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Letter from Harry L. Long
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I have known Phil Johnson and Sam (Martin) Hay III for most of my life, and I totally agree with their opposition to the county’s “so called” 2050 Plan. I view this plan as a direct attack on an individual’s freedom and liberty. I have raised my right hand twice, and each time I took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. Immigrants started pouring into the U.S. (colonies) in the 1600s through today mainly for two purposes: I. To be free and II. To own property in “fee simple.” In America the right to own property in “fee simple” has been in a state of erosion for the past 50 years. The 5th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution offer property owners some protection from a rogue government’s intent in controlling their property. Governments exercise this control through zoning, taxation, permits, use plans, authorities and any other devious means they can concoct. The 5th Amendment plainly states that private property cannot be taken through deprivation without the due process of law and without just compensation.

A second protection against a government’s intrusion on individual’s property rights is a concept known as “Inverse Condemnation.” This is where the actions of a government place a severe restriction on private property that constitutes a taking where: (I.) it does not advance a legitimate government interst, and (II.) it denies property owners the economically viable use of their land. This protection originated form a 1922 U.S. Supreme Court decision: Pennsylvania Cole Co. V. Mahon, 260 U.S. 393 (1922). There have been many court cases and various state laws implemented since this decision. It would seem to me if this 2050 Plan passed, then any property owner would have a legitimate legal right to bring suit immediately. Hopefully this could be done through the Federal Courts and bypass the State Courts. One thing is for sure: they would probably have to find an attorney outside of Newton County to represent them.

Aside from the concept of the 2050 Plan (as put forth by its proponents) there seems to be a more sinister agenda being put forth. These proponents are telling Newton County citizens that “big brother” knows what is best for their welfare by controlling their property. The title “2050 Plan” is no more than “sugar coating” a current plan that runs parallel with other movements, forms of government or lifestyles that have been tried and failed in the past. Some are Feudalism, Manorism, Collectivism, Socialism, Communism, Communes and now we have Progressives.

The proponents also seem to have devised a scheme whereby poverty, crime and squalor are relegated to one part of the county by the concept of gerrymandering. In other words, if you are a certain class of people, you are to stay in “your place.”

Harry L. Long