Rod M's blog

Taking, Nuisance, or Theft?

I originally wrote this during the heat of debate over the King County CAO amendments. It is still applicable as the rest of the state bears the brunt of their own CAOs and Shoreline Master Plans. There are two broad principals of law in the United States under which government may take or restrict the use of private property. Government may take private property for public benefit but must, in turn, compensate the owner of the property for its value. Government may also take or restrict the use of property via its police powers to regulate nuisances. Just as a property owner possesses rights to use his property, he also holds rights to prevent others from using their land in a manner that harms him or his property.

What the Heck is a Distractor?

Anyone who has ever taken a multiple-choice exam has experience with distractors. Every question has one or more answers that look good, appear to be logical and just feel right. But they are wrong. Students that don’t really understand the question will choose them every time. Only those with in-depth knowledge of the subject can resist them and choose the correct answer. The teacher is thus able to minimize the chance that students will guess the correct answer. Politicians have traditionally been the grand masters of using distractors. They say one thing but do another while we are distracted by their rhetoric. Many people erroneously attribute the Law of Unintended Consequences to laws that really work just as intended but were promoted using good distractors thus leading people to think the distractor was actually signed into law.


King County’s Department of Development and Environmental Services (DDES) has had a long-standing marketing program known unofficially as “1-800 Turn in Your Neighbor.” It has been a very effective way to bring in the funds necessary to make payroll each month, since DDES must finance its operations through fees and fines rather than tax dollars. They also periodically run a marketing program designed to get folks to turn in themselves. It is called “Amnesty.” A quick look at the dictionary shows the following definition:

March 28, 2010

Individual Control or Collectivist Control?

Many land use issues boil down to the question of who should make the decision as to the most appropriate use for any given property. Private property rights advocates will usually choose the owner of the property. They believe that the person who owns the property will recognize that their best interest lies in the wise use and conservation of the resources of the property. Property rights advocates recognize that there is a small fraction of property owners who will take a shortsighted approach, pillage the resources and then move on. Humans tend to project their actions onto others. They assume that others will see things similarly to themselves and consequently behave much as they themselves would. Because most property rights advocates manage their properties well, they assume that most other folks will also manage their property wisely.

Hi! I’m with King County and I’m here to save your lifestyle!

Run! I did and if you want any semblance of a “rural” lifestyle, you will too. The King County vision of a “rural economy” can be summed up in two words: forestry and agriculture. Their vision for the “Rural Area” is McMansions. According to the 2002 US agricultural census there were 450 farms in King County that made a profit that averaged $99,949. There were 176 farms that grossed $50,000 or more. There were 1,098 farms that operated at an average net loss of $14,305. At the very most, there might be 100 farmers making a living in King County. Forestry statistics are harder to find. In talking with people involved in that industry for many years it would seem that the only ones making any money in forestry are Weyerhauser and its peers. For the sake of analysis let’s pretend that there are 50 people making a living growing forest trees.


Subscribe to RSS - Rod M's blog