Gangster government in a Seattle parking lot

Thomas Lifson
A business owner earning a decent and honorable living is visited by someone, armed and willing to use force, who demands to take over the business, whether or not the owner wants to sell. This is the plot line of many gangster movies, from the 1930s Warner Brothers classics onward. But it is also the story of the City of Seattle moving in on a parking lot owner and using the powers of eminent domain to buy the property and use it as a parking lot. Fox News reports:

The city of Seattle is forcing a 103-year-old woman to give up her private waterfront parking lot to make way for a city-owned parking lot.

The City Council voted Monday to use its power of eminent domain to acquire the lot owned by Spokane resident Myrtle Woldson, who has repeatedly turned down offers to purchase the property, Q13FOX.com reported.

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, the city wants to acquire Woldson's property to mitigate the loss of other parking lots during the construction of a $2.1 billion tunnel that will replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

City officials have said that they plan to keep the lot for surface parking, even though city and state transportation documents call for structured parking along Seattle's central waterfront area, including Woldson's lot, the newspaper reported.

Not only will Ms. Woldson lose her livelihood when forced to relinquish her property to the state (the word "sell" seems inappropriate, since the transaction is not voluntary), she will also face a capital gains tax on whatever money the government deems is the "fair market value" of her parking lot.

Government has increasingly taken on the role of predator, extorting from citizens what it wants on pain of incarceration through its monopoly on the legitimate use of force, and lavishing on its own members higher pay and benefits than enjoyed by ordinary people.

The members of the City Council of Seattle who voted to use eminent domain ought to be hounded out of office in the next municipal elections. They are tyrants.


A business owner earning a decent and honorable living is visited by someone, armed and willing to use force, who demands to take over the business, whether or not the owner wants to sell. This is the plot line of many gangster movies, from the 1930s Warner Brothers classics onward. But it is also the story of the City of Seattle moving in on a parking lot owner and using the powers of eminent domain to buy the property and use it as a parking lot. Fox News reports:

The city of Seattle is forcing a 103-year-old woman to give up her private waterfront parking lot to make way for a city-owned parking lot.

The City Council voted Monday to use its power of eminent domain to acquire the lot owned by Spokane resident Myrtle Woldson, who has repeatedly turned down offers to purchase the property, Q13FOX.com reported.

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, the city wants to acquire Woldson's property to mitigate the loss of other parking lots during the construction of a $2.1 billion tunnel that will replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

City officials have said that they plan to keep the lot for surface parking, even though city and state transportation documents call for structured parking along Seattle's central waterfront area, including Woldson's lot, the newspaper reported.

Not only will Ms. Woldson lose her livelihood when forced to relinquish her property to the state (the word "sell" seems inappropriate, since the transaction is not voluntary), she will also face a capital gains tax on whatever money the government deems is the "fair market value" of her parking lot.

Government has increasingly taken on the role of predator, extorting from citizens what it wants on pain of incarceration through its monopoly on the legitimate use of force, and lavishing on its own members higher pay and benefits than enjoyed by ordinary people.

The members of the City Council of Seattle who voted to use eminent domain ought to be hounded out of office in the next municipal elections. They are tyrants.