Blogs > Liberty and Power > Small Town Victory for Property Rights

Jun 7, 2006 12:14 pm

Small Town Victory for Property Rights

Readers might recall several postings I have made detailing the attempt by one local government -- in the small Colorado mountain town of Ouray -- to restrict property rights.

Officials believed that Ouray's status as a tourist mecca would be improved if all the buildings resembled a Disney-esque fantasy on Victorian architecture. Lots of gingerbread decorations, that sort of thing. It would be"good for the community" if people obeyed, and thus, all remodeling and new construction would have to conform to a detailed set of specifications to insure" conformity."

What is interesting here, however, is the process. City council sessions are badly attended, and it was clear the advocates of regulation depended on lack of public recognition. I happened in accidentally one day, and was astonished to find the regulation agenda almost on the books, with no public discussion or comment. That's often the way things get done, I've noticed, especially in small towns dominated by semi-dynastic oligarchs from"established" families.

So I published articles in the local newspaper and established a website ( It turns out there are plenty of freedom-loving citizens still left in small town America. I pushed hard for a full public vote, and low and behold, one was actually held just last month. And guess what happened? The pro-regulation camp was defeated overwhelmingly!

Just goes to show. When people are tipped off to the loss of their liberties, they do tend to respond. The only place where I've found this rule of thumb does not apply is the university. Faculty members can pretty much be led off to the slaughterhouse without a whimper, if the administrators tell 'em it's for the"good of the community."

But that's another story . . .

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