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Tags: property rights | local government | pennsylvania

The Dangers of 'Tiny Tyrannies'

The Dangers of 'Tiny Tyrannies'
(Andrii Yalanskyi/Dreamstime.com)

Alexandra York By Tuesday, 27 August 2019 04:30 PM Current | Bio | Archive

In my e-book monograph "Lying as a Way of Life: Corruption and Collectivism Come of Age in America," I give this warning: “Remember: state and small town politics are often — if not usually — just as corrupt as the Big Fed, making tiny tyrannies a real threat.”

I now emphasize that if not thoroughly corrupt, small town officials (often consumed with power or serving personal advantages or vendettas) are instituting more and more regulations that infringe on property rights. This should alarm residents everywhere.

Sellersville, Pennsylvania, can serve as an example, selected because two articles in the same August 15th edition of the Bucks County Herald report new ways this town is regulating private property. The borough with a population of only 4,249 residents according to a 2010 census is located in Bucks County, 30 miles north of Philadelphia.

The first article is titled “Sellersville proceeds with rental inspections.” Following are excerpts from the article that describe the new regulations (enumerated under Rental Property Licensing and Inspection, Ordinance No. 728):

“Residential rental properties in Sellersville will be subject to routine inspections by the borough starting in 2020.”

“Significantly, owners will have to obtain rental unit licenses from the borough in order to have occupants.” [A license for each rental unit giving more revenue to town.]

“The licenses will only be issued to those passing the rental inspections.” [Article doesn’t state what “rental inspections” will inspect; neither does Sellersville’s website.]

“Additionally, owners who live farther than 30 miles away must retain a property manager who is within the 30 mile distance.” [Requiring owners to hire a manager if they, themselves, are not local.]

“The ordinance requires owners to ensure only one family resides in each residential unit. A group of six or more persons who are not within the second degree of kinship [someone who shares 25% of a person's genes] shall not be deemed to constitute a family.” [Regulating the number of residents in each unit regardless of unit size.]

“Meanwhile, tenants are prohibited from allowing people other than those identified on the lease from residing in their unit.” [Contradicting the six person requirement if only adult parents sign the lease.]

“Violating the ordinance’s rules can result in fines of up to $1000, plus court costs and attorney fees incurred by Sellersville.” [Any costs incurred by any city are paid for with tax dollars.] Violations can also be punished by up to 90 days in jail. [Jail!]

The second article is titled “Sellersville to form Blighted Property Review Committee” and describes how city council officials are further regulating private property: “Sellersville is taking steps to form a blighted property review committee, which would work in conjunction with a local redevelopment authority to see derelict properties improved by owners or entered into condemnation. If a property meets the statute definition of blighted, the redevelopment authority has the power to instruct the owner to make upgrades that bring the property back into a proper state.” [Proper is not defined.]

“If the owner refuses or fails to act, the Authority can condemn [confiscate] the property through eminent domain. Properties that meet the legal definition of blighted include dilapidated dwellings [not defined], unsanitary, [not defined] unsafe, [not defined] and those lacking in the facilities and equipment required by the housing code of the municipality [facilities and equipment are probably on record, but it is town officials who decide what facilities and equipment are required.] Abandoned, vacant properties can fit the bill, too.” [Nothing specific noted; every vacant property is not necessarily “abandoned.”]

This is only one obscure town and new regulations deal only with rental properties. There are thousands just like them all over the country. What of your own property? Can you add a deck to your home without a building permit from the town (incurring permit costs and likely an increase in property taxes)? Can you renovate your kitchen without a town inspector coming over to see how many and where your electrical outlets are? How much land is your town buying up with your tax dollars in the name of “Preservation”?

The following suggestion (and there are many others worth reading) is straight from my "Lying" monograph. It needs to be repeated and needs to be heeded.

“Investigate your local community’s activities. Regardless of the size of your community, attend Town Hall Meetings and, equally important, regular meetings of local officials who (between themselves) discuss and implement regulations; the latter meetings are not usually attended by residents, but they are open to the public and very instructive to learn where officials are heading. Ask questions, forcing some sort of answers that you can proceed to explore for truth or falsehood [or power plays]. Truth is all that counts, and you’ll often be surprised. If you have facts and truth in your arsenal against corrupt, crony-connected, or blood-related municipal officials, including your local school board and police force, your neighbors [once informed] may well join you with support.”

It is crucial to discover and make public the local regulations and fees that control private property. Letters to the Editor can alert all residents to infringements by “official” folks, who even if elected way overstep boundaries of their positions. Also, check to see if the UN’s Agenda 21 or HUD’s “Fair Housing Act” are being implemented for local land grabs (with your money) or forcible re-arrangement of neighborhood demographics that will devalue your property. Details of both are on the internet and my monograph.

It’s too late to stop corruption and individual rights violations from the top down. The Federal government, most states, and big cities are beyond redemption. Saving property rights and individual liberty in America must now start from the bottom up with residents questioning and fighting against local officials’ edicts. If medium-city and small-town residents do not become active in their own communities, as someone once said, “You get the government you deserve.”

Alexandra York is an author and founding president of the American Renaissance for the Twenty-first Century (ART) a New-York-City-based nonprofit educational arts and culture foundation (www.art-21.org). She has written for many publications, including "Reader’s Digest" and The New York Times. Her latest book is "Adamas." For more on Alexandra York, Go Here Now.

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In my e-book monograph "Lying as a Way of Life: Corruption and Collectivism Come of Age in America," I give this warning: “Remember: state and small town politics are often — if not usually — just as corrupt as the Big Fed, making tiny tyrannies a real threat.”
property rights, local government, pennsylvania
Tuesday, 27 August 2019 04:30 PM
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