library!
 
Written By: Steven Donegal
URL: http://
I thought that eminent domain, like censorship, was a government action. Jon said:
A religious school that seizes private property through disingenuous and possibly illegal means...
Jon, don’cha think "purchased" would be a more appropriate-if less inflammatory-word? This guy filing the lawsuit sounds like one of the many Texas uber-partisans.
"To acquire the land to build the Bush Library they have breached numerous legal obligations, they’ve intimidated, misrepresented things, kicked old people out of their homes," said Mr. Vodicka, who owns four units in the complex. "It’s amazing to see how ruthless a Christian university can be."
"They want to take my home," he added, saying it was paradoxical that "homesteads" would be seized for the library of a Republican president. "
I am quite surprised to see a libertarian insert himself into was apprears to be a private transaction mislabeled an eminent domain travesty. Could you direct me to your comments on the Clinton Library case that was truly an eminent domain case?

 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
A religious school
Funny, my sister-in-law didn’t mention any required courses in Christianity when she got her MBA there. The Church Police didn’t work me over the last time I went there when the Kodo drummers toured Dallas.

But yeah, it is a poetic reminder of the silly bullsh*te (that’s not even a real word, danmit) that people spew about President Bush. It’s not like there aren’t real reasons to be annoyed at him.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
SMU is a religious school? I hope you’re not serious.
 
Written By: The Owner’s Manual
URL: http://gcruse.typepad.com
I thought that eminent domain, like censorship, was a government action. Jon said:
I didn’t say anything about eminent domain. They were disingenuous and their actions (failing to do upkeep, etc) may have been illegal. That’s what I wrote.
SMU is a religious school? I hope you’re not serious.
It’s not a seminary and I didn’t mean to imply that, but it was founded by the UMC and it retains a school of theology. The religious connection is, admittedly, tangential.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
I didn’t say anything about eminent domain. They were disingenuous and their actions (failing to do upkeep, etc) may have been illegal. That’s what I wrote.
When you approvingly link an article titled "Lawsuit Over Eminent Domain Could Snarl Bush Library Plans and then make no disclaimer disagreeing with that title I am left thinking you heartily endorse that. As to the illegality or disingenousness of the school’s actions I have only the word of the complainant in this case and, as I said, he sounds like an over-the-hill partisan. P.S. If the complainant owned four of the units what were his upkeep responsibilities? And this
Mr. Vodicka’s lawsuit, filed in the fall, seeks to prevent the university, which officially bought the property in mid-December but issued vacate notices last spring,
Wow! The property deterioriated so quickly in a mere two months.
According to Mr. Vodicka, who is also a Dallas-based litigation attorney, SMU has progressively stacked the board of University Gardens with university employees since around four years ago, and the board has since failed to perform maintenance on the complex.
Oh, it wasn’t the school that so disingenously let the complex fall into disrepair?
In this lawsuit in which Gary’s twin brother-also an attorney-got Gary to invest and then sued is interesting.
Vodicka’s twin brother Gary, a Dallas lawyer, invested. So did their mother. Vodicka’s housemate, Steve Aubrey, an outdoor lighting designer, says that he put in $150,000 and that his parents invested as well.
Gary’s brother is a retired lawyer at age 46 having gotten wealthy in real estate.Well, well.
Vodicka says he didn’t need the money. At 46, he has been retired from the practice of law for 10 years, having done extremely well investing in apartment complexes as Austin started to recover from the 1980s real estate bust.
Vodicka also told an acquaintance, Ruben Johnson, about the company. Johnson didn’t invest himself but spread the word to his friend Barbara Hearst.
Vodicka and Aubrey got to know Johnson when they attended a pool party four summers ago at his $1.2 million West Austin estate.
In 1994, Johnson was released from federal prison after serving nearly five years for taking kickbacks on the construction of a downtown office building for United Bank, where he was CEO and chairman.
Lobbied by some of Johnson’s high-profile friends, including Lady Bird Johnson, Liz Carpenter and Walter Cronkite, President Clinton pardoned him the morning he left office in 2001.
Seems like we have some wheeler, dealer Texas lawyers, very tied in to Texas democratic circles, getting rich on investment properties. I wonder why a wealthy Dallas lawyer would live in a deteriorating condo complex. I wonder when he moved into "his homestead."
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
I’d bet one would be hard-pressed to find a major urban university in the US that hasn’t had to often resort to eminent-domain and other tactics. And whatever you think of ED, a university is more in the public interest than the Kelo situation.

A little speculation of mine: We all know that Bush is extremely unpopular in academia. I can imagine local Bush-haters organizing a resistance to a Bush Library, and then using the story to hit Bush with the corruption/crony thing. This is just another attempt at conjuring controversy.
 
Written By: equitus
URL: http://
Poetic reminder of Bush’s presidency? Maybe, but for different reasons than Jon seems to believe. It’s another variation of the standard allegations involving greedy, hypocritical, power abusing, rich, inside-baseball-playing, corrupt, torture condoning, Jack Abramoff loving, Christian conservative, Republicans sticking it to the little guy. They sound really bad until you spend five minutes looking at them and you see that they are a joke.

As far as the religious angle goes, I got my law degree from SMU Law School and my sister went there as an undergrad. Unless you are studying at the school of theology, religion plays about as big a role at that school as it does on this blog, which is to say it doesn’t at all. Duke University has a theology school and is affiliated with the Methodist Church just like SMU. Yale has a theology school and just severed its affiliation with the United Church of Christ in 2005. Are those "religious" schools too? Of course, SMU has the word "Methodist" in it. That’s good enough for those who get all worked up when you say the word "Halliburton" or "Neoconservative."

And yeah, that religious school was full of hypocritical Christian conservatives like my ultra-liberal, Jewish, Ivy League Law grad, native New Yorker civil procedure professor (who is still the angriest liberal I have ever met in my life). He was the assistant Dean of the Law School and he later became the interim Dean. In 1984, he filed a lawsuit against the RNC demanding that they provide air conditioned tents for protestors at the in 1984 Presidential Convention. I also had Nadine Strossen (Pres. of the ACLU) and Lee Bollinger (then Dean of Michigan Law School, now Pres. Columbia Univ.) as visiting lecturers in one of my classes, etc., etc. I encountered just about as many Christian conservatives in the SMU student body and faculty as I do now in Venice, California. Like almost every law school in the country, you could count the number of Republicans on the faculty with one hand.

Plus, this isn’t even an eminent domain case (which is precisely what it’s called by the article Jon links to). According to the article, SMU obtained 93% of the University Gardens condominiums through purchases on the open market and it now wants to use the property for something else. That’s what is known as private property ownership. Furthermore, SMU is allegedly closing down the condo complex pursuant to the by-laws and in order to facilitate its bid for the Bush library. The final decision won’t be made until later this year and SMU may not even get it. This begs the question, why does this serve as a "poetic reminder" of Bush’s presidency? It’s a dispute between private property owners, one of whom happens to be a plaintiff’s lawyer who owns four units and obviously wants more money than he’s been offered by the condo association.

As for his complaint about bad faith in the upkeep of the complex, I can say from personal knowledge that as far back as 1992, it was just barely above the level of a dump and it abutted one of the busiest freeways in Dallas. They couldn’t have let it go much farther downhill because it was already at the bottom.

I think a good way to measure Mr. Vodicka’s good faith in this matter is to consider the fact that he has apparently subpoenaed the other three library bidders’ records. Do you know what relevance there is between those other bids and this breach of contract suit involving the bylaws of the University Gardens condo association? None. Mr. Vodicka may or may not be a Democrat, but he’s clearly using this lawsuit as a means to screw up the Bush Library selection process. That means, in addition to a nice little pay day, he gets the added bonus of messing with W.

What a load of BS.
 
Written By: jt007
URL: http://
"As for his complaint about bad faith in the upkeep of the complex, I can say from personal knowledge that as far back as 1992, it was just barely above the level of a dump and it abutted one of the busiest freeways in Dallas. They couldn’t have let it go much farther downhill because it was already at the bottom. "

Universtiy Gardens was a fine place to live....I know from experience becaue I did live there. Many fine homesteads border busy freeways. You won’t find many former residents calling it a dump. It was a great location....University Park address....right next to SMU.

The "units" sitting just north of Universtiy Gardens are far worse. They are owned and "maintained" by SMU. Those are far closer to dumps than University Gardens.

Vodicka wants the records of the other library hopefuls just to proove that in fact they do have plans, they do have sites selected, etc. SMU claimed they had no interest in the site for the bush presidential library until Mr. Vodicka crossexamined the chief financial officer of smu or some other high official and this person then admitted that the library was part of their plans. It shows that SMU is using deceit and lies to obtain this property. The other schools plans may not have much relevance now.

Individual property rights are being made less important. If big money and power want your property they likely will get it through big government and the courts without paying you much. If SMU wants Vodickas property I say Pay him what he wants and get the library going.
 
Written By: stickit to the MAN
URL: http://
If you guys are talking about SMU, I hate to burst your bubble and kill your buzz in thinking you can stick it to a Christian school.

SMU is Methodist in name ONLY. They are a private university, period. They are not considered a Christian school by anyone.

I guess this proves any idiot can get a blog.
 
Written By: BaylorMan
URL: http://

 
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