08/04/16 Hinga’s Auto Shop

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“I couldn’t believe I lived in America.”  Those were the words of Hinga Mbogo.

Here’s what’s happening behind the headlines.

Four decades ago Hinga emigrated from Kenya.  He opened an auto repair shop in Dallas.  He was living the American dream.  For more than 30 years, Hinga repaired thousands of cars.  Customers rewarded him with high praise on yelp.com.

You may have heard of the Kelo versus New London decision [here, here].  In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled it was perfectly acceptable for governments to seize private property using eminent domain and make it available to businesses that would pay more in taxes.

Amortization is a back-door seizure.  Here’s how it works.  Governments retroactively zone a neighborhood to make legal businesses illegal.  They give owners a deadline to close-up shop and leave.

They did this on Hinga’s street.  One city councilman said they wanted to make way for a “Starbucks or a Macaroni Grill.”  Hinga’s auto repair business of more than 30 years is now virtually worthless. He can’t sell it as car shop.  Nor can he operate it.  Texas law allows cities to do this.

Dallas has fined Hinga more than $300,000 because he hasn’t laid-off his employees and shut-down his business.

The Texas legislature should end the dishonest practice of amortization.

[Interested viewers may contact the Dallas City Council and urge them to rescind plans to shut-down Hinga Mbogo’s family business.  The Dallas City Council can be reached at 214.670.4050.  Additional contact information for the mayor and all city council members is here.]

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