April 15, 2010
For centuries, speculation has occurred about the fate of the fabled “Lost City of Atlantis.” The city was first referenced by Plato in works written in 360 B.C., where he described the city in detail. Numerous other accounts have followed, generally describing Atlantis as a highly-advanced, fully-planned island city with engineering technologies almost inconceivable at the time. Some references indicate functions were geographically segmented by the City’s design, with sections of Atlantis devoted to growing crops, affluent neighborhoods, etc…
Although the geographic location of Atlantis continues to be widely debated, most opinions are consistent with respect to the fabled City’s demise. Apparently, one day, the city simply sank into the sea. Some writers have suggested that the mythological figure, Zeus, was angry with Poseidon and sent a thunderbolt of lightning to sink the city.
Given what is happening in America in 2010, as we witness the quest of government and planners to create the perfectly planned and fully-managed society, a much more likely scenario is that Atlantis sank into the sea under the incredible weight of regulation and taxation. When you live on an island, the cost of paving streets with gold and constructing beautiful temples on every corner must carry a hefty price tag.
Many Americans today feel as if their individual rights and liberties are disappearing overnight and they have every reason for concern. The perfect example of the erosion of liberty can be found in Atlantis, Florida. The City of Atlantis is a small municipality in Palm Beach County, Florida, of approximately 2,000 residents. Recently, CPR received a “field report” from one of our members in Atlantis, alerting CPR to an extraordinary degradation of ownership rights. City officials recently voted to require all property owners to apply for a permit if they desired to paint the exterior of their homes. Residents must now apply for a $40 permit…for the privilege of having city officials review their personal paint color choices and permission must be obtained before citizens can paint their private homes. City agents will also inspect the home’s color once it is painted.
As an American property owner currently considering color choices for the exterior of my own home, I find it astounding any group of elected officials would be so arrogant and so audacious to suggest that it is an acceptable role for any branch of American government to use its police powers to regulate residential paint color choices or to expend limited tax dollars enforcing residential paint color choice regulations…but this is exactly what they have done.
Atlantis residents no longer possess the property right to self-select the paint color of their homes. It is now a function of government. Government officials have been empowered as the legal paint color authority. Government officials have the ability to deny private color selections and to enforce this ordinance through municipal citations, fines and liens.
Readers who have voluntarily elected to purchase a home in a designated historic district or in a deed-restricted community where paint color choices are regulated by historic district standards or by HOA covenants and who see value in these voluntarily choices, should understand there is a significant difference between regulations you have voluntarily agreed upon prior to the purchase of your home and an agency of government assuming the authority to regulate purely-aesthetic facets of private property ownership.
Residents who desire to repaint their homes in existing colors may also find they cannot. They lost this ownership right a few weeks ago when the esteemed members of their city council adopted this extraordinary regulatory overreach. No resident or home in the City of Atlantis was grandfathered in.
Both the Benjamin Moore and Behr paint lines have colors called “Atlantis” (768) and “Lost Atlantis”( 580F-6), which are lovely shades of blue, but which would not be expected to comply with the City’s new definition of “harmonious.” Ironically, the adjacent color in Behr’s lineup is a beautiful shade called “Liberty”( 580D-6 ) which would most assuredly be denied in Atlantis.
The decisions being made by local officials in cities across America such as Atlantis, directly impact the rights of every citizen in our nation. They lay the precedent for the complete elimination of private property rights in America.
Throughout history, prior to the titular national leadership changes which preceded the advent of socialist and communist regimes, there were those who noticed the shift in public opinion regarding the expansion of government’s power over property rights. There were those who saw the “canary in the coal mine” warnings of the direction toward which their nations were headed and who sought to alert others to this looming threat.
Through its work, CPR is issuing similar warnings. We can choose to passively accept our nation’s fate or become activists in the national effort to change our current course. Property owners must be actively engaged in discussing these issues and trends with friends, family and e-networks, to hold our elected officials accountable. We must begin by looking them in the eye when they vote to limit freedom and restrict individual economic opportunity. We must understand our vital role as citizens in turning around our ship of state.
The ability to be involved, to actively champion liberty, to communicate with our elected officials and in the media without real fear of retribution, is one of the greatest gifts our Founding Fathers gave us. They provided future generations with the ability to check the power of our government. The disturbing trends we are seeing across America will not reverse without our individual involvement effort in exercising that check.
Citizens who love property rights must ask themselves the simple question, “Do we want to watch our nation sink down beneath the weight of land use regulation and taxation or are we individually willing to do the work to raise our nation up again?”
Reader responses welcomed! firstname.lastname@example.orgCarol Saviak Executive Director Coalition for Property Rights 2878 S. Osceola Avenue Orlando, FL 32806 407-481-2289 407-481-0834 fax http://www.proprights.com/