I plan to devote a lot of pixels to the so-called “property-rights” debate, and the inevitable, BIAW-backed takings initiative. So I was interested to see Knute Berger’s latest Mossback column include the following comments on the issue from Robert Kennedy Jr.:
During our interview, I asked him mostly about the property-rights movement. It is making new headway in Oregon and resurging here in Washington as Tim Eyman and the development lobby consider a new ballot initiative, similar to Oregon’s recently passed Measure 37, which would compensate property owners if the value of their land goes down as the result of zoning and land-use laws.
“It’s a propaganda campaign to deceive the public,” says Bobby Jr. flatly. “There has never been a right to use your property in a way that injures your neighbor’s property.” The property-rights movement, he says, wants to exploit public assets for private gain. “The property-rights advocates have turned property rights on its head. . . . If government had to pay you not to put toxics in the air, not to dump sewage in water, the government couldn’t print enough money to do that. They’re about destroying the whole notion of community.” They are asserting a constitutional right to pollute, he says. “Look around at the communities that are the wealthiest, and they have the most controls. . . . If we all agree as a community to obey these laws and guidelines, we’ll all get richer.”
Some politicians have a gift for distilling an issue into a powerful, simple, and easy-to-digest message… and RFK Jr. is clearly one of them.
Others have a gift for sarcasm, so while we’re on the subject I thought I’d point you to Carl Ballard’s amusing “Dear Citizens’ Alliance for Property Rights“.