Newspaper Archive of
Beverly Hills Weekly
Beverly Hills, California
April 27, 2000     Beverly Hills Weekly
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April 27, 2000

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guestcolurnn Abuse of Power How property owners can protect their rights. By Daphna Edwards Ziman Let's make no mistake about this; the American dream starts with the neighbor- hoods, because the quality of our lives is more important than our standard of liv- ing. If we wish to rebuild our cities we must first rebuild our sense of neighborhood, and that applies here, in our own city of Beverly Hills. Our city cannot be saved if the people living here feel condemned by their own city's governmental body. Our city can- not be saved by those who can hardly wait to move to Brentwood or Pacific Palisades. Those who like living here will be the ones to save our city. You know that you must fight for your fights, but you also know that fighting City Hall is often a losing battle. Who is there to protect your rights as a property owner? Thanks to our President Bill Clinton, the federal government has rec- ognized it's responsibility to the private property owners. Small municipalities such as Beverly Hills have not found it necessary to recognize the rights of such home owners. Private Property Rights Act of 1999 On January 19, 1999 Congress found and stated that the ownership of privam property plays an important role in the economic and social well being of the nation. The protection of private property from abuse by the government without just compensation is an integral protec- tion for private citizens incorporated into the United States Constitution by the Fifth Amendment and made applicable to the States by the Fourth Amendment. Federal agency actions that restrict the use of private property that result in a sig- nificant diminution in value of such prop- necessary to protect one's rights against one's own government'? The dramatic growth in Federal regula- tions in recent decades has focused atten- tion on a very murky area of property law, a regulatory area in which the law of tak- ings is not yet settled to the satisfaction of most Americans. Before taking any final action government should consider non-impacting alternatives and alter the action to avoid or minimize any imposed threat to private property. erty should be properly compensated. Under Section 553 (b) (B) of the title 5 in the United States Code it is stated that any case in which there is an immediate threat to health or safety should be inves- tigated before any government agency can impose power on private property. Section (6) demands that: Before tak- ing any final action government should consider non-impacting alternatives and alter the action to avoid or minimize any imposed threat to private property. The above act was executed to give pri- vate citizens an opportunity to defend their property rights in Federal Court. The question is why are such measures The bottom line is that the law in this area is unfair. For example, if the govern- ment constructs a structure or a highway in close proximity to a residential home, and therefore the value of the home is reduced by the direct action of govern- ment. It is fair to say that the property owner has been damaged, without com- pensation. It is therefore necessary to protect property rights in two ways. Primarily, by putting in place procedures that will stop or minimize adverse actions by govern- ments before they occur. Secondly, for the first time, the federal government will have to determine in advance how its action will impact the property owner. In many situations government has acted upon the notion of benefiting the general public and in the process impos- ing irreversible damage to homeowners. It is now the responsibility of the Government Agency to prove the absolute need of any action taken by the government that might impose damage or threat to private property owners. For too long, government regulators have made private property owners bear the burdens and costs of government land use decisions. The result has been that real people suffer. The Private Property Fairness Act of 1999 assures citizens that if heavy gov- ernment regulations diminish the value of private property, the bill would allow the landowners to plead their case in federal district court, instead of forcing them to seek relief. This bill makes the process easier, less costly and more accessible and accountable, so all citizens can fully protect their property rights. Government should be accountable to the people, not the people accountable to the govern- ment. Ill Daphna Edwards Ziman, a resident of Beverly Hi/Is, recently filed a lawsuit against the City concerning the Woodland Reservoir. , flyers, business cards, letterhead, advertisements, magazine layout, web design, ' iii i 21 31 1 silverline@mediaone, net or email: 16 Bevedy Hills Weekly