Property Rights

Property owners have rights. They own it, they pay taxes on it, it’s theirs. These rights are restricted and protected by law. Planning code compliance, Coastal Commission authority in those areas under its jurisdiction and eminent domain policies are examples of property right limitations, enforceable by legal action as determined by rule of law.

Rights of private property owners to develop their land and exploit its resources may be restricted by concerns over common watershed, aquifer, pollution, noise, visual and public safety considerations that extend beyond property boundaries and affect surrounding properties and the community at large.

It is my opinion that in Santa Cruz County property owners are given short shrift in several areas of contention, including logging on private lands. Wood is good, and it’s going to come from somewhere. Responsible logging is proven good forest management practice (see “Logging”).

Free Enterprise is a cornerstone principle of the American experiment. Mistakes are made, but they are made by Government as well, which is why public/private checks and balances are so important. We don’t put all our eggs in one basket.

Recently, the mining of sand in Marina, CA has been called to question because of beach erosion concerns within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. These concerns are very appropriate and may result in ending, or dramatically curtailing, sand mining nearby. Sand is used in fracking operations – a nice lead-in to fracking the Monterey Shale.

The economic potential and political favorability of fracking the Monterey Shale seem to be at loggerheads, if you will, yet the California Department of Conservation has issued interim hydraulic fracking well stimulation regulations, in advance of Senate Bill 4 which becomes effective on January 1, 2014.

Fracking the Monterey Shale can be done stewardly, and it would be, with much oversight. It should be welcomed, with its positive impact on the local economy. We need oil and gas. These needs won’t be going away any time soon. The International Energy Agency estimates America will surpass Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s largest oil producer by 2015, and fracking is a big part of this. Kudos to private investors and American innovation.

If an individual, a family or a private organization is fortunate to own land, they should be provided, within reasonable guidelines, the right to develop their land and responsibly monetize resources as its owners see fit.

View from Santa Cruz Wharf

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Honesty • Integrity • Enthusiasm