Dave Hodges

More About: Eminent Domain

Defecation Without Representation: Why We Need Proposition 207

The city government of Surprise is a sight to behold. The mayor and certain members of the city council are infamous for their very infantile and public displays of name calling as well as their almost laughable temper tantrums while conducting the city's business at taxpayer expense. Attending a Surprise City Council meeting is like watching R. P. McMurphy and nurse Ratchet in "One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest".

The aforementioned antics have not gone unnoticed by Surprise residents as Mayor Joan Shafer has been recalled more times than a 1970 Pinto with an exposed rear tank fuselage. Many of the Surprise City Council (i.e., Sullivan, Elkins, Bailis, Johnson, Foro and Arizmendez) are also no strangers to the wrath of citizen recall. Allegations related to highly questionable financial decisions and attempts by some council members to silence the legislative voices of several of their legislative colleagues who dare to disagree with the majority have been commonplace with this group. In scenes reminiscent of Chuck Berris and the Gong Show, Mayor Shafer has a habit of removing citizens, during public open comment, who civilly express displeasure with city policies. Little wonder that the city council and the mayor refused to pass a set of professional ethics proposed at a recent council meeting. Despite the fact that Surprise is Arizona's newest mid-size city with its population surpassing 100,000 people, the city government is run with all the efficiency and sophistication of Mayberry RFD with its lack of ethics rivaling that of the Boss Tweed Ring of the nineteenth century.

Have you recently driven down Grand Avenue or Bell Road in the Town of Surprise? Four years after the onset of grid lock, this group of gifted intellectuals have just begun to discuss the fact that maybe; just maybe, they want to talk about instituting some form of mass transit to help relieve the massive traffic congestion! This group of political circus clowns cannot even manage their own growth and now they are seeking to export their incompetence to the rest of far northwest Maricopa County and their almost laughable version of leadership through the General Plan Amendment in which they are charged with managing growth in the far northwest Maricopa County stretching all the way to Wickenburg. This is like putting Halliburton in charge of peace talks in Iraq.

For Surprise, rapid expansion is all about garnering tax revenues, as quickly as possible, as Surprise is annexing land faster than the 1939 Nazi blitzkrieg swept through Europe. For example, several years ago, the Town of Surprise annexed the subdivision of Chaparral. Surprise's city government promised community improvements in the areas of more efficient trash disposal, water services and road upgrades if the citizens would not fight annexation. Almost a decade later, the people of Chaparral are still waiting for the services that they were promised. Of course, their taxes doubled after being annexed by Surprise. Surprise officials deny that they want to annex anymore land unless they are "invited" to do so by local citizens who wish to willingly subject themselves to this wonderful form of government. But the recent history of Surprise's land acquisitions tells a far different story.

As bad as the Town of Surprise is managed, and it is, this is not just an article about a city that is in real difficulty because of troubled leadership. This is an article which highlights one of the many problems inherent in city government throughout the country. Whether it is the comparatively well-run city of Glendale, or the poorly run Town of Surprise, the fundamental issue that is facing all citizens is the preservation of their property rights. The Town of Surprise is presently launching an all-out assault on the property rights on the residents of the Wittmann area.

Wittmann is only an area in name as its inhabitants are actually residents of Maricopa County. Many of its new residents are refugees from the problems associated with urbanization as many of the inhabitants live on their newly constructed homes on one acre sites. The good people of Wittmann just want to be left alone. However, the Town of Surprise will not leave them alone.

While the Surprise city government has enough manure of its own to deal with, they are seeking to export their excess waste to Wittmann residents. Through the 2020 General Plan Amendment, Surprise is exercising its power over Wittmann by literally and figuratively dumping on the mythical town of Wittmann through the construction of a pair of waste water and sewage treatment plants in the Wittmann area. In a situation that Benjamin Franklin would be tempted to label as a case of "defecation without representation", Surprise will build two of these facilities, in Wittmann, but these facilities will only service the Town of Surprise. Ironically, when the people of Wittmann flush their toilets, the destination of the contents will not be headed for the green pastures of the treatment facilities built in their own neighborhoods by the Town of Surprise. The impact on the quality of life for the Wittmann residents should be readily apparent. The financial devastation for property owners, who are unlucky enough to be near to this latest Surprise Boondoggle, is tragic!

Surprise is taking advantage of the fact that the Wittmann people have no representation or political voice in the manner. Meanwhile, Wittmann residents are furious with this latest instance of regulatory takings. Unlike most States and under Arizona case law, Arizona is not currently awarding damages to its citizens for partial monetary damage to a property. In order to receive compensation, your property has to be 100% destroyed! Yet, if Proposition 207 was the law, the residents of Wittmann would receive compensation for the property value damage that Surprise city officials are causing the affected Wittmann area citizens.

There is nothing that the good people of Wittmann can do to stop the land Nazi's from Surprise from ruining their property values and quality of life. However, there is a lot that the citizens of Arizona can do in order to put an end to these seemingly endless string of property rights abuses.

A yes vote on Proposition 207 is a vote to preserve your right to keep control over your property as well as protecting the biggest financial investment of your life; your home and land. And you are still voting for the incubment?

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Powell Gammill
Entered on:
Mark Yannone makes a good case that we should not vote on a Right. It indicates to the courts and government that Rights are within their purview, and not something that supercedes them or their powers to adjudicate, trespass or legislate.

Sadly, I have always been disappointed, as much as land means to people, why more government **QQ**leaders**QQ** haven**Q**t had their life ended or at least had close calls by angry property owners who have been trespassed upon.

Be even nicer if the juries were hung or even came back with a **QQ**not guilty**QQ** verdict ... but then that would be Disneyland I was living in, not Amerika.

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