Posts tagged ‘Property Rights’

Republicans Often Trash Property Rights As Well

It appears that Arizonans are all for property rights until a Goodwill store tries to open in their neighborhood.  And then not so much.  A group led in part by my former Republican Congressman John Shaddegg believes that their "right" to determine how other people's property is used were trampled by allowing a local strip mall to rent a large vacant store space to a legitimate business.

goodwill-protest1

 

Basically, these residents live in a small prosperous neighborhood called Moon Valley surrounded by less prosperous areas.  There are apparently not enough residents in this neighborhood to support the upscale commercial boutiques they would like to see, so their preference is that this poor landlord leave his property vacant rather than rent it to a business that might cause these folks to encounter a poor person on the street.  I am sure these folks would say they have no problems with poor (likely mostly Hispanic) folks per se, but not in their neighborhood!  (By the way, in this town we have the nicest Goodwill stores I have ever seen -- my daughter loves to shop for funky stuff there).

I don't think I am being too hard on them.  Here is one letter to the Mayor's office from a resident:

What does this mean? Quite simply, we now have a mega store/WAREHOUSE in Moon Valley. Goodwill has closed all the surrounding stores to create a "funnel" effect whereby all the surrounding neighborhoods will flock to Moon Valley for a deal. And, they are now free to import as many goods as they like from anywhere they choose to fill up their new mega store and bring loyal Goodwill shoppers to Moon Valley by the droves.

I sat in the parking lot of the Shaw Butte Plaza today and was so saddened. I thought, "We are such a wonderful, unique, special neighborhood, why would you do this to us? Was furthering your political career worth it?" Because, make no mistake, you have sold us out.

I guess all that brown skin walking around is going to destroy her little bit of specialness.  Tough.

We have the same thing going on in our neighborhood.  The country club on whose golf course many of the houses in my area are located was recently revamped.  It was redesigned into a links-style course that is very unusual in the Phoenix market.  I actually thought this was a pretty smart move -- when there are something like 200 golf courses in the area, it makes sense to try to be unique.

Well, most everyone in the neighborhood thinks it is ugly -- I don't live on the course but I actually kind of like it.  But the sort of shaggy, wild look they adopted for it is not at all what Arizonans are used to.  I will confess they did some things that seem crazy to me, like removing all the trees, but my general reaction has been, well, its their land.   My neighbors do not share my insouciance however, and have freaked, writing letters and threatening lawsuits.   Everyone wants property rights for themselves but veto power over what all their neighbors do with their property.

Disclosure:  I grew up in Houston, so zoning is foreign to me.

Asset Forfeiture

One of the worst outcomes of the war on drugs has been civil forfeiture laws, which basically allow police to take your property and keep the proceeds, forcing the burden of proof onto you to prove that the property is not a result of or facilitator to criminal activity.  It is beyond me how such laws continue to be considered Constitutional, but the unfortunately the same justices that tend to protect property rights are the same one that seem to have an even stronger law and order streak.

Anyway, its good to be reminded just how awful these laws are, and Hit and Run has several recent examples here.

Update: Walter Olson has several more.

These Aren't The Low-Income Families We're Looking For

George Lucas is tired of fighting Marin County over developing his land there for business use.  This may be unfair, because I don't really know much about George Lucas's politics, but my bet is that he is a typical wealthy liberal who supported all these sorts of restrictions on everyone else, until they applied to him.  Anyway, he is pushing a new plan, one sure to highlight the absolute hypocrisy of more-liberal-than-thou Marin County residents  (NYT via Reason)

Mr. Lucas said he would sell the land to a developer to bring "low income housing" here.

"It's inciting class warfare," said Carolyn Lenert, head of the North San Rafael Coalition of Residents.

Mr. Lucas said in an e-mail that he only wanted "to do something good for Marin," waving away accusations of ulterior motives.

"I've been surprised to see some people characterize this as vindictive," he said, adding that there was a "real need" for affordable housing here. "I wouldn't waste my time or money just to try and upset the neighbors."

Whatever Mr. Lucas's intentions, his announcement has unsettled a county whose famously liberal politics often sits uncomfortably with the issue of low-cost housing and where battles have been fought over such construction before.

My son had a brush with Lucas-inspired state authority last week: