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Money Makes the World Go ‘round...Bummer.

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
October 15, 1998

 

Recently I have become the favorite whipping boy of the Property Rights jihad. Goddess knows I make a great villain, with my beard and handlebar moustache I could have stepped right out of central casting. You remember the old style Hollywood westerns where Robber Barons would buy the local sheriff, hire an army of thugs, and kill the locals who wouldn't see things their way. Now, of course in the movies a John Wayne type would ride in, off the dudes in the black hats, and save the day. This, ladies and gentlemen, was how the west was won.

Now in reality we know that the bad guys were never vanquished from the American West. Robber barons became land barons who became fine upstanding members of their communities. Land was power, land with water was a goldmine, and goldmines were..well, you know. Using their "god given" rights to extract as much profit as possible from the land was the American way, and the only boundary recognized in the Golden State was the Pacific Ocean.

Jump ahead to the present and you will see that little has changed here in the west. Native Americans are still struggling to survive on their Reservations. Land battles are being fought, and water rights contested. The only difference is that it is now the land barons who are feeling oppressed. Crying to all who will listen about how they are being forced off their lands, they are incensed that their property rights are being infringed upon. Can you imagine people being told what to do with their land. Now that I think of it, isn't this what happened, and is still happening to the American Indians. No, it's different, the Indians didn't have a constitution to protect their claims of ownership....bummer.

As you can tell I am rather amused by the property rights crowd.

Opponents of Prop B what you to think that the Rural Heritage and Watershed Initiative is a threat to the American Way, which is true when you consider the American way has been historically represented by cultural genocide, resource extraction and environmental destruction. Opponents also believe that individual property owners are best suited to protect the environment. To which I say "Precedence has proven otherwise."

The No on B people want you to think that small farmers are being hurt by this, which is also true if you consider that these small farmers just want the right to sell to the highest bidder when they tired of playing small farmer. For some reason Ecke Ranch comes to mind. Developers, such as Fieldstone, are property owners, are they taking care of the Environment? Those responsible for Cabrillo Ranch and La Costa Valley scraped the native flora and fauna away with the topsoil to place as many homes as possible on their land.

Entire ecosystems erased in the name of profit, native species be damned. Next time you see a dead skunk in the road, just remember property rights placed her there.

Recently local papers have been running stories on who is spending the most money on the upcoming election. Would it surprise anyone to know that those espousing property rights have the biggest war chests. Looking at the lists of those supporting the Prop 5 opposition one begins to see that this is not about small farms, this is about housing development. The biggest contributor to the No on 5 camp has been the California Association of Realtors and the San Diego Board of Realtors, who combined, gave $50,000.

Also giving $50,000 is Attorney Byron White who owns hundreds of acres in Jamul. Now, as far as I know Jamul is not farm land. I wonder what Mr. White plans to do with all his property? Not farm it.

The Building Industry Association is also contributing thousands of dollars to the effort. How many people really believe the Builders Association are helping the small farmers out of a sense of altruism? Sorry folks, but that story just doesn't fly now that the numbers are in. Big money is also filling Supervisor Bill Horns campaign coffers. His major support comes from developers, contractors and builders. It is important to note that Mr. Horn is one of the loudest opponents to The Rural Heritage and Watershed

Initiative. Coincidence? I think not.

Now that we have seen where the money is being spent to defeat this visionary initiative, let's look at how much money will be saved annually by it's passage. According to a study by Strong Associates, the Rural Heritage and Watershed Initiative could save San Diego County $25.2 million dollars in road maintenance and other public facilities. That's every year. You do the math.

 
 
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