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Letter by Deb Crisp, Executive Director of Tulelake Growers Association, to the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors addressing the Homeowners and Property Protection Ordinance by the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors.

August 9, 2005

Good morning Madam Chairman and fellow supervisors,


Thank you for the opportunity to speak on a matter of great importance not only for Siskiyou County, but our entire nation.  My name is Deb Crisp and I am here to testify on behalf of the Tulelake Growers Association regarding our support for the passage of the “Home Owners and Property Protection Ordinance”.  I would also state for the record that TGA appreciates and supports the efforts of Assemblyman LaMalfa, Senator Aanestad and Senator Mc Clintock for drafting a bill for consideration by the California Legislature.


I don’t believe anyone can dispute that the power of "eminent domain" is sensible in limited circumstances. The 5th Amendment of the Constitution explicitly provides for it. Until now it has been blatantly evident that the Amendment's "takings clause" also necessitates that eminent domain be invoked only when land is required for genuine "public use" such as highways. It further requires that the government pay owners "just compensation" in such cases. Our founding fathers added this clause to the Fifth Amendment which includes a guarantee to "due process". These great men understood that freedom could have no meaning in a country where the benefits of hard work are subject to arbitrary government seizure.  


Since the Supreme Court decision in Kelo vs. City of New London on June 24th, no private property is safe from condemnation.  The government now has the right to condemn private property and transfer titles to others simply to encourage economic development and a larger tax base.  Unbelievably, the Supreme Court has effectively erased the requirement that eminent domain can only be invoked for "public use” as demonstrated by the following hypothetical situation:


I Own My Property----No You Don't!


A member the Tulelake Growers Association owns and operates a 3rd generation family farm with an older but nicely maintained home.

No, he doesn’t because someone wants to build a 6-bedroom, 8,000 sq-ft Bed & Breakfast on the property with various outdoor activities located on the surrounding land.  This will increase the value of the property and thereby provide higher property taxes.

 This someone is the proud owner of a 6-bedroom 8,000 sq-ft Bed and Breakfast.

No, he isn’t because a wealthy conservation organization wants to relocate their head office near our National Wildlife Refuges.  They will employ more people who will have a need for housing in the area.  This will produce even more tax revenue than a Bed and Breakfast with a few hiking trails and man made fish ponds.

The organization now owns its’ head office surrounded by what they consider a more natural environment.

No it doesn’t, because as the population increases a major motel chain decides to develop an extravagant resort, in the vicinity of the mysterious and intriguing Lava Beds.  This will produce much greater profit, more employees and you guessed it, higher taxes.

In conclusion, the Tulelake Growers Association fully endorses the passage of the “Homeowners and Property Protection Ordinance by the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors. Adoption of this ordinance will maintain and preserve the private property rights of our rural communities.  There will be no misinterpretation of the words “I own my property”.