Posts Tagged ‘private property’

Is It Mine?

Friday, July 20th, 2012

capture property rights Property Rights, the Environment and Growth Management are a few of the buzz topics in the current election season and as such, the Bellingham Herald apparently chose that angle when they covered the recent Tea Party Candidate Forum.  In that article they contrasted the current State Reps for the 42nd District, Vince Buys & Jason Overstreet with their challengers for office, Natalie McClendon & Matt Krogh.

People do tend to wrap the environment in with growth management, but both are really property rights issues and on property rights there is a stark contrast between these pairs of candidates.   To understand the contrast you need to understand the property rights issue.

The property rights issue isn’t about anyone wanting to damage, pollute or harm the environment.  The property rights issue is simply about you getting to decide what is the best use of your property, as opposed to others deciding how your property will best serve the community.   That’s the crux of the property rights debate; who is in control of your property, you or the government.

At the forum, when the challengers Natalie McClendon & Matt Krogh, addressed government regulatory control of private land it was pretty evident which side of the property rights issue they land on.

“Land use regulations should be imposed or amended in a way that benefits the community.”

“The goal is the public good,”

“He agreed that private property rights should be respected, but he stressed the importance of  protecting the quality of life in Washington state…

Bellingham Herald

I guess I am in stark contrast to their way of thinking also, because my home is not a charitable contribution for the public good of the community, nor did I work to purchase my home with the intent to protect the quality of life in our state.   We just wanted a place to live.   The problem with intangible ideas like public good and quality of life is that they are often defined by public vote, committee or worse, by a non-elected non-governmental organization.  Then, shortly thereafter those definitions are put into regulation and the government enforces their control over your property use.  It’s usually not even in big ways that really jump out at you, it’s more often in small subtle ways.

Take this recent example happening in the streets of Ferndale.  A year ago land owners along some portions of Main Street could have decided to plant a few of their favorite trees in their front yard near the road and they would have had  every right to do so.  This year however, they have found that the city has seized that portion of their property from them, bulldozed it, widened the road, and then landscaped along their much smaller front yard as the city  saw fit.

Ferndale may need to go to court to assert its authority to move forward with the $4.3 million road project as a public benefit, which trumps the right of property owners to keep their land.

Bellingham Herald

I’ve sat through council meetings and I’m sure the city officials feel that what they are doing along Main Street is in the interest of public good, and that the new landscaping contributes to the quality of life for the people of Ferndale, but how is the quality of life for the homeowners who now have bike lanes and sidewalks running through what used to be their front yard?   Is that vision the homeowners had for their property when they purchased it?  Is it their vision now?   Barring any safety issues, how is it that governments like the City of Ferndale feel they have the power to “trump” your property as a property owner?  It’s the people we elect and send to Olympia to make laws.

Do you want representatives such as Natalie McClendon and Matt Krogh that seem to think along the lines of the City of Ferndale?  Do you want representatives that feel that the government has first right to your property?   I don’t.  I won’t be voting for either of these people and I hope, for the sake of all of our private property, that you don’t either.

Both Vincent Buys and Jason Overstreet have my support because they have already shown a commitment to both protecting our individual right to our own property and to protecting our environment.

Ethics of Trespassing

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Reading the local blogosphere today, after a nice little Oregon vacation sans computer, it appears to me that Whatcom County Council Member Carl Weimer has made a clear lapse in judgment first by trespassing on private property and then a second lapse by publishing his lapse for all of the world to read.  I find it a little unclear as to whether his blog called carl votes, is an official or personal endeavor.  He lists his official CWeimer@co.whatcom.wa.us address for the contact, but delves into matters from a more personal angle, but lists another site as My County Council Website, yet it is actually a www.voteweimer.com address and reads more like an Elect Carl Weimer website.   It’s confusing.

Official or not, on the carl votes site, Councilman Wiemer has recently written two posts outlining some goings on out at the proposed SSA GateWay terminal site on Cherry Point.  The first post  Cherry Point – Full Disclosure describes how he, presumably while innocentlywalking his dogs, ran across what he felt was improper work being done at the SSA site and the second post Cherry Point Clearing Questions Asked describe his subsequent questioning of Sam Ryan, Director of Whatcom County Planning and Development Service regarding what Councilman Weimer felt were code violations.

Here are a few things that Wally wonders:

  1. What is SSA doing on the site and is it legal?
  2. What is Carl Weimer doing on the site and is it legal?
  3. Does anyone besides myself question the ethics of a sitting council member trespassing to obtain information regarding a current issue on the Whatcom County Councils agenda?

First, I think it is a valid question to ask if what SSA is doing on their land is legal and oddly enough the county has a procedure and a form to legally get the process started for anyone with concerns.  Also oddly enough the form bears the name of one Sam Ryan, the same person Carl Weimer addressed his inquiry.   Did Councilman Weimer skip the form?  And was his report processed in the same manner as other reports?

Second, can anyone walk around the SSA site or any other piece of private property snapping pictures, measuring, and documenting without the owners permission or is it just County Councilman Wiemer who feels he is above privacy rules?  And if you read his blog and bought into his story about him just happening upon this while walking his dog on a county road, then you are either blind or gullible.  Really, how many people take measuring tapes along when they walk their dog?  Or believe he didn’t leave county roads even though he is pictured on what is obviously not a county road?

And lastly I think Carl Weimer has unethically  used his position on the council, what I see as blatant trespassing, and his maybe official or maybe not blog to attempt to influence the outcome of an issue that is of concern to everyone in Whatcom County.  Here’s a link to the Whatcom County Ethics Commission.  Tell them Wally sent you.