Skip to comments.Coming to rescue of property rights
Posted on 07/23/2006 12:38:39 PM PDT by Lorianne
For the past couple of decades at least, Oregon has served as a petri dish for breeding bad governing fads. As the place where old hippies seem to congregate, it has served as a testing ground for some of the most Draconian smart growth and new urbanism ideas out there making it a mecca of sorts for the better-living-through-master-planning set, but a war zone for property owners. All this command and control spawned a backlash several years back, when Oregonians approved Measure 37. It required that property owners be compensated when a land control regulation diminished their property value. We heralded the vote as the beginning of a second American Revolution, whose rallying cry would be, no regulation without compensation!
A government taking is a government taking, in our view, whether it comes in the form of condemnation and seizure using eminent domain, or via rules and regulations that so restrict an individuals property rights that a regulatory taking has occurred. The Fifth Amendment requires that just compensation be paid. We therefore applauded passage of Measure 37, though it led to an uproar among liberals, growthcontrollers and greens, who knew this would mean their days of cost-free regulating were over. There is no such thing as cost-free regulating, of course, any more than theres such a thing as a free government program. The question is, as always, who pays?
Until the passage of 37, which has been upheld by the Oregon Supreme Court, all the costs of growth control regulations fell on the individual property owners, who saw their land use options (and value) diminished in myriad ways. After its passage, the cost burden shifted to where it belongs to the regulator and the taxpaying public in whose name many of these growth controls are imposed. If they want to continue to play with peoples lives which is what it amounts to when you meddle with their property they have to pay to do so. Thus far, about $3.7 billion in claims have been made against the state under the new law.
This sticks in the craw of the command-and-control crowd, no doubt, but we think it will lead to much more care and discretion in the way regulators and politicians operate, as well as remind the public that someone has to pay for land-use regulations.
And the idea, were happy to report, is spreading.
Last week, supporters of Initiative 933, a Measure 37 clone in Washington state, turned in enough signatures to make the ballot. Government land-use regulations have increased exponentially in the past 10 years, said Dean Boyer, a spokesman for the Washington Farm Bureau. Its time to tell government to stop. And Washingtonians may take the idea a step further than Oregon did, by making the compensation provisions retroactive to 1995. And a similar measure, Proposition 2, will also be on Idahos ballot this fall.
The result will show whether Oregons Measure 37 was just an isolated case, in which average Americans reasserted their Fifth Amendment guarantee of just compensation, or part of a broader movement with national implications. We hope its the latter.
Of course, it might take a decade or more before the no-regulation-without-compensation concept migrates far enough east to revolutionize the regulatory regime in Washington, D.C. But just imagine the difference it would make if it ever does.
This is good news! The sad part is that the people must enact measures to secure the rights already granted them under the Federal Constitution. I hope more citizens in more states start enacting protective legislation for the First and Second Amendments, as well as to protect property rights in general.
As a resident of Washington State I truly am hoping that this measure passes.
As educated and freedom loving people, we MUST begin to take back the power from our "servants".
The Constitution limits the areas the FedGov can intrude into, and serves as a governer on spending. That mechanism has long been ignored, (of course for our own benefit...gag..puke), we need to spark a rebirth of a truly conservative party, that will return us to the days of a drastically smaller govt, increased liberty.
I would love to see a federal constitutional amendment, on the lines of WA states statement that the citizens are the sovereigns, and allow federal initiatives.
The first one would be to disallow the Congress from delegating its duties to unelected peoples.
Secondly how about building dormitories for those Congressmen and Senators in DC, and make them pay for their own housing without deductions, or live in them.
Third pay them on a sliding scale. For someone like Kennedy, no pay. A farmer from Dubuque with a mortgage and a hourly paying job to go back to, give him enough to compensate him for his time. If they do not want to sacrifice either time or treasure to serve, screw em. That would limit time spent causing us problems, and get rid of the aristocracy that now exists.
Anyone else ever given this kind of thing much thought? With the kind of government we now have in this country, and in the individual states, there is no time to sleep. Those that serve us do not rest in their attempts to build the chains of the govt to bind us to their wishes.
I forget who first said it. But it needs to be said again and again. " Private Property Rights Are Our Best Defense Against Tyranny."
One of the chief desires of the Tyrant is to claim that which does not rightfully belong to him. They are the schoolyard bully dressed in 3 piece suits and armed with beauracracy. We know how to defend against the tryant of arms and force. But the subtle tyrant is kept in check by our being able to say. " No it is not yours, you have no claim to this and no legitimate power to take this".
Without a clear doctrine of private property, arguments against ownership and use based on projected public good become tools of the new tyrants. We see this done too often in the name of planning. Which is actually often a means of attempting to alternate behavior and beliefs and nothing to do with actualy planning. Actual planning would deal with how best to protect the property owner from adverse effects and conditions. It would deal with how to insure that owners got the best usage from their property without causing harm to other rightful owners.
Instead planning has become a means of advancing a agenda that would make any Soviet 5 year planner drool in its suppression of the rights of the individual.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.