By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
Wicked indeed… It would seem the elitists in Houston County, Minnesota want to implement Agenda 21 and take away citizen’s property rights. Disparaging the Constitution and treating the local populace as if they were nothing more than serfs. The very arrogant face of Progressivism and evil without a doubt.
One of the strongest American freedoms we have is the right to own property. It is what makes us a free society and is the very cornerstone of liberty.
Each individual of the society has a right to be protected by it in the enjoyment of his life, liberty, and property, according to standing laws. He is obliged, consequently, to contribute his share to the expense of this protection; and to give his personal service, or an equivalent, when necessary. But no part of the property of any individual can, with justice, be taken from him, or applied to public uses, without his own consent, or that of the representative body of the people. In fine, the people of this commonwealth are not controllable by any other laws than those to which their constitutional representative body have given their consent.
Exercising their quintessential American rights, landowners in Houston County, Minnesota decided they had had enough five years ago and set out to reclaim their rights after the County Commissioners started making directives on how people could and could not use their own land. The fight continues today as threats, court proceedings, the stripping of Constitutional rights and lawyer’s fees fly frantically back and forth, egged on by Progressives in positions of power who are more interested in the environment and instituting Agenda 21 than they are in the rights of property owners. Cass Sunstein, is that you hiding behind the EPA again? Who’s a little Marxist?
Enter Houston County’s Commissioner who called the Constitution an ‘old document.’
“I know we’ve sworn to uphold the Constitution but it is an old document; times have changed,” stated Commissioner Tom Bjerke.
Well sir… If you think that the Constitution is outdated, perhaps you should take your viewpoint and move to a more ‘Progressive’ country in Europe, or perhaps Russia would be a better fit for you. I’m sure you would be much happier with like-thinking comrades. Don’t let the American door hit you in the behind on the way out.
The County Commissioners have told those citizens attending meetings to sit down and shut up. The local paper has told them that they have said enough and have quit taking letters to the editor longer than 500 words. But if you are on the side of the Progressives, well have your say! The media propaganda machine is in full swing skewing the truth as usual as I understand it.
From The Blaze:
In 2007, Houston County sued a young, newly married couple due to the new land use plan. The couple, who had just legally bought the home, was given four options to “settle the situation.” The couple was required to move their house fifty feet, purchase an additional 32 acres of land, sell their property to a neighbor, or tear their house down. Dealing with “impossible options,” the couple chose to appeal the ruling in the Minnesota Supreme Court. The court refused to hear their case, thus leading them to sell their property. The couple is now renting the very house they once owned.
That’s ridiculous and just wrong. And they didn’t even get to have their day in court, which probably wouldn’t have mattered any way since the County and State have already decided that this couple had no rights, Constitutional or otherwise. What a farce. This makes me boiling mad. And this couple is not alone, there are over 50 landowners in the area facing similar situations. Ask yourself, what would you do?
The County Commissioners have ignored the petition requesting they resign – over 700 landowners signed that petition. For a small county in the southeast corner of the state, that is a huge number of petitioners. These Commissioners have ignored all efforts by the people to have their voices heard concerning their Constitutional rights as landowners. They are told at meetings, in no uncertain terms, not to bring up the Constitution.
But these patriots are not giving up:
A small group of landowners decided that it was time to educate others, and themselves. With easy-to-read handouts of the Declaration of independence, quotes of the Founding Fathers, and parts of the Constitution, the group spent their evenings going from door to door, talking to their fellow citizens and asking for support.
And the march to take back their freedom has brought them to the Minnesota Federal Court, where they will plead their case. Fighting oppressive regulations and the blatant violation of Constitutional rights, these patriots are also fighting the insidious label by the Progressives of restricting their property’s use for “the public good.” That is Progressive lingo indicating that they: a) don’t feel there is any such thing as private property, b) the Constitution is irrelevant and c) landowners are too stupid to know what is good for them. If they do not prevail in Federal Court, property rights will be gutted and zoning rights will be the standard. Mull that over for a second… It renders the Constitution meaningless – individuals will no longer have the right to say what they can and can’t do with their own property – bureaucrats will wield that power. How very Marxist.
From the Let Freedom Ring Blog:
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that “nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation”. Houston County is essentially saying that they aren’t taking the property. They’re just telling private property owners that the county, not the landowner, will control the use of private property.
This is unacceptable. If Houston County wants to be the final arbiter of what land can be used for, then it should be required to purchase the land from the landowners at a fair market price. If Houston County isn’t willing to purchase the land for a fair market price, then it shouldn’t have decision-making rights, final or otherwise.
Essentially, Houston County wants everything for nothing. That sounds more like what happened in the former Soviet Union than in the United States.
I’m sure there are tons of legal documents being issued. This cannot stand. I’m beginning to see the scene from The Patriot where Benjamin Martin says to plead with the King and plead again if necessary. But pleading has been done on this over and over to no avail. Better yet, this is reminiscent of Andrew Jackson and his Manifest Destiny. The question is if the Federal Court rules against Constitutional rights, will we allow this wicked writ of the Midwest to stand? Or will it be time to take a stand that will shake this country to its very foundations?
I will leave it to each of you to search your souls and decide what side you are on. Remember the principles of our founding fathers and the Constitution – remember what this country was founded upon. Here is the press release announcing the lawsuit:
The Houston County, Minnesota Landowners Concerned About Property Rights have endorsed new litigation to get government back in the hands of “We the People.” The Complaint, to be filed in the Minnesota Federal District Court, asserts that the Houston County Commissioners, the Board of Adjustment, and the Planning Commission, as well as Houston County Zoning Administrator Bob Scanlan and Environmental Service Director Richard (Rick) Frank are violating the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the landowners in Houston County.
The case, which will be filed during the week of October 3, 2011, argues that the County, Scanlan and Frank have violated the private property rights, the rights of due process, the rights to freedom of speech and association, the right to petition for redress of grievance and the right to equal protection of the law to similarly situated landowners in the application of the County’s Land Use Plan and Zoning Ordinance. The case is being brought under the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1871.
“We are not a litigious group,” said Robert Ideker, a Houston County landowner. “We have tried to work with the County; we have attended dozens of meetings and hearings; we have written dozens of letters, but no one will listen. This last year, we even tried to talk to the Commissioners individually to express our concerns about the protection of property rights, and some landowners were told that the Commissioners would not speak to them. These are our elected representatives; it boggles my mind that they won’t even hear what we have to say.”
“At some of the meetings, we are told not to talk about the Constitution and the protection it guarantees to U.S. citizens. We need to get government back in the hands of the people; we just want the use of our property, our land and buildings. As we have told the County numerous times, we are not against civil law, but if our property use is not harming our neighbors or the environment, we should be able to use our property. We aren’t disrespectful to the County, but they should listen to our side as well. We are disappointed that we have to resort to the federal court to get a fair hearing on our concerns.”
The disagreements with the County came to a head when concerned citizens who had been deprived of their property rights went to the county officials, only to be rebuffed for their concerns. The landowners, often referred to as Landowners Concerned About Property Rights, then drafted a resolution, which was signed by 700 of the County’s landowners, that urged the County Commissioners to recognize the protections for private property and property use. That petition was presented to the Commission in 2007. The Commissioners never responded.
The Concerned Landowners filed litigation in state court challenging the land use plan and zoning ordinance in 2010, but during the research and discovery in the case, many landowners learned that the issues between the County and its citizens were significantly deeper than the land use plan; those issues go to the heart of the guarantees in the U.S. Constitution that are protected by the Federal Civil Rights Act. That is why the landowners are dismissing the state court case and endorsing the Federal District Court Civil Rights case. Dismissal of the state court case does not mean we agree with the County, it means we want to resolve all the claims at once and that can only be done in Federal Court.
“Civil rights are the rights belonging to an individual by virtue of his or her U.S. citizenship, especially the fundamental freedoms and privileges guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and by subsequent acts of Congress, including property rights, civil liberties, due process, equal protection of the laws, and freedom from discrimination,” explained Ideker. “Specifically, section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act makes monetary and equitable relief available to those whose constitutional rights had been violated by a bureaucrat or official acting under State authority.
The Federal Civil Rights Act stands as one of the most powerful authorities under which federal courts may protect those whose constitutionally guaranteed rights are deprived. Section 1983 provides a way individuals can sue to stop past and prevent future violations of constitutionally protected rights. Section 1983 applies to both governmental employees as individuals and to state and local boards and commissions acting under state authority. It requires that the individuals or boards be responsible for the decisions they make, and not simply hide behind a claim that they are ‘following the law.’”
“It is disappointing that it has come to federal court litigation, but there is nowhere else to turn. We would still be open to talking to the County officials to try to come to a resolution,” said county land owner Tom Groeschner. “But we can’t really talk to them if they won’t listen to us. Don’t we have to put government back in the hands of ‘we the people?’”