Restoring Private Property Rights Since 2003

Policy 8


Educate and inform the general public on the true cost of regulations and on property rights issues.

In the familiar quote, "Widespread defiance of a bad law leads to disrespect for law in general," we are re-minded that a democracy must guard against the misuse of law. This concept has been recognized for centuries, and the basic truth of the statement resonates as we explore all of the costs of our current system.


  • What is the moral cost when our children see our institutions adopt unethical and manipulative behavior?
  • What is the moral cost when citizens see hugely inequitable regulations transferring wealth from the poor to the politically powerful and wealthy?
  • What is the social cost when an honest citizen cannot live a single full day without violating a bureaucratic code or rule?
  • Today, in King County we live in an "Alice in Wonderland" world. The Department of Development and Envi-ronmental Services (DDES) demands fees and buffers for wetlands with no water. Returning salmon are clubbed to death before they can spawn. Genetically identical hatchery salmon are not counted in total salmon returns. Helicopters are used to place logs that a dozen Cub Scouts could roll into place in a few minutes. Unelected bureaucrats have more power than elected officials do. Tens of millions of dollars disappear down bureaucratic rabbit holes. This might be amusing if we did not bear such terrible opportunity costs.

    Think about the full cost that we bear when a farm family is stopped from building a modern home because of one of these fictitious wetlands or bureaucratic greed that jacks the price of permission to $25,000 or more. The bureaucrat, lacking the wisdom and intelligence to fully comprehend his/her actions, is delighted that he has “protected" approximately 1 or 2 percent of the farmer’s property from conversion to a modern house for the farm family. The farmer is humiliated with manipulative DDES behavior, demands and fees but remembers the lesson. The following year the farmer sells to a developer.

    DDES has created such an environment of mistrust over the years that when King County established the very positive "Agricultural Lands Preservation Program" for the Kent Valley, many farm families refused to have any contact with King County. An alternative "Critical Areas Ordinance" could be based on the several well-respected preservation models, which use fair market purchases (The Nature Conservancy, etc.) that have preserved millions of acres of environmentally sensitive land worldwide.

    The average price of a single-family home in King County in 2000 was $289,000. In 2001 the price rose to $294,000. In 2002 the price went all the way up to $338,000. Most urban homeowners are overjoyed at that increase without considering the downside. The US Census Bureau data indicates that for every $1000 price increase, approximately 2000 families at the low end of the economic scale are priced out of the market. It may well be the children and grandchildren of those very same homeowner's that are doomed to pay rent to live in the tenements. Professors Edward L. Glaeser of Harvard University and Joseph Gyourko of University of Pennsylvania recently pub-lished a study titled "The Impact of Zoning on Housing Affordability" in which they outlined multiple methods for determining the portion of house costs attributable to regulation. The Seattle area's number is near $200,000 while sixty-three percent of the nation has no "zoning cost" at all. Are we really getting $200,000 worth of good from that money?

    Taken in its entirety we pay an incredibly high cost for an inequitable and adversarial system that only truly benefits bloated bureaucracies and urban developers.

    Supreme Court rule for Florida property owner in land use case

    (Reuters) - In a victory for advocates of private property rights, the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday said a Florida property owner may be owed compensation from a government agency that declined to aw

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    The Fiscal Cliff and the Showdown Between Redistribution and Property Rights

    The original article at this page is good but the discussion in the comments at the bottom of the page is outstanding.

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    ‘Tulip Mania’: Agenda 21′s Carbon Nuts Getting Money For Nothing

    How about a carbon dioxide cap-and-trade program? The problem was that CO2 is not a pollutant, and therefore the EPA had no authority to cap its emission. Al Gore took office in 1993 and almost immedi

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    REED: Wayne Hage and the rout of property rights: An American tragedy

    It didn’t make headlines, but it should have. A July 26 ruling released to little fanfare by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., was a landmark blow to proper

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    America can't trust the public trust

    In March 1972, in the case of Lynch v. Household Finance Corp., the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that "A fundamental interdependence exists between the personal right to liberty and the personal right in

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    The Last Line of Defense: Property

    "Property is theft." Proudhons classic anarchist paradox is more than a catchy slogan for international leftism. It encapsulates a complete and comprehensively absurd view of humanity -- one which f

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    Sustainable Communities’ Impact on Property Rights

    “Sustainable communities” are the blueprint for future property development in the Bay Area of California. You will be told where to live and how to commute. You will be “encouraged” to use public tr

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    Bonner County moves for caribou coordination

    SANDPOINT — Bonner County is pressing ahead with efforts to challenge the designation of habitat for endangered woodland caribou.

    The board adopted a resolution Tuesday insisting that the U.S. Fish

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    Earmark investigation: Rep. Norm Dicks and Puget Sound

    Olympia, Wash. — In January 2007, Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) became chairman of a congressional subcommittee that gave him the power to secure millions in federal funds to environmental projects in his

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    Woman faces jail time for planting vegetable garden in front yard

    When Julie Bass planted a vegetable garden in her front yard, the last thing she expected was facing jail time for refusing to remove the plants.

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    Economists in the Wild

    Far from damaging brains and killing seals, applying basic economics to the environment preserves it.

    The industrial revolution that began about 200 years ago has changed humanity’s relation to, an

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    Tea Party network emerges as counterbalance to state-level green pressure groups

    Across the country, private citizens and business owners are joining forces with Tea Party activists to push back against well-funded green pressure groups that work with government officials. Over th

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    Texas House passes property rights bill

    AUSTIN — The Texas House tentatively approved a bill on Wednesday that clamps down on governments' ability to seize property using eminent domain, an issue Gov. Rick Perry declared an emergency at the

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    One Man's Trash Is Another's Treasures

    ELBERT COUNTY, Colo. -- The country is colliding with suburbia southeast of Denver, where Elbert County commissioners Wednesday unanimously passed a proposed law on rubbish.

    Ordinance 11-01 passed

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    The Floating Dollar as a Threat to Property Rights

    TO BEGIN, consider one of the most important measures of property, the kilogram. It’s a measure of mass or, for non-scientific purposes, weight. According to the papers last week, a global scramble is

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    Residents win $2.5M settlement after blaming Seattle for floods

    Twelve Madison Valley residents, tired of being flooded out of their homes, have won a nearly $2.5 million settlement with the city of Seattle.

    They claimed the city chose to let their homes flood

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    THE HORRORS OF AGENDA 21 AND ICLEI IN FLORIDA

    This horrendous threat to our lifestyle and the Constitution is making rapid progress, infiltrating every aspect of our lives from the air we breathe to the food we eat. It has to be stopped and only

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    BIG NEWS: Federal Court Halts Shocking Property Rights Abuse

    When my son came back from Kuwait he couldn’t believe it. He said, “Mom, what’s going on?” And I said, well they want to get rid of us and they’re finally doing it. He was upset. He said, “I’m

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    San Diego County Supervisors Disagree About Private Property Rights

    San Diego County Supervisors disagree over the effects of their new general plan for future growth in the unincorporated areas. The board is grappling with requests from more than 200 property owners

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    Property rights upheld Monday

    Homer property owners shouldn’t have it spelled out for them how many crab nets or recreational vehicles or cars can be stored on their property.

    That was the consistent message to the Homer City Cou

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    City’s Beef With A Poultry Processor

    Katy Grimes: The city of Sacramento is quickly on its way to infringing on the life, liberty and property rights of yet another business and land owner.

    New American Poultry, a family owned Sacrame

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    City officials rally for redevelopment; Brown wants to divert money to other uses

    Local officials are taking part in a six-figure League of California Cities media campaign to whip up public support for redevelopment.

    The campaign centers on a petition warning legislators agains

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    Don't take away private property rights with buffers

    Regarding the article “Bill would undo trout protection,” (AC-T, March 5), I have studied the rules of the N.C. Department of Natural Resources. The area of private property affected is much more than

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    City council shouldn’t be messing around with property rights

    I am very concerned, as we all should be, regarding what Delta City Council is trying to pull with Joyce and Rudy Rodriguez’s property rights! The “grandfather clause” was devised specifically to prot

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    Populist before it was capitalist

    The United States is often held out as the world's principal beacon of free-market principles. To the extent that it backslides, there is thought to be little hope for such principles in other countri

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    Thomas Sowell on Property Rights

    “Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: first, a right to life; secondly, to liberty; thirdly to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they

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    The Retributive Theory of Property

    Property rights are collections of rights. In the first place: for something to be your property you must have the right to use or enjoy that thing. In the second place, you must have rights of contro

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    Neal Boortz: Take note of Marx’s mark in classroom

    The beginning of another government school year is right around the corner, and with that comes your child’s first experience with the government’s attack on private property rights.

    Now I know th

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    Independence and the Right to Private Property

    It is truly a tragic sign of the times, that to be in favor of private property is increasingly viewed as being extreme. Witness the manner in which the New Left demonizes the political right, sneerin

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    Dorothy English is not the end of the story on land-use planning abuse

    Advocates of land-use planning laws should celebrate rather than mourn the victory that the Oregon Supreme Court has granted to the estate of Dorothy English. If they are wise enough to respect this a

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    Americans relate to Founders, not Progressives

    Democrats are reportedly planning to raise $125 million for a campaign to sell Obamacare to the voting public. Apparently the idea is that what 50-plus presidential speeches and statements and months

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    The battle to preserve property rights is in danger of being lost

    It would be nice to find effective means of alerting the public as to what’s happening to our property rights without necessarily shouting at the top of one’s lungs.

    A more graceful way of comment

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    Ugly debate embroils beautiful Salt Lake City neighborhood

    Walking the dog by her 1922 Tudor, a woman winces at two behemoth homes that eclipse hers from a block away. On Yale Avenue, another lives in the shadow of an ambitious builder's latest redesign and f

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    The Horcrux Theory of Property

    Among the several thousand articles I'm allegedly writing is one tentatively entitled The Horcrux Theory of Property. A confluence of events and ideas this week has prompted me to write about it here

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    Hotel Conference Center May Trump Private Property in Eminent Domain Case

    In Auburn, New York, the city is threatening to invoke eminent domain to seize private property for a private hotel conference center, saying the public good outweighs the private property rights of s

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    Historic Preservation vs. Private-Property Rights

    The recent battle between a property owner and the Morrison Historic Preservation Commission in Illinois has again reinforced the importance of private-property rights.

    The battle centers around a

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    Man urges repeal of growth plan

    Educate yourselves in Montana law, Dan Cox told more than 80 people at a Tuesday night meeting supporting repeal of Flathead County’s growth policy.

    Only then, according to Cox, will private landow

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    Ancient Indian Village in Rhode Island Pits Preservation Against Property Rights

    NARRAGANSETT, R.I. — Long before this town existed, there were Indians of that name who lived, camped, hunted, fished and grew maize in the woods and fields along the shoreline.

    Now, archaeologica

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    S.F.’s housing mob and the death of property rights

    By Michelle Malkin • April 5, 2010 10:13 AM

    I’ve reported many times about the housing entitlement mob over the past several years. Boston has self-proclaimed bank terrorist and housing entitlement

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    Banks, Basketball, and Property Rights

    On March 11, Barclays Capital took out a full-page ad in the front section of the Wall Street Journal to declare that it is “proud” to celebrate the groundbreaking for the new Barclays Center in the P

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    Setting Boundaries for Property Rights

    The U.S. Supreme Court surprised many when it decided it would review an unusual Florida property rights dispute this fall. That case, Stop the Beach Renourishment v. Florida, involves some of the mos

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    Avatar’s hidden pro-property message

    Forget its left-wing themes. At its core, the movie is about defending property rights — something conservatives should embrace.

    Conservatives have been very critical of the Golden Globe-winning fi

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    Erosion of ownership rights

    Property rights are under assault on at least six different fronts, from all branches and levels of government. The only encouraging news is that a seventh front - the beachfront property of Supreme C

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    PLF scores win in fight to save Puget Sound homeowner’s property

    The Washington Court of Appeals this week handed a major victory to a Lummi Island homeowner, represented by Pacific Legal Foundation attorneys, who has been blocked by county officials from protectin

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    No economic reality for Redford

    Robert Redford is an example of the human species at its finest — rich and good-looking, I mean — so naturally he would never consent to live in anything so tawdry as a "subdivision." During his vi...more

    Experts: County should focus regulatory energies on upland areas rather than shorelines

    An estimated 300 islanders crowded into Friday Harbor High School's Hall Gym on Tuesday to hear a panel of well-credentialed experts take issue with the state's best available science and pending chan

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    65% Taking Declared Illegal

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    County Sued in Federal Court

    The County of Santa Barbara isn’t in the clear yet when it comes to litigation from Adam Brothers Farming, Inc., which had a lawsuit filed in federal court on its behalf by attorneys from the Pacific

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    Can't Keep Them Down on the Farm

    Rural King County residents are fighting back against environmental restrictions imposed by Seattleites. And they’ve just won a key battle.

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    Limitations put on challenges to growth

    A Supreme Court ruling limits the ability of outside groups to challenge past growth decisions in Thurston County, a decision that has ramifications for property owners, developers and environmentalis

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    Rural property owners win one

    Almost four years ago, urban area members of the King County Council launched an outrageous assault on property owners in the unincorporated areas of rural King County.

    Over opposition from some o

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    Court rules against KC land clearing regs

    In a July 7 decision, a panel of three Court of Appeals’ judges ruled that King County’s land clearing regulations, which are part of the so-called Critical Areas Ordinance that became effective in 20

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    King County's rural-land restrictions go too far, court rules

    In a case that could determine how far local governments can go in limiting forest-clearing across entire watersheds, a state appeals court ruled Monday that a King County law went too far.

    Rural p

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    Landlords may be held accountable for drug houses

    RENTON, Wash. - King County may soon push for landlords to be held accountable in helping to shut down drug houses.

    Councilman Reagan Dunn is pushing for an ordinance that would require landlords

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    Eminent domain measures' battle ends

    A pitched battle between two ballot measures promising eminent domain reform - one of them backed by the California Farm Bureau - came to an end this week, with California voters choosing Proposition

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    Old law lets developers use old rules, thwarting Puget Sound protection, critics charge

    On a forested parcel of land in Burien, above streams, wetlands and steep slopes, a new condo development is being built.

    When it's done, the Westmark Development Company's Emerald Pointe condos, p

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    Paying landowners to protect Puget Sound

    Everybody, it seems, wants to save Andrew Albert's farm.

    The 90 acres of green hay fields and barns near Arlington hug the Stillaguamish River, which, with some restoration, could be home to abunda

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    The Cascade Agenda: a new conversation

    The Cascade Land Conservancy is welcoming 1,800 of its closest friends to breakfast today. The annual awards program — the 13th — combines honors and coveted recognition of community leaders with the

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    ‘Smart growth’ plan met with opposition

    Two dozen ranchers, contractors and real estate agents—most from the North County — asked county supervisors this week to delay or, preferably, kill the county’s long-awaited “smart growth” proposals,

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    Pilot project, or land grab?

    The King County Council's comprehensive plan committee held a meeting last week at Snoqualmie Middle School to take input from the public on several proposals. The change proposed for Snoqualmie Valle

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    Support landowners who keep their property in forestry

    Conversion of forestland is at an all-time high and accelerating.

    The main force behind this is the difference in the value of land for development, versus growing timber.

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    Property rights are lawyer's passion

    Hanging in the Sarasota conference room of law firm Brigham Moore is an earth-tone print of six Plains Indians seated and standing around a table with a parchment copy of the U.S. Bill of Rights in th

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    Forget global warming: Welcome to the new Ice Age

    Snow cover over North America and much of Siberia, Mongolia and China is greater than at any time since 1966.

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    Big land deal, big questions

    When the government sells public land, the law usually requires competitive bids so taxpayers get the best deal.

    But King County is bypassing that rule for one of its largest land sales in recent y

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    Permanent burn ban planned in rural areas

    The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, which is in charge of air-quality laws in the three counties, announced Monday that it is planning to impose a permanent ban on burning related to land clearing and a

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    Let ferry users pay

    I sent the following letter to each member of the King County Council regarding the taxes that will be levied to support the creation of the new ferry district and surprisingly, received only one repl

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    $36.8 million award for undevelopable land

    Half Moon Bay city officials said Thursday they are stunned by a federal judge's order that the city pay a landowner $36.8 million for coastal property the court says the city damaged.

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    Bigger floodplain, bigger worries

    In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is in the middle of a dramatic revision of the country's floodplain maps that could curb development on several billion

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    Proposal jeopardizes future property rights

    What's Measure 49 really about? The future. If Measure 49 passes, that future is bleak.

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    King County raises taxes to rebuild levees

    King County residents will pay an additional $32 million in property taxes next year to rebuild levees that protect low-lying areas from floods.

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    Property rights group forms to fight Upper Sims project in Port Townsend

    PORT TOWNSEND - A property rights group has formed to fight a proposed redesign of Upper Sims Way and creation of a taxing district to finance the project.

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    Property rights battle rages in Bonney Lake

    The rights of private property owners are being debated in Bonney Lake these days.

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    A little "donut hole" creating a big problem for Maple Valley

    MapleValley marks its 10th anniversary this week. The desire for self-determination of how the Maple Valley area would develop, and frustration and disagreement with the vision that King County held f

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    Higher taxes? Court clears way

    Homeowners in some parts of the state could see larger local property-tax increases as the result of a state Supreme Court ruling on Thursday.

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    U.S. Sues Property Rights Ranchers Over Grazing on Federal Lands

    WASHINGTON, DC, August 30, 2007 (ENS) - The U.S. Justice Department Wednesday sued two ranchers and the estate of a third rancher for trespassing on federal lands in Nevada. The ranchers, both living

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    On property rights, no better friend

    John McCain has done a service to the conservative cause by injecting the issue of private property rights into the presidential campaign.

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    Foot ferries nearing a rebirth

    A new-style Mosquito Fleet could ferry passengers across Puget Sound, and maybe even Lake Washington, under a plan approved unanimously Monday by the King County Council.

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    County parks levies get panel's OK

    The Metropolitan King County Council has moved a step closer to asking voters in the August primary to levy $217 million in property taxes to maintain and expand parks.

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    Making a loud noise for fair use of property

    The property-rights movement, said the speaker, "is not going away." He added, "At some level I think they're going to be successful."

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    Mole traps can lead to mountain of trouble

    The surveillance meant hours in an unmarked car, staring down at a Kenmore home, waiting for something to happen. But, in the end, wildlife officer Lance Stevens Jr. got his man.

    David Krick, aka,

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    L'Eggo My Lego

    Some Seattle school children are being told to be skeptical of private property rights. This lesson is being taught by banning Legos.

    A ban was initiated at the Hilltop Children's Center ...more

    CAPR has given birth!

    It's official. CAPR has a brand new San Juan chapter due to the organizing efforts of Frank Penwell. Frank has rounded up some willing helpers and has started our first official chapter. Stayed tuned

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    Regulation chokes housing market

    For many years, people of all income levels were able to buy homes in the Puget Sound region because there were houses available within affordable price ranges. Today, a shocking proportion of the pop

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    "Nothing is ours which another may deprive us of." —Thomas Jefferson

    Copyright 2009 Citizens' Alliance for Property Rights