2005-07-01 / Editorials

Downtown business owners need to get involved on city’s committee

Moorpark needs input from its downtown business owners and residents, and it needs it now.

It’s encouraging that the city will use a community-based committee to examine plans, projects and issues, such as eminent domain. The first focus will address the revitalization of downtown Moorpark.

To be effective, the committee desperately needs balance. Many people live or work downtown, and some of them must become involved as committee members.

Democracy works best when every constituency is represented in the process.

Too many downtown citizens are bitter and resentful about previous city decisions, but history shouldn’t prevent their involvement now.

In fact, it should do the opposite, especially today, in the wake of a recent federal court decision that gave government even more power in eminent domain.

By further reducing the rights of property owners, the court has enabled local governments to now use eminent domain to increase their tax base.

For those who may have forgotten, eminent domain allows government to take control of private property if there’s a great public need. The land owner supposedly gets “fair market value” for his property.

Moorpark’s Project Area Committee (PAC) will be formed with appointed business owners and others, who, like many Moorpark residents, care enough to get involved.

The PAC approach may prove to be an effective counterbalance to the court case.

Depending on who serves on the committee, the city could get fairer and more tempered decision-making when it comes to improving the quality of life in Moorpark. The people who need to get involved know who they are. They shouldn’t allow previous anger and frustration with city hall stop them from participating now. Their talents and knowledge are sorely needed.

Moorpark needs these people to step forward.

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