About Me

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Did Socrates say "Know Thyself", or was he misunderstood, as all are. Show Thyself is all we can do. The knowing is unknowable.  

I am filled with joy.  It can't be helped.  

Became a Farmer, Builder, Musician, Tank Commander, Librarian, Lawyer and Minister. I have failed at many things. And now retired.  Filled, just filled, with Joy. 

Saturday, September 09, 2006

EMINEN T DOMAIN - private property rights and the future

We have a documented history of the dynamics and consequences of land development, whether administered by a government "Bureau" (eg Bureau of Land Management) or by private "homesteaders". Both forms of development have left us with disasters and a nasty Future. Ref: Fellmeth, POLITICS OF LAND.
Under the 1938 Small Tract Act, the BLM transferred thousands of small-acre parcels into private ownership. I have seen the results in San Bernardino and Imperial Counties. The desert is potted with piles of refuse, much of which is toxic (tires, motor oil), surrounding abandoned shacks.
The Classification and Multiple Use Act of 1964 classified vast areas for "recreation". This is a concept which means very different things to different people, from "hunters" (a literally extinct species superceded by Gunners) to get-rich-quick schemers, indulging perhaps the most popular form of "recreation". Over 1/7 of California has been "managed" by BLM as Multiple-Use land, often leased or sold to private parties.
We continue to face the dilemmas of How to appropriately exploit, or preserve, the Resources under our feet. The use of the powers of the government to evict or restrict owners -- the use of "blight" designations, Zoning regulations and Eminent Domain -- now driven by the hard realities of severe tax shortfalls for local governments after Proposition 13 -- has given us more layers of corruption. Ref: Greenhut, ABUSE OF POWER.
This week, as if we have no history or future, the contentious ED battle over the 17,300-acre Conaway Ranch in Yolo County, ended. The investor-developers of the pastoral island in the water delta of one of California's fastest regions are now free to build houses and sell off water rights -- although they promise not to "squander" the water supply. (!)
The Yolo County officials -- we should be thankful -- recognized that the government could not afford to "win" the Eminent Domain seizure; the FMV of the land would have been $100 million or more. We have no idea what land is WORTH. How can a government compensate an owner for its seizure?
So, what do we lack? Are we doomed to head straight to ugly in a basket of complexities which no vision of righteousness can correct?