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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

August, 2005

 

MOO TOWN NEWS
By Judy Borello

The American Dream Turned Nightmare
Washington, DC -Rep. Richard W. Pombo (R-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Resources and author of This Land is Our Land: How to End the War on Private Property, issued the following statement/opinion editorial on Thursday's decision by the Supreme Court in Kelo v. City of New London:
"In and as a result of our great struggle to win independence, our forefathers realized that private property-indeed owning the fruits of one's labor-was so inextricably linked to freedom that they sought its protection in the Constitution. Property rights are the heart of individual freedom and the foundation for all other civil rights guaranteed to Americans by that document. Both are designed to protect the weak from the strong. Without the freedom to acquire, possess and defend property, all other guaranteed rights are merely words on a page.
"The Fifth Amendment holds that private property shall not be taken by the government for public use without just compensation. These safeguards have been under assault for decades and until now, the typical victims were family farmers and ranchers in the West. The attacks have come not from Red Coats, but from government bureaucrats armed with a voracious appetite for power. Compensation for their overzealous application of environmental regulations and impact statements has come rarely, and rarely is it just.
"The Supreme Court's decision to allow local governments to declare eminent domain in this case goes beyond compensation; it wholly perverts the intent of public use, and in so doing may turn the American dream of home ownership into a nightmare. It has delivered the property rights assault from rural America right to the doorsteps of suburbia.
"In New London, Conn. city planners essentially decided that evicting 15 homeowners from their homes was in the 'greater good' as a 'public use' for an office park and new condos. But the public to be directly served in this case was a private corporation. Whether they were newly-wed couples hoping for the promise of long-term appreciation in value or life-long residents who owned their homes outright, the Supreme Court approved this injustice, turned the Constitution on its head, and shattered the American dream of home ownership for families. This was a nightmare for one married couple in particular who abruptly lost their home of fifty years.
No longer will public use correctly be defined as a road, bridge or hospital, it can be defined as an abstract greater good, such as increased tax revenue or economic development. Private property-the American home-can now be taken at will by government and reallocated to another private entity if it runs afoul of a local bureaucrat's notion of public use and greater good. No longer will the weak be protected from the strong, as these 15 families have learned. This is not what the Founding Fathers envisioned.
"James Madison wrote that government is" instituted no less for protection of the property, than of the persons of individuals... The rights of property are committed into the same hands with the personal rights." On this Independence Day, rural and urban private property owners alike should have a lot to think about. If your investment in private property is not protected from the whims of government, how much individual liberty do you really have?"
The Supreme Court's recent erosion of our private property rights brings this issue to the door of every American who owns a home. Now it is obvious that nothing can stop local government from taking property if they decide they have a better use for it.
There was a good reason why our Founding Fathers guaranteed private property with their lives. This is one issue that all people, no matter Republican or Democrat,, black, white, green or psychedelic pink, can come together and not allow this to happen. Already Congress is mustering support to change this obnoxious decision by the Supreme Court.
If you care about this and you should if you are a property owner and even if you are not, please call, write or email your senator and congressperson and tell them how unjust this law is. That's our only way of turning it around. We must succeed in this effort.
PS This is one of the most important issues in our lifetime and for generations to come. We must prevail!
Many Americans have died to preserve our rights. Don't let them die in vain when all it takes is a painless five minutes to call, write or email to the politicians to get the job done!

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