6/25/2011

I came across "Phonehenge" on facebook--maybe it was a link from SaveCalifornia.com.  This sad story has touched me and led me to pray for a better outcome for this family.  The LA county bureaucrats are not only making Kim tear down his work of art, but insisting that very poor people tear down their small homes--leaving them homeless.  I wonder why the county wants to get rid of these people.  I also wonder how this is legal and why the right to personal property is no longer the law of the land.

http://www.savephonehengewest.org/index.htm

This story is from the LA Times--an excellent expose' of what is going on.

http://www.laweekly.com/2011-06-23/news/l-a-county-s-private-property-war/7/

This video tells Kim's side of the story and shows where he lives and what he built.  I'd say the structure is comparable in quality to the treehouse at Disneyland.

http://vimeo.com/25522126

What the constitution says about property rights.

Constitutional founders

An explanation of property rights and laws by Cato institute:

http://www.cato.org/pubs/handbook/hb111/hb111-34.pdf

3 comments:

Benjamin Bryan said...

Welcome to the new Britain.

I think there are a few issues here:

1. Just about everything you do requires a permit (permit just means permission from the government). You have to get permission to build a deck out back at your own house, permission to sell lemonade, etc. We really don't have freedom to do what we want.

2. The problem with a lot of our modern safety standards is they cost a lot of money that most people can't afford. And ironically a design like this 50 or 100 years ago probably would have been fine. All our modern buildings are very safe; designed to withstand strong earthquakes and remain standing during a fire, but on the other hand nobody builds a building or a house without a mortgage.

I think potential harm to others should be considered (e.g. if the structure's design poses a greater risk to firefighters). I'm not sure the answer to this. Instead of not allowing him to build this building perhaps a more reasonable approach is that firefighters won't be required to enter his building to save someone's life on his structure unless his building is approved by the fire marshall. That way he still has the freedom to do what he wants on his property (which is his right as long as he isn't infringing on other's rights) but at his own risk. He could buy his own firetruck or contract a private fire service.

3. How is this deserving of a harsher punishment than a criminal offense? No reasonable person would think that. He's just building on his own land! I agree with him that the process is very convoluted.

He could spend the rest of his life trying to get proper permission from the government but never get anything built, or he can build.

vi mom said...

I found a related blog--probably LA county's kicking people off their land really has to do with the low property taxes. If developers buy the land, LA stands to receive a lot more money.

http://ccrg123.blogspot.com/2011/04/eradicate-thy-neighbor-how-one-los.html

vi mom said...

Kim's sentencing is on Friday. He is already being forced to tear down Phonehenge. He has found another county to live in that is happy to have him there, so he is moving things as fast as they can before the county comes in with bulldozers.

Understandably, he is pretty angry at the whole thing. He couldn't find a lawyer to help him.

He housed several homeless people in buildings on his property. He is trying to help them move and find places to live too.