Senator George Allen Pushing Anti-Property Rights Initiative

August 21, 2006

Action Alert! Action Alert!

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Urgent! Urgent! Urgent! Urgent! Urgent!

Please read the following release from Peyton Knight of the National Center for Public Policy Research and then take the urgent action I’ve outlined at the end of the article. (Peyton Knight is the nation’s foremost expert on National Heritage Areas.) Tom DeWeese

For more information contact: Peyton Knight
(202) 543-4110 or [email protected]

Washington, D.C. – Nearly one year after the U.S. Supreme Court’s shocking Kelo v. New London decision touched off a firestorm of bipartisan support for stronger property rights protections, some anti-property rights groups are receiving support from a surprising source: Senator George Allen (R-VA).

Senator Allen is the chief sponsor of legislation that would create a massive federal “National Heritage Area” that would stretch from Charlottesville, VA, through Frederick County, MD, and end in Gettysburg, PA. Such areas are best described as heavily regulated corridors where property rights may be strictly curtailed.

Allen’s bill would deputize special interest groups — many with clear anti-property rights agendas — and federal employees to oversee land use policy in the corridor.

“Senator Allen often describes himself as a ‘Jeffersonian’ conservative, which he defines as someone who doesn’t like ‘nanny, meddling, restrictive, burdensome government,'” said Peyton Knight, director of environmental and regulatory affairs at the National Center. “However, if you fail to support your rhetoric with substance, you’re all hat and no cattle.”

Sen. Allen’s initiative in some ways resembles a pork-barrel earmark, as it disburses funds to pre-selected preservationist interest groups. Unfortunately, it is even worse than an earmark, as it would threaten property rights by:

1) Creating a “management entity” to oversee land use policy in the area composed of groups that have a record of being hostile to property rights.

2) Directing this management entity to create an inventory of all property it wants “preserved,” “managed” or “acquired.”

3) Giving the management entity the authority to disburse federal funds for the purpose of land acquisition and restricting land use – an enticement for such activities.

“This is a transparent effort by ‘not in my back yard’ elitists to milk millions of dollars from the nation’s taxpayers to mandate gentrification of their rural landscape. These bluebloods want their pretty views and bucolic fields preserved in perpetuity at the expense of property rights, small landowners and farmers, and taxpayers,” said Robert J. Smith, a senior fellow at the National Center.

“It is remarkably similar to the exclusionary zoning for ‘green space’ and ‘open space’ that roiled New Jersey politics and communities for a quarter century,” Smith adds. “Such policies were ruled unconstitutional by the New Jersey Supreme Court in the Mount Laurel decisions for being economically and racially discriminatory, and as an effort to lock out low and moderate income families and especially people of color, blacks and Hispanics.”

Mychal Massie, national chairman of the African-American leadership network Project 21, which is affiliated with the National Center, notes the impact of Allen’s bill will be felt disproportionately.

“Senator Allen’s Heritage Area scheme is further evidence of the chasm that develops between working families and elected representatives once they are in office,” said Massie. “Allen’s measure would restrict and limit land use to all but the very wealthiest, and would severely and unjustly handicap families and individuals of moderate means.”

Dr. Roger Pilon, director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies, notes the irony that overzealous preservationists at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello are corrupting Jefferson’s legacy, ostensibly in an effort to protect it: “They want to traduce Jefferson’s views in order to save his views.”

Citizens of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania might look to property owners caught within the boundaries of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area in Arizona to catch a glimpse of their possible future.

The Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Resources has filed a report explaining the situation in Yuma. The report, which accompanies legislation designed to amend the Yuma Heritage Area in order to protect property owners, states:

“When the Yuma Crossing Heritage Area was authorized in 2000, the public in Yuma County did not understand the scope of the project and was surprised by the size of the designation… Concerns were raised by citizens about the size of the designation and the potential for additional Federal oversight. The fear of adverse impacts on private property rights were realized when local government agencies began to use the immense heritage area boundary to determine zoning restrictions.”

Thomas Jefferson was quite clear in his views regarding property rights when he wrote: “The true foundation of republican government is the equal right of every citizen in his person and property and in their management.”

Robert J. Smith adds: “No one supporting such plans and legislation attacking the underlying principles of a free society can conceivably then have the hubris to attempt to wrap themselves in the mantle of Mr. Jefferson’s belief in individual liberty, or in Ronald Reagan’s inclusive conservative Republicanism.”

“It dishonors 250 years of American history and freedom-from Abraham Lincoln’s genuine Hallowed Grounds in Gettysburg to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello mountaintop,” he said.

For more information on this issue, see “The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area: An Example of How Pork-Barrel Politics Can Threaten Local Rule and Property Rights,” by Peyton Knight, available online at http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA540HallowedGround.html, or “Assertions vs. Reality: The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area Act of 2006,” by Peyton Knight, available online at http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA548.html.

Action to Take:

1. It’s urgent that you contact Senator Allen’s office to protest his sponsorship of the “Journey Through Hallowed Ground Heritage Area” (Bill number S.2645). Tell him you oppose this massive land grab. Senator Allen is in a massive fight for reelection, so your calls and letters will have a powerful impact on him.

We can stop this legislation in its tracks – but only if we act now!

Call or write his Washington Office at:

Washington D.C. Office:
204 Russell Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510
Main: (202) 224-4024
Fax: (202) 224-5432

You will also make a powerful impact on Senator Allen if you call or write any or all of his District Offices located throughout Virginia:

Central Virginia Office:
507 East Franklin Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Main: (804) 771-2221
Fax: (804) 771-8313

Hampton Roads Office:
222 Central Park Avenue
Suite 120
Virginia Beach, VA 23462
Main: (757) 518-1674
Fax: (757) 518-1679

Northern Virginia Office:
2214 Rock Hill Road
Suite 100
Herndon, VA 20170
Main: (703) 435-0039
Fax: (703) 435-3446

Central Virginia Office:
507 East Franklin Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Main: (804) 771-2221
Fax: (804) 771-8313

Western & Valley Office:
3140 Chaparral Drive
Bldg. C, Suite 101
Roanoke, VA 24018
Main: (540) 772-4236
Fax: (540) 772-6870

Southwest Virginia Office:
332 Cummings Street
Suite C
Abingdon, VA 24210
Main: (276) 676-2646
Fax: (276) 676-2588

Western & Valley Office:
3140 Chaparral Drive
Bldg. C, Suite 101
Roanoke, VA 24018
Main: (540) 772-4236
Fax: (540) 772-6870

2. There is one hero in this fight to stop the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Heritage Area. Maryland Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) has refused to sign on to the House version of the bill (HR 5195). The Heritage Area will go right through his District. So he is under tremendous pressure to give in and support it. He needs to hear from you.

Call or write Rep. Bartlett and thank him for standing strong for property rights and against the Heritage Area. Tell him he has your support and urge him to continue to stand strong.

Washington D.C. office:

2412 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-2006
Phone: (202) 225-2721
Fax: (202) 225-2193
Internet: http://www.house.gove/bartlett/

District Offices:

Cumberland Office
1 Frederick Street, Suite 2
Cumberland, MD 21502
Phone: (301) 724-3105
Fax: (301) 724 –3538

Frederick Office
7360 Guilford Drive, Suite 101
Frederick, Maryland 21704
Phone: (301)694-3030
Fax: (301) 694-6674

Hagerstown Office
11377 Robinwood Drive
Hagerstown, MD 21742
Phone: (301) 797-6043
Fax: (301) 797-2385

3. Be sure to call or write your own member of Congress and your States two United States Senators.

Tell them you are opposed to the Journey Through Hallowed Ground heritage Area. House Bill number HR 5195. Senate Bill number S.2645.

House Switchboard:
(202) 225-3121 (ask for your Representative by name)

Address:
Congressman
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Senate Switchboard:
(202) 224-3121 (ask for your two Senators by name)

Address:
Senator
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

We can stop this massive land grab, but only if we act now with force. We must show these members of congress that there is strong opposition. The proponents are rich, powerful and are putting massive pressure on Congress to pass the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Heritage Area.

Please call today and pass this alert on to at least 10 more people. Urgent!

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APC is now offering you a quick and easy way to multiply your efforts and help win more battles! Simply click Send this page to a friend! (click here) to send this APC Action Alert to up to TEN of your friends. It’s fast, it’s easy, and most of all, it’s extremely effective in KILLING OPPRESSIVE POLICIES!

Tom DeWeese
[email protected]

Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence.