Dave Hodges

More About: Eminent Domain

Farewell to an Arizona State Treasure: Another Reason to Vote for Proposition 207

Nestled in the beautiful rolling hills of Dewey, Arizona, Young's farm has been a good friend to the families of Arizona. My family, like many of your families, have spent many a weekend, leading up to Halloween, petting the farm animals and picking out the biggest pumpkins available. Since 1946, the farm provided much fresh air, spectacular views and provided great opportunities for families to bond. Young's farm was indeed a State Treasure.

Arizona developers, too, loved the breath taking views and pristine environment but for far different reasons. Arizona's developers have had their covetous eyes upon Young's farm for several years. Using their influence with local government, the farm owners were told that they would have to sell their farm because it was using too much water. When the owners refused to sell the farm and relinquish their water rights, local government, in 1999, told them that their farm would be devalued by 4% per year until they acquiesced. Meanwhile, the circling buzzards (i.e., home developers), were waiting in the wings for the owners of Young's Farm, Inc. to cave into the political pressure and sell.

This Halloween season will be the last Halloween season that our children will get to enjoy the treasures of the farm as, after seven years of fighting local government, the owners finally have decided to take their operation to a farming area 80 miles outside of Bend, Oregon. If one values wholesome family entertainment, this is a great loss for our State. The farm, once declared a local hazard, by local government, because of water use, mostly due to irrigation, will now, in part, play home to several new densely populated housing developments. So much for the bogus water problems and the threat the farm posed to the local community.

The Governor could have prevented this debacle by declaring Young's Farm to be a State Treasure and this would have staved off the regulatory takings imposed by local government on the farm owners. But not being one to say no to Arizona's greedy developers, the Governor has remained silent on this issue.

If Arizonans needed a reason to vote for Proposition 207, they have to look no further than the political games being played by local government and the greedy home developers in this case. If Proposition 207 was the law, the farm would have to be compensated for the 4% loss incurred by this regulatory takings imposed by local government. No water available for Young's Farm, but plenty of water is now available for dense, residential housing.

The Arizona Republic continues with its full court press against Proposition 207 with another half page spread, on Sunday, in which it nitpicked its way through the trivialities associated with Proposition 207 advertising while ignoring the substantive issues (e.g., private to private eminent domain transfer, regulatory takings). By serving as the mouthpiece for the lies being told to the public on the alleged dangers of Proposition 207, the Republic is siding with the developers and the politically greedy mayors who would not think twice to deprive you and your family of your property rights if it could advance their political careers and put more money into the pockets of the developers. The Republic does not care about the mayors. But they do care about the revenue they derive from the advertising money they receive from the developers.Therefore, the Republic is serving as the propagandist for these developers. Remember, this is the same Republic that has been caught using real estate data that is over a year old to present the market in manner that is favorable to the developers. And you think the Republic practices impartial journalism?

How many more property owner casualties will it take until Arizona's voters wake up to the fact that they could be the next victim to the land Nazi's if Proposition 207 does not become law?

Thanks to Young's Farm for being such a good neighbor and friend to Arizona's families. Perhaps the Young's parting gift to Arizona will be to provide another reason for Arizona to vote yes on Proposition 207. The problem is how do parents explain to their children why this is the last year they will get to visit Young's farm?

I guess that on the weekend proceeding Halloween of 2007, my young son, and your children will have to be content to tour the model homes where the farm animals once roamed.

And you are still voting for the incumbent???

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