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Chicago Clout in California

February 04, 1988

Our Constitution devotes more of its short text to property rights in the Fifth Amendment than any other right, including the freedom of speech or the protection from unreasonable searches.

This is because it makes the connection between property rights and human rights.

It is easy for Daniel Kuehn, superintendent of the Santa Monica Mountains park, to say that Dunne's property would be wonderful for hikers and for his assistant, Nancy Ehorn, to complain that she cannot plan a park when people have the right to build a home on their property.

The SMMNRA is so obsessed with its goals and outrageous power that it is unable to make the trivial distinction between buying private property from willing sellers at fair prices and outright condemning it.

Along with imprisonment without due process there is no more cruel abuse of government power than the taking of private property by exercising the power of eminent domain.

It is frightening that an American has to resort to personal political contacts for the right to keep his property and enjoy it. But what about the rest of us who have to live with a trashed Constitution?

Yes, the Santa Monicas are indeed stained, by the sword of the Park Service and the blood of its property owners.

GEORGE CALOYANNIDIS

Los Angeles

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