Saturday, October 20, 2007

Force In Humboldt

I suppose Humboldt is no different than anywhere else as far as having people who like to force their will on others.

This fluoride issue we've dealt with before. I mentioned back then how troubling it is to me how some people don't give a second thought to forcing their will on others, even in issues regarding drinking water.

Another example is Eureka's Historic Preservation Ordinance. City council critters, and others, are suggesting revisions to the ordinance. Some of them, seems to me, give little thought to personal choice in the matter. Apparently, some are concerned that a homeowner or two might try and opt out of the proposed ordinance. How dare they?!!!

That's old news, in a way. When this ordinance was first established homeowners were allowed to voluntarily opt out, myself being one who opted out. I'll give at least some credit to those who came up with the ordinance that they allowed an opt out. Still, I suspect others wouldn't have allowed it if given their choice.

I'm actually very sympathetic to the ordinance, being somewhat of a history buff. That's one of the reasons I bought the house I live in now. But I don't want repairs and such to my home subject to the whims of the city council or historical society.

This latest idea of being able to establish a historical district with just 60% of the residents of a neighborhood approving it is frightening indeed. Granted, it's better than the old 50% requirement, but still, not enough comfort for me.

Think I'm paranoid? Just read what Ted Loring said in regards Jeff Leonard's proposed revision that would exclude homes, already opted out of the ordinance, from being swallowed up into a historic district by a 60% vote:

Historic Preservation Commission Chairman Ted Loring made clear he felt such a revision would jeopardize the very intent of such districts.

If some property owners are allowed to opt out, Loring said, the districts would wind up with “Swiss cheese” like holes and lose the very historic feel the district aimed to preserve.

I suspect Loring doesn't want this ordinance to allow any voluntary opt outs.

Hey, I don't want all Eureka's old homes to be replaced by the new tract housing type homes and apartments we see in new construction nowadays, but I do want control over what is done with my own house. I'll opt out of any new ordinance, assuming I have the choice, even if I don't plan on doing anything to change my home's appearance.
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I wonder how many people who oppose water fluoridation support forcing homeowners into historical districts? What about the other way around?

Instant update, just a few minutes later. Just thought of this:

Most of you that have been coming here a while know about the World's Smallest Political Quiz. That quiz supposedly identifies your political leaning(s) as to whether your Left liberal, Right conservative, libertarian or authoritarian.

I wonder if you could use the fluoride and historical district issues as a local political quiz:

If you support water fluoridation but oppose historical designations, you're a Right conservative?
If you oppose water fluoridation but support historical designations, you're a Left liberal?
If you support water fluoridation and historical designations, you're an Authoritarian?
If you oppose water fluoridation and historical designations, you're a Libertarian?

Nah. I'm not sure that would work. It almost seems right but something's missing. If nothing else, I don't really have a problem with historical designations, it's how you force people to comply with them that I have a problem with.

20 Comments:

At 10:33 AM, Blogger mresquan said...

"If you oppose water fluoridation and historical designations, you're a Libertarian?"

I'm with this one.
And that political quiz lists me as being left-libertarian,so with this added I become more libertarian.I wouldn't rely too much on that little quiz.

 
At 12:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can understand Ted Loring's comments since how does a historical area remain historical if lots opt out?

I don't think anyone should be forced into fluoridation unless they live in an area with so many people that it is required. There is lots of info on the web and even some that in the past endorsed fluoridation have concerns and are withdrawing their endorsement.

 
At 7:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do historical designations work? If a house which is listed is sold, does it have to stay on the list? Can a person refuse to to list their house if it hasn't been listed before?

 
At 7:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred you write nonsense as usual, OK for historical designation not OK for compliance. Essentially you're advocating that rules are OK but then don't enforce them. You must love the current US immigration policy.

So how can a historical designation be done if it ISN'T mandated? Just have some old ladies put together a picture book of some buildings?

If a historical district is OK then the buildings in it have to be historically designated. And that means they must keep their "historical characteristics". And that means compliance.

 
At 7:48 PM, Blogger Fred said...

7:24 asks, "If a house which is listed is sold, does it have to stay on the list? Can a person refuse to to list their house if it hasn't been listed before?".

Once a house is on the list, it is ON THE LIST. That assumes the homeowner didn't opt out after they received notice from the city.

There was at least one story in the Times- Standard some years ago about a house on Union Street(?).

The guy bought the house and had no idea it was listed under the Historical Preservation Ordinance. The previous owner didn't bother to opt out.

I might be getting cases mixed up, but I believe the new owner wanted to do some renovations, including a wheelchair ramp. He was stopped from doing any renovations.

He appealed it to the city council, or whatever council or committee it was. That council refused his request for the renovations.

This, after he had no idea he'd bought a house on the Preservation list.

"Can a person refuse to to list their house if it hasn't been listed before?"."

That seems to be the crux of the discussion going on now. Some think houses in supposed "historic districts" should be listed, regardless of the new or old owner's desires. Others thing the owners should have a choice, regardless.

 
At 7:51 PM, Blogger Fred said...

7:33 writes, among other things, "If a historical district is OK then the buildings in it have to be historically designated. And that means they must keep their "historical characteristics". And that means compliance....".

Ok. Test case for Humboldt's Smallest Political Quiz: How do you feel, 7:33, about fluoridation of public drinking water?

 
At 8:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems like something as significant as a house being on the historical list would be on the deed and show up in escrow. If that isn't the case, wouldn't that be a relatively simple solution for at least one of the issues?

As to people wanting to change their minds about the designation, sorry Charlie.

I guess that makes me a Left Liberal according to your score. And quite accurate in this case.

 
At 9:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap votes once more in favor of authoritarianism, just like when she voted to turn the hoses on the homeless. Just disgusting to see Green Party values so degraded and twisted into fascism.

 
At 9:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HUH???

 
At 9:34 PM, Blogger Fred said...

8:40 wrote, "As to people wanting to change their minds about the designation, sorry Charlie.".

Actually, I might well agree with you, at least in part.

I was reading something a while back about fees and taxes, or some such, that are put into deeds that many people don't know about. An old property owner might, for instance, add a clause to the deed of the property that $1000 a year will be paid to some charity, or other fund, for eternity(?).

So, a lot of people, heck... most people don't read deeds at all, and end up paying a bunch of money for something they have no idea they're paying for.

If anyone knows of what I speak, please tell us more. I just casually read about this, and it's been some time. Not sure I agree with even that, but it kind of makes "case law", as lawyers like to say, for the legitimacy of such things.

One point of contention here, is that some are saying now that, whether or not the homeowner originally opted out of the Preservation ordinance, it won't matter if 60% of the neighbors want to turn the neighborhood into a Preservation district.

You might find that acceptable. I'm pretty sure I don't. But I can think of one example from way back,along the same lines, with which I might agree. Don't EVEN get me started on that one, but it's not even in this state.

 
At 10:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just playing Devil's Advocate here...

Do you think the Ingomar Club should have the right to demolish the Carson Mansion if they want to use the property for something else? It IS their property, after all.

 
At 6:47 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Good question, although I'd say the difference is that Carson Mansion is more of a historic landmark rather than just an average old home.

Still, I'm not sure just where the owner's right should supercede the public's right to historical landmarks.

I know one place I'd probably have to toss any libertarian credentials I have aside, as I referred to above:

I was trying to find a picture of the place yesterday, but couldn't find the web site I found it on years ago: The area next to Fly's Photo Studio, in Tombstone, AZ, where the "Gunfight at the OK Corral" took place.

The location of one of the most, if not THE most famous gunfights of all time, is pretty much surrounded by a fence you can't even see through.

Seems Fly's Photo is a private residence now and the place where the fight took place is now a fenced in yard.

I say, FOUL!!! Such a historical landmark should never have been removed from public view. Shameless.

 
At 7:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wouldn't the usual Libertarian view be that there is no public right of private property?

 
At 8:24 AM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

All of this back and forth is in fact academic. There is no such thing in Humboldt county as "private property". All property is really leased from the government. Some of the "leases" (deeds) are more restrictive than others due to covenants, zoning and other regulations. Real estate law is a whole and lucrative career category for attorneys. Contracting for one of these leases can result in serious and sometimes tragic consequences.

 
At 8:24 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Some, if not many, libs might feel that way.

 
At 5:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Fred sez: Ok. Test case for Humboldt's Smallest Political Quiz: How do you feel, 7:33, about fluoridation of public drinking water?

So what is that a "test" of anyway? Is it my ability to reason? More likely its some crude political litmus test that bozo Fred has created in his alcohol adddled mind to separate stealthy creeping "liberals in disguise" from the annointed "solid conservatives"?

I frankly have no opinion on the question of flouridation of public water because I don't feel qualified to have one, any more than I am qualified to evaluate chlorination or adequacy of sewage treatment facilities. Anyone can, and has a right, to have an opinion, like Fred does, about things he knows nothing about. But a considered opinion can be held only by people who are informed and knowledgeable.

I would like my elected representatives to ask the necessary questions and become informed and then make a decision about flouridation. If they don't, they won't receive my future vote.

 
At 7:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's where they go wrong - why aren't there incentives to stay in rather than compliance? if you offer to eliminate property taxes, maybe people would stay on. oh wait...that would mean the public would pay for the benefits they are extracting from the owners. can't have that.

 
At 5:35 AM, Blogger nyscof said...

I am opposed to fluoridation and have no opinion on historic designation, call me a scientist

 
At 7:05 AM, Blogger Fred said...

"I would like my elected representatives to ask the necessary questions and become informed and then make a decision about flouridation. If they don't, they won't receive my future vote.".

I'd say that puts 5:11 in the Authoritarian camp.

 
At 1:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred:

Your lack of understanding of historic preservation, the current ordinance and the proposed revisions is of concern to anyone who champions historic preservation. Sort of like the amazingly ignorant stance taken by the Board of Realtors. Historic Preservation is good for the City, actually preserves property values, and does not negatively impact those who are on the Preservation List. While there are a few trade-offs between historical preservation and private property rights they are minor, and no different than zoning rules. Before you speculate all over the place, get the facts. In the one case you mentioned a greedy person bought a house via a foreclosure sale, did not check the title search which clearly stated the property was on the list, and then tried to blame the system for his own incompetence. Generally speaking no one has their house end up on a historical list against their wishes. Those suggesting otherwise are fear-mongers and spouting nonsense.

 

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