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California’s Kelo Therapy
by Ray Haynes
[politician] 5/22/06

There is a cancer in the body politic of our country today. Simply stated, it is eminent domain abuse. More broadly, it is the effort of our federal, state and local governments to erode long-standing property rights in real estate. For most of the history of our country, people have believed that their home was their castle; that government could not just come in and take their property to give it to someone else, or devote it to some public use without paying for it. Yet that is what is happening throughout our country today. More recently, the Supreme Court of the United States sanctioned the practice of taking people’s homes, and giving them to a powerful developer, in the case Kelo v. City of New London.

Property rights are the keystone of liberty. To those who don’t believe that, ask this question: when was the last time you heard a developer criticize a city councilmember or county supervisor? It doesn’t happen. Why? Because that developer knows that the local officials can deprive him of the use of his or her land, sending that developer into bankruptcy. So, they sacrifice their freedom of speech to avoid bankruptcy. Some people may be willing to die in the defense of liberty, but very few will be willing to go bankrupt in that defense, because, if they go bankrupt, they still have to explain to their family why there is no food on the table.


Ray Haynes

Mr. Haynes is an Assembly member representing Riverside and Temecula. He serves on the Appropriations and Budget Committees. [go to Assembly Member Haynes website at California Assembly][go to Haynes index]

The reason Kelo is a cancer is that it accelerates the loss of liberty. It lets the politically powerful take the homes and the land of those not so powerful to line the pockets of the powerful, using the power of government to accomplish this nefarious scheme. Like cancer, it needs to be removed by a legal “chemo-therapy,” a “Kelo”-therapy, if you will.

That Kelo-therapy is California’s “Protect Our Homes” Initiative. The initiative submitted over a million signatures this week to the Secretary of State’s office in order to be on the November ballot. It is highly likely it will get there.

What the initiative does is relatively simple. It provides that government cannot use eminent domain to take your land and give it to some private developer, and it may not use the law to diminish the value of your land to accomplish this purpose. The bottom line, it restores property rights to the people of the state of California. It performs Kelo-therapy on the cancer of eminent domain abuse, and the loss of liberty that has come from the loss of property rights in this state.

Defenders of government power, and the politically powerful, are likely to scream bloody murder at the thought of losing this tool which is very effective at lining their pockets. They will make up all sorts of reasons why they should still be able to take your land, take your home, or diminish the value of your real estate using the power of government. They will claim that the environment will be destroyed, women, children and senior citizens will die, and that we will be invaded by the Mongol hordes if “Protect Our Homes” passes. These things will not occur.

What will occur is that Californians will once again enjoy the right to use and enjoy the property they own without fear from some bureaucrat, politician, or influential political donor being able to take their land without their consent. They will once again be able to use land as a retirement nest egg or secure home without being invaded by hordes of bureaucrats. In other words, California will be in America again. Freedom and liberty will once again reign in the Golden State. -CRO-

Mr. Haynes is a California Assemblyman representing Riverside and Temecula and freuent contributor to CaliforniaRepublic.org.


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