Wednesday, April 25, 2007

THIMK -- Before you mess up

The Tucson City Council is starting to show signs of life again after a long-term, self-induced coma from noxious liberal gas poisoning.

Granted, the life signs are small, simply an eye open with pupils responding to the light of liberty.

The Council has been treated since last November in an oxygen tent filled with pure Prop. 207 and thank the Good Lord, the patient is responding!

Just last evening, the Council delayed action on a proposal that would crush individual property rights by way of a so-called "neighborhood-preservation overlay." But, since Arizona voters enacted Prop. 207, these property owners are protected from such regulatory schemes that would diminish their property values.

Here is clip from the Arizona Star: (4-25-07)

On the neighborhood-preservation overlay, the council unanimously voted the delay action because [Tuscon City Councilwoman] Trasoff said "we want to do it right."
A group of property owners contends the zone would restrict uses of their land, which flies in the face of Proposition 207, a ballot initiative passed last year requiring governments to compensate landowners if the governments impose land-use rules that reduce property values.
"We don't want this to come back on us," Trasoff said.
Good Thimking ... Thimk, before you mess up!
Big Rattler

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Dorm you Tucson -- Mini-Dorm you

Excerpts from:

The Arizona Daily Star

Published: 04.24.2007

By Rob O'Dell
Midtown residents looking for relief from "minidorms" sprouting up around the UA could see a big move by the city toward giving them the protection they seek today. 
After a public hearing, the Tucson City Council is poised to create a test "neighborhood preservation" zoning ring around the University of Arizona — an overlay zone that could impose restrictions on such things as building heights, setbacks or lot sizes that are more stringent than would normally be allowed. [...]
Prop. 207 could come into play
Several property-rights advocates warned that the proposed city ordinance could trigger the first Proposition 207 lawsuit.
Both sides will voice their concerns during a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. today in the Mayor and Council Chambers at City Hall, 255 W. Alameda St. [...]
"It's essentially a perimeter around the university," Councilwoman Karin Uhlich said of the proposed pilot program. She said she hopes to have the specific restrictions and how broad an area would be covered ready for final council action in two to three months.
Property owner objects
Richard Studwell, a property owner in the Jefferson Park Neighborhood, said creating a pilot program around the entire university without even waiting for petitions from neighborhood residents would make the ordinance worse, not better.
"They are looking to do this no matter what — that's the problem," Studwell said.
He said he "absolutely" thinks the ordinance will become a test case for Proposition 207, because it would limit the size and number of houses on his properties, thereby decreasing the potential value of his land.
Contact reporter Rob O'Dell at 573-4240 or

End Note:  I should add to Mr. Studwell's remarks above because the reporter left this most important fact out of the story.  Studwell said, " would limit the size and number of houses on his properties ... "  The factual addition is -- that is allowed by current zoning law.
Apparently, these mini-dorms make economic sense since they are located near the university and property owners are wanting to build more as allowed by current law.  As the population of the university increases, likely the demand for mini-dorms rises, too.
The typical government solution to housing issues ... crush the private sector and create subsidized government housing, then raise taxes on diminished property values to help cover the increased costs of government services such as fire, police, etc., due to the increase in population.  Just another statist solution.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Prop 207 -- Won't stop global warming

This backhanded attack on private property rights, using Prop. 207 as it's straw man, reveals the true agenda of the far-left radical environmentalists: LAND CONTROL!
Remember, opponents of Prop. 207 and other private property rights measures were backed by some of the most land-grabbing groups financed by billionaires such as George Soros and Ted Turner.
A story in the Arizona Republic (4-23-07) reports that the failure of Bush (right on cue for the liberal media, i.e., Blame Bush) to support the Kyoto Protocols has led to many U.S. cities to start the process of adopting local measure that will kill jobs and drop the standard-of-living. (My words)
Phoenix has contacted ICLEI, a national organization that helps cities set up climate-change programs, to find out how to address greenhouse-gas emissions.

Cost is also a factor.

A greenhouse-gas inventory could run $75,000 to $100,000, according to Phoenix estimates. Staff are seeking City Council approval to do an inventory.

Other mayors said local politics would not favor the agreement. Gilbert Mayor Steve Berman said he could not agree to reduce sprawl because it would conflict with the property rights protections of recently passed Proposition 207, which limits government's ability to change land-use laws.

"I'm not going to pledge to do something that I know going in I can't do," he said.

Indeed, some signatories have said they will not meet the emission-reduction goals by 2012.

There are no penalties for not meeting the goals. No one tracks emission reductions achieved as a result of the pledge.

Groups such as the Sierra Club and Republicans for Environmental Protection are lobbying mayors to sign. The latter is trying to sell cities on the cost savings of energy efficiency.
Without passage of Prop. 207, the greedy government land grabbers would be sticking it to property owners under the guise of global warming.
History is clear ... the biggest pollution problems and lack of regard for our environment came from those who controlled ALL the land within their borders ... the former Communist Soviet Union.  Government land control is not the solution to a clean environment.
P.S. Please note the "Republicans for Environmental Protection" and their misuse of the GOP to promote energy efficiency.  Does anyone know if their leaders have a vested interest in a particular company that supplies energy efficiencies?
Let me know,
Big Rattler

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Department of Rendundancy Department

The City of Peoria, AZ, still in a panty-bunch over citizen's demanding their property rights by overwhelmingly approving Prop. 207 last general election, has passed an ordinance outlining in their opinion, "who can file a claim" and "defines certain terms and prohibits the approval of a project if the applicant fails to sign a Proposition 207 waiver."

What a bunch of arrogant buttercups. The City cannot decide "who can file a claim," the citizens who passed Prop. 207 decided that issue. Moreover, the arrogant buttercups think they can still whip-saw property owners, especially if the property owner refuses to sign a Prop. 207 waiver.

Most of those waivers are likely to be litigated in favor of the property owners for the simple fact that said waivers appear to be an illegal "adverse contract," whereby one party has the upper hand in the negotiations to the point where it is a take-it-or-leave-it negotiation.

While that might be fine for buying milk at the local grocery store, the property owner still has a bundle of rights at his disposal to use against such ham-handed buttercups. Prop. 207 was about property owners not getting pushed around by the local commissars.

Again, we pay their salaries and they should quit trying shove property owners around. They pushed too far and got shoved back with Prop. 207. Don't think the property owners won't shove back again against the arrogant Peoria buttercups come next election.

Here is the news story and link... #

City ordinance clarifies land-use lawsuits

Cecilia Chan
The Arizona Republic
Apr. 19, 2007 10:30 AM

Peoria on Tuesday became the first city in Arizona to clarify a state land-use act that threatens municipalities with lawsuits.

Voters last year approved Proposition 207, which allows people to sue a governmental entity for compensation if their property value diminishes because of a land regulation, such as zoning.

"The ultimate goal is to provide as much clarity and certainty, as much as we can," City Attorney Steve Kemp said. "We are leading the pack."

The ordinance approved by the City Council makes clear who can file a claim, defines certain terms and prohibits the approval of a project if the applicant fails to sign a Proposition 207 waiver.

For example, the ordinance lists a number of exemptions where the city does not recognize a claim for just compensation, including if a land-use law was enacted before the act's effective date of Dec. 5 or if it does not directly regulate an owner's private real property.

Kemp said staff worked with the development community on the ordinance.

"It is a huge step forward for us to put some backbone, especially for the city of Peoria, behind this proposition," Councilwoman Cathy Carlat said.

Kemp said other cities were looking at enacting similar ordinances.

Since the state law took effect, Peoria has been requiring people requesting a land-use change to sign a waiver.

The other options for the city, which were deemed long shots by legal staff, included securing a three-fourths vote on an amendment from the state Senate and House, pass another initiative to fix the problem or have the courts clarify the rules.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Property Protected by fellow citizens

Idaho and Arizona (and some other states) had on the ballot last election initiatives to protect private property from the nefarious practice of government regulating away a large portion of the value of property via "regulatory takings."
Owners had little to zero recourse from ham-handed regulators and many times, as the story below describes, they were also subject to the whims of the "in crowd" and their cronies.
Arizona passed their initiative which protected private property from regulatory takings -- Prop. 207.
In Idaho, the high-powered Republican political elite joined forces with far-left liberal billionaires George Soros, Ted Turner and other environmental extremists plus the misguided leadership of the Idaho Realtors to defeat the private property protection initiative -- Prop. 2.
Below is a story about how the successful Arizona initiative is working to protect property values from government takings.
Idaho is still legally "naked" against regulatory takings ... directly because of power hungry GOP elected officials.  Seems they will sleep with anyone to get elected and protect their power.
Hooray for Arizona!

Developer takes on city hall and wins, thanks to Prop. 207

By Laurie Roberts -- Republic columnist -- Apr. 14, 2007 12:00 AM

Score one for that most beleaguered of men, the one whose land the city has plans for.

The Phoenix City Council went into full retreat this week, repealing the historic designation it had slapped on a swath of land in central Phoenix. Not only did city leaders back away from their earlier decision to block a guy from doing what he's legally entitled to do with his own land, they declared their fallback an emergency.

"I still think it was the right thing to have a historic overlay on it," a slightly grumpy Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon told me. "But it (the repeal) was on the advice of attorneys. I've got a fiduciary duty to the citizens not to risk $40 million."

Turns out it can be downright pricey to trample people's rights. Has been ever since November when 65 percent of voters ushered in Proposition 207, the Private Property Rights Protection Act.

Not a moment too soon, as it turns out, for Scott Haskins and the other landowners along the north side of McDowell Road, between 11th and 15th avenues.

A year ago, Haskins bought the Palmcroft Apartments, two blocks of ratty apartments. They were built in 1943 as war housing, and I imagine they were decent in their day. You know, along about the time of the Eisenhower administration.

In more recent decades, they have become what that area's police commander tactfully described to me as "the cancer complex of the neighborhood." So along comes Haskins, who buys the place and cleans it out, earning the undying gratitude of many in neighboring Palmcroft.

Haskins, an investor from Santa Barbara, Calif., did his homework before plunking down $5.4 million for the land, making sure the city's rules would allow him to tear down the apartments and put in luxury condos. They did.

What he didn't count on was G.G. George, a self-appointed activist who has the ear of the area's councilman, Doug Lingner. When George speaks, Lingner listens. Which is how Haskins' property came to be declared historic.

Normally, such matters are initiated by the city's Historic Preservation Commission but only after two-thirds of the affected property owners approve. Lingner got his pals on the City Council to bypass such niceties. In November, they declared the area historic over the objections of every landowner affected.

Given the historic status, Haskins was blocked from demolishing the apartments for a year and then would have been forced to jump through an array of city hoops, giving the city control over what he could build and how it could look.

So he filed a $40 million lawsuit, claiming that under Proposition 207, the city was lowering the value of his land. City pols disagreed but hotfooted it on Wednesday to undo their handiwork.

Gordon was almost wistful on Thursday when he talked about the Palmcroft Apartments. He suspects Haskins is out to make a fast buck, not a place of distinction. "Those apartments could have been beautiful restored," Gordon said.

Those apartments weren't beautiful in their best day and to be kind, that day ended before I was born. But if there is a gem there, hidden by generations of grime and neglect, why wait until Haskins comes onto the scene to look for it?

This isn't about a city saving history. It's about a city controlling property. Which wouldn't be so bad, except that it isn't their property. It belongs to Haskins. "They wanted to play Socialist Republic of Phoenix and got their hands slapped, hard," he told me.

His plan shows condos up to four stories, as the zoning allows, condos he promises will be an architectural point of pride. I hope so. He's already made his mark on this place once. He's the guy who took on city hall shenanigans and won.

It almost seems - dare I say it? - historic.

Reach Roberts at or (602) 444-8635.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Dubbed "The Stubborn Nail"

Here is photo of government at work. In this case China. A residence stands alone in the middle of a project. (Thank you Arizona voters for Prop. 207 private property rights protections).

This photo and its location (China) make the full story a bit perplexing especially as it relates to China's "evolving" property rights as if there are any in said country. May some property rights are indeed on the horizon, given this successful defiance, which would be a huge liberty boost within China. The reporter does little to clear the confusion, but the visual is what led me to forward this on to you.

I've included the photo and caption, with excerpts from the story (below) and the link, in case your interest is peaked.

(CAPTION) Chinese workmen demolished a house, seen here March 2007, that attained almost iconic status because of its owners' refusal to move for a huge property project. However, Wu Ping and her husband's three-year battle may have paid off with a court in Chongqing announcing they would be given a new home nearby valued at about three million yuan (390,000 dollars).(AFP/File/Mark Ralston)

News Story Excerpts:

CHONGQING, China (AFP) - Workmen in China demolished a house that attained almost iconic status because of its owners' refusal to move for a huge property project, but their three-year battle may have paid off. [...]

Their plight -- thrown into the spotlight partly thanks to dramatic photos of the house sitting in the middle of a massive pit excavated around it -- became a symbol of the little man's defiance of China's moneyed interests.

However the couple appeared to have been rewarded handsomely for holding out, with a court in Chongqing announcing Tuesday they would be given a new home nearby valued at about three million yuan (390,000 dollars).

In addition, they were awarded 900,000 yuan in damages because the developer had cut off water and electricity, and blocked traffic to their home during the three-year stand-off. [...]

Wu had incessantly accused the local government of collusion with the developer, while refusing to bow to the strong-arm tactics aimed at getting rid of her home.

Earlier this year, she filed a lawsuit maintaining that she could not be forced to give up her home.

The Stubborn Nail's case hit such a nerve in China because similar disputes are plaguing the country.

While Wu was able to stand up to the powerful and wage a high-profile publicity campaign rarely seen in China, people in countless other cases have lost their property without adequate compensation.

According to the latest figures from the Ministry of Public Security, there were 87,000 protests in 2005, many of them to do with land grabs. Such protests are often crushed by security forces. [...]

The national parliament passed a landmark law last month that solidified private property rights, partly to combat such disputes.

While Wu waged her publicity campaign, her husband had staged a vigil in the home over the past week, at times waving a national flag.

During his vigil, Yang Wu also hung a banner out of the house that read: "The legal private property of citizens cannot be violated," echoing wording in the country's new property law.