Open letter to King County about Critical Areas Ordinance


Mr. Sims and All Council members:

As a national and international property rights researcher, I daily see similar 'emergencies' such as your 'Critical Areas Ordinance/s'. It usually elicits a chuckle to think that otherwise reasonable appearing people could/would seek to pull off such a scam on their own neighborhood. However, I can see how it came to be. Your residents have been, by and large, 'taking a nap' while the trap sprang shut. These cookie cutter ordinances must be a template -- one that only needs to have the blanks filled in as to how much of the taxpayers' property rights you intend to take this year. Here in rural Ohio, our farmers saw not one, but TWO assessments in one year (September and December). The first averaged a 126% increase in farm taxes; the second went after up to 72% MORE. This is robbery without a gun; extortion using paper and pen, nothing more.

No matter. They're waking up now, as their county teeters on the brink of having its middle class completely erased and nothing but the haves and the have-nots left to fill the void. I am reminded of the Sheriff of Nottingham riding throughout the kingdom, collecting taxes from those taxed-to-the-hilt countrymen -- and his surprise at meeting Robin Hood and his merry band on a wooded trail. Did you really think this would continue forever? Did you think Preston Drew and his neighbors would keep handing you more and more until there was nothing left? They almost did.

Al Osgood is drafting something that seeks what has always been in our Constitution (you remember: the national one): compensation for a taking. Bottom line, though, is that a taking in a place where so much has already been taken, is arguably a crime. Why not penalize those doing the taking and reward those whose ownership and stewardship -- which includes that word DEVELOPMENT that you, Council, seem to think is your own personal domain?

Wendy Walsh of 'Public Benefit Rating System' fame (or notoriety, depending on whether you're the steamroller or the pavement), Klaus Richter, Pam Bissonette and other King County Open Space Citizens' Oversight Committee and Growth Management Committee members may wax euphoric about 'preserving' -- but the fact is that no one has sought to control what she/they do with their property. It's a one-way street, and Ms. Walsh apparently thinks it runs her way. Preserve is what biology students do with a jar of formaldehyde. 'Protect' and 'restore' are just stalking horses for Control, which it is crystal-clear that you seek to exert over everyone and their property, which means their freedom.

You are to vote NO on CAO -- also I can see why you'd think you could get away with such an abomination in the last country you should ever consider trying such hi jinx. Apparently, the mind set of King County residents has been such that they've allowed their county to don the dubious distinction as being the most restrictive, property rights wise, in the entire state. To that end, I can see how this 'last straw' came about. Even now, they bring up things that should never have been put in place in ANY county in America, including, but not limited to, a "Growth Management Act" and acquiescing to the mantra of "150 years of environmental damage" dadada. It was inevitable that you'd have the run of the candy store long enough to think you owned it!

The proposed Critical Areas Ordinances seek to abort every property rights tenet in the Constitution and Bill of Rights of the United States of America -- and do so on the backs of the property owners of rural King County, Washington. You seek to extort from them something that resembles a Mafia action from past years. Is this how you want your Council to be remembered, as the thieves of property rights? No emergency requires this legislation -- but to pass such patently illegal legislation would be to CREATE an emergency. The fact that King County already has the strongest restrictions on land use in the state sickens me. This tells me that the citizenry have for far too long been of not strong enough backbone and too strong a desire to let 'someone else' make the rules, so long as those rules did not dabble in their comfort zone. Now this cocoon has come back to haunt them, and you are the delivery people. Through multiple down-zoning, a house of cards -- which will 'bring down' all that most rural residents hold dear -- is about to implode.

I instruct you, as representatives of taxpayers in your county -- however tardy they've been on standing up to your view of 'freedom' by strangulatory regulation and smothering restrictions -- Vote NO to all CAO and CAO-related schemes.

Julie K. Smithson

London, Ohio


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