Opin­ions & Edi­to­rial Who’s Pro­tect­ing Your Rights ? Don’t Com­plain, Just Com­ply!

Catron Courier - - News - By De­nis In­man by Jay Car­roll

Do you be­lieve that your elected of­fi­cials and gov­ern­ment at all lev­els have your prop­erty rights as their main goal? If you do you are not pay­ing at­ten­tion to what is hap­pen­ing through­out this coun­try. Prop­erty rights are be­ing com­pro­mised ev­ery­where. Cor­po­rate rights trump in­di­vid­ual rights al­most all the time. If you are not en­gaged in mak­ing your views and rights heard by your elected of­fi­cials, you will not be rep­re­sented and your rights could well be lost.

Most of us be­lieve prop­erty rights are sacro­sanct; how­ever this is far from re­al­ity. How of­ten have you heard that the process of em­i­nent do­main has taken some­one’s prop­erty for the so called greater good? Prop­erty rights, wa­ter rights, min­eral rights are not as pro­tected now as they were in the past. Min­eral rights have been seg­re­gated from prop­erty rights a long ago by most of the orig­i­nal landown­ers. Another is­sue is ‘reg­u­la­tory tak­ings.’ Th­ese are re­stric­tions by zon­ing or other im­posed or­di­nances in ur­ban ar­eas.

Water rights are at risk as cor­po­ra­tions see wa­ter as a means to greater wealth for them and their share hold­ers. Some cor­po­ra­tions be­lieve it is their right to con­trol as much wa­ter as they can and many gov­ern­ments world­wide seem to at least agree with them. So what does it mean to you to have your prop­erty rights pro­tected? If your neigh­bor takes all or most of the ground­wa­ter ad­ja­cent to your prop­erty should that be deemed as okay, even thou it ad­versely af­fects your well. What if peo­ple in a com­mu­nity waste wa­ter in a time of drought, should that be tol­er­ated as their right?

Is there a place where a line needs to be drawn so that some­one who is ex­er­cis­ing their per­ceived right is not in­fring­ing upon your rights? If so how do you rec­on­cile this dif­fer­ence of opin­ions? I per­son­ally think an or­di­nance or some sort of statue needs to be in place to en­sure that some sort rem­edy can be ex­er­cised even if it means go­ing to court. It is in­cum­bent upon us to make these changes if we are to pro­tect what few rights we have left. I think an or­di­nance should pro­tect all ex­ist­ing rights cur­rently granted by the State’s per­mit­ting sys­tem. The only thing that would change is that a limit would be placed on the amount of wa­ter some­one or a cor­po­ra­tion could ex­port from Ca­tron County. You might con­sider this an in­fringe­ment on some­one’s right, but it is to pro­tect the ex­ploita­tion of our wa­ter re­sources.

That’s the an­swer I got from the Con­struc­tion In­dus­tries Divi­sion Su­per­in­ten­dent (The Big Boss), and all of his un­der­lings, when I in­quired on be­half of a cus­tomer as to why the elec­tri­cal in­spec­tor de­cided to in­clude their ex­ist­ing struc­ture as part of his in­spec­tion when the in­spec­tion was sched­uled for a to­tally dif­fer­ent pur­pose. Don’t get me wrong, the in­spec­tor was well within the purview of his ‘au­thor­ity’ ac­cord­ing to the ex­ist­ing reg­u­la­tions.

Fear not, Ci­ti­zen. The state of New Mex­ico and all of its 48 state cer­ti­fied con­struc­tion and build­ing in­spec­tors are here to serve you—and to save you from your­self. You may not be aware of this, but the NM Con­struc­tion In­dus­tries Li­cens­ing Act clearly states that: “A state cer­ti­fied in­spec­tor may, dur­ing rea­son­able hours, en­ter any build­ing or go upon any premises in the dis­charge of the in­spec­tor’s of­fi­cial du­ties for the pur­pose of mak­ing an in­spec­tion…” The reg­u­la­tion goes on. For more ed­i­fy­ing, eye open­ing, and in­fu­ri­at­ing read­ing, please ref­er­ence: New Mex­ico CILA 60-13-42 Author­ity of In­spec­tors; Lim­i­ta­tion. (I think you will find the word lim­i­ta­tion to be a bit of an oxy­moron.)

Imag­ine this sce­nario. You are ex­pand­ing, pros­per­ing, and grow­ing, and you want to build a new, legally per­mit­ted build­ing on your prop­erty. On this prop­erty is a build­ing you call home, which you and your fam­ily built some twenty years ago. You de­cide to in­stall ad­di­tional elec­tri­cal power in or­der to ac­com­mo­date your ex­ist­ing needs and those of the pro­posed build­ing. Now, the elec­tri­cal in­spec­tor shows up to in­spect the new power in­stal­la­tion and all looks good un­til he asks, “Who built that”? To which you re­ply, “Me.” “Did you have a per­mit?” the in­spec­tor asks. “No, we just built it and raised our chil­dren here, and now we need a place to store some of our ac­cu­mu­lated be­long­ings.”

Now, in the ‘dis­charge of his of­fi­cial du­ties’, Mr. In­spec­tor may en­ter your home to con­duct a full-blown in­spec­tion of your premises. Some peo­ple would call this in­tru­sive; most of us would call it tres­pass­ing. But re­lax, cit­i­zen…it only gets worse. The elec­tri­cal in­spec­tor can call the plumb­ing in­spec­tor, who can call the gas in­spec­tor, who can call the gen­eral build­ing in­spec­tor. They all get to weigh in on specif­i­cally what it’s go­ing to take to make you safe—and com­pli­ant. Should you refuse to com­ply, or if you can­not af­ford the com­pul­sory up­grades to your home, they can help you make a bet­ter choice. Be­cause, for your own good, cit­i­zen: CILA 60-13-42 B: fur­ther states “The in­spec­tor may dis­con­nect or or­der the dis­con­tin­u­ance of ser­vice to any in­stal­la­tion…”. They can and will do this in the name of pub­lic safety.

Now, don’t you feel safer al­ready? I mean, you might ac­tu­ally be liv­ing in an un­safe build­ing, a build­ing you call home, which may not be per­mit­ted or up to cur­rent build­ing code stan­dards. Maybe you and a friend or an in-law added a bed­room on to your house, or maybe you added a cov­ered deck or in­stalled a cou­ple of ceil­ing fans. If you did any of those things and did not ob­tain a build­ing per­mit from the state of New Mex­ico, you are in vi­o­la­tion, cit­i­zen.

In or­der to demon­strate just how non-com­pli­ant you may be, cit­i­zen, I sub­mit to you: New Mex­ico Ad­min­is­tra­tive Code—NMAC A. Per­mits Re­quired. “… no build­ing or struc­ture shall be erected, con­structed, en­larged, al­tered, re­paired, moved, im­proved, con­verted or de­mol­ished…un­less the ap­pli­ca­ble per­mit has first been ob­tained…” And that should pretty much cover it; now you know what you may not do with out per­mis­sion and ap­proval from the state.

My point in telling you this is that this type of gov­ern­ment over­reach is hap­pen­ing NOW… TO­DAY…right here in our com­mu­nity and around the state of New Mex­ico. As I was told in a let­ter from the su­per­in­ten­dent of the NM Reg­u­la­tion and Li­cens­ing Depart­ment, the in­spec­tor took steps to, “…bring to light un­safe con­di­tions that could threaten the lives and prop­erty of the good cit­i­zens of the State of New Mex­ico…”

Ini­tially, I asked the CID of­fice why ex­ist­ing struc­tures were be­ing in­spected in con­junc­tion with newly per­mit­ted work. The re­sponse I got was, “I would think that ex­ist­ing struc­tures would have been grand­fa­thered in.” Nope, not the case! The fact that your home hasn’t blown down or burned down in the last 40 or 50 years has no bear­ing on the is­sue at hand. And that is­sue is that the state cer­ti­fied in­spec­tor has the au­thor­ity to act, based on the in­spec­tor’s judg­ment. Such au­thor­ity can be wielded in or­der make you and your home com­pli­ant—and for

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