Let­ter to the edi­tor

The Covington News - - OPINION -

I have known Phil John­son and Sam (Martin) Hay III for most of my life, and I to­tally agree with their op­po­si­tion to the county’s “so called” 2050 Plan. I view this plan as a di­rect at­tack on an in­di­vid­ual’s free­dom and lib­erty. I have raised my right hand twice, and each time I took an oath to up­hold and de­fend the Con­sti­tu­tion of the United States. Im­mi­grants started pour­ing into the U.S. (colonies) in the 1600s through to­day mainly for two pur­poses: I. To be free and II. To own property in “fee sim­ple.” In Amer­ica the right to own property in “fee sim­ple” has been in a state of ero­sion for the past 50 years. The 5th and 14th Amend­ments to the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion of­fer property own­ers some pro­tec­tion from a rogue govern­ment’s in­tent in con­trol­ling their property. Gov­ern­ments ex­er­cise this con­trol through zon­ing, taxation, per­mits, use plans, au­thor­i­ties and any other de­vi­ous means they can con­coct. The 5th Amend­ment plainly states that pri­vate property can­not be taken through de­pri­va­tion with­out the due process of law and with­out just com­pen­sa­tion.

A sec­ond pro­tec­tion against a govern­ment’s in­tru­sion on in­di­vid­ual’s property rights is a con­cept known as “In­verse Con­dem­na­tion.” This is where the ac­tions of a govern­ment place a se­vere re­stric­tion on pri­vate property that con­sti­tutes a tak­ing where: (I.) it does not ad­vance a le­git­i­mate govern­ment in­terst, and (II.) it de­nies property own­ers the eco­nom­i­cally vi­able use of their land. This pro­tec­tion orig­i­nated form a 1922 U.S. Supreme Court de­ci­sion: Penn­syl­va­nia Cole Co. V. Ma­hon, 260 U.S. 393 (1922). There have been many court cases and var­i­ous state laws im­ple­mented since this de­ci­sion. It would seem to me if this 2050 Plan passed, then any property owner would have a le­git­i­mate le­gal right to bring suit im­me­di­ately. Hope­fully this could be done through the Federal Courts and by­pass the State Courts. One thing is for sure: they would prob­a­bly have to find an at­tor­ney out­side of New­ton County to rep­re­sent them.

Aside from the con­cept of the 2050 Plan (as put forth by its pro­po­nents) there seems to be a more sin­is­ter agenda be­ing put forth. These pro­po­nents are telling New­ton County cit­i­zens that “big brother” knows what is best for their wel­fare by con­trol­ling their property. The ti­tle “2050 Plan” is no more than “su­gar coat­ing” a cur­rent plan that runs par­al­lel with other move­ments, forms of govern­ment or life­styles that have been tried and failed in the past. Some are Feu­dal­ism, Manorism, Col­lec­tivism, So­cial­ism, Com­mu­nism, Com­munes and now we have Pro­gres­sives.

The pro­po­nents also seem to have de­vised a scheme whereby poverty, crime and squalor are rel­e­gated to one part of the county by the con­cept of ger­ry­man­der­ing. In other words, if you are a cer­tain class of people, you are to stay in “your place.”

Harry L. Long

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