Last week, IJ joined the fight to protect Dallas businessman Hinga Mbogo, whose auto repair shop is being threatened by the city’s zoning laws. Hinga, a Kenyan immigrant who has run the popular Hinga’s Automotive for the past 30 years, is being told he has to leave his property to make way for a “planned development district.” A Change.org petition spearheaded by IJ to save Hinga’s business has now acquired over 50,000 signatures.
Through a process called “amortization,” the city of Dallas is attempting to remove Hinga’s shop from its historic location in order to allow for new private development without compensating him.
In the petition’s description, Hinga described the city’s actions as “eminent domain in disguise, but without compensation. It is state-run gentrification.” He goes on to say:
“I support economic development; it is a great thing, but the government should only do it without trampling on the rights of the city’s residents. When I first opened my shop, the surrounding neighborhood was rough. It has gotten much better, and I’ve been part of that success. Now, I want to be part of the future of Dallas, not a vestige of its past.”
A Forbes op-ed penned by IJ’s Nick Sibilla notes that despite safeguards against eminent domain abuse in the state, amortization has been defended by the Texas Supreme Court as a process that “does not constitute a ‘taking’ in the eminent domain sense,” but instead fell “within the scope of municipal police power.”