Property Rights Foundation of America®
Founded 1994

In Two Parts
With Speeches Published in Full
(as transcription and editing is complete)

Sixteenth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights

October 20, 2012
Century House, Latham, New York

Conference Photos: Peter J. LaGrasse
Presentation Displays: Robert LoScalzo

Part I
Welcome & Meet the Speakers

Carol W. LaGrasse, P.E.

President, Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc.
Stony Creek, New York
Carol W. LaGrasse, P.E.

"A Charge to Keep"
"This charge we keep is based on principle and loyalty...The principle is the God-given right to our own selves as individuals…So the charge we keep is our quest to defeat government that uses its power against the consent of the governed,..depriving their property rights."

Full speech of Carol W. LaGrasse

Opening Address

"Energy Abundance or Poverty: The Choice of the Century"

Bonner Cohen, Ph.D.
Fellow, National Center for Public Policy Research, &
Senior Policy Analyst, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, Washington, D.C.

The promise of energy independence took Bonner Cohen, Ph.D., on a breathtaking overview of rural economies in states such as North Dakota since the development of oil and gas resources in shale. The "shale revolution," as Dr. Bonner referred to it, combined with changing demographics, is also upending the power relations of nations and continents, with Russia notably facing the specter of Europe's capacity to produce its own energy, and China posturing against Vietnam over oil and gas-rich islands in the South China Sea. Will the United States succumb to the demonization of shale gas by environmentalists and relegate management of these resources on private property to Washington, or will the promise of prosperity be fulfilled through wise utilization and local regulation at the state level?

Bonner Cohen, Ph.D.

Full speech of Bonner Cohen, Ph.D.

"The Corruption of Eminent Domain"

Robert LoScalzo Joseph Ardizzone

Robert LoScalzo

Joseph Ardizzone

Willets Point United, Willets Point, Queens County, N.Y. City

Joint presentation by Robert LoScalzo and Joseph Ardizzone. Irene Prestigiacomo's speech read by Mr. LoScalzo in her absence.

The story of the battle of the property owners and tenants in Willets Point, Queens County, New York City, against the City of New York's plan to replace the entire concentration of prosperous industrial businesses near the new City Field Mets Stadium with upscale redevelopment, with an update on the City's withdrawal of its eminent domain papers a few days before the appeal was to be heard, the City's subsequent announcements and changes to its plan, and the corruption involved with the original approval of the plan by the City Council.


Full speeches of Robert LoScalzo and Joseph Ardizzone with reading for Irene Prestigiacomo

See Photo Story II — The Corruption of Eminent Domain — To view 2012 conference photos of Willets Point.

"Developments in the Law of Rent Regulation and Taking of Property"

Martin S. Kaufman, Esq. James D. Harmon, Esq.
Martin S. Kaufman, Esq.
Senior Vice President & General Counsel
Atlantic Legal Foundation, Larchmont, N.Y.
James D. Harmon, Esq.
Attorney at Law, New York, N.Y.
In one compelling, precise speech, Martin Kaufman began with the origin of New York City's rent control in the aftermath of World War I, its revival after the Second World War as an emergency measure, and its persistence under the name of "rent stabilization" to the present day. Rent control is virtually perpetual, as tenants pass the privilege along to their children, grandchildren, and other cohabitants, paying, perhaps $1,000 per month for an apartment where the landlord could charge twice that amount. It is not even possible to evict a rent-controlled apartment by tearing down the building, because the law requires that a substitute rent-controlled apartment be located for each tenant. As a regulatory taking, rent control has survived the arguments of the most learned and brilliant scholars in court.
James Harmon brought the personal meaning of rent control to life. "It's like living without the Constitution," he said. James Harmon is the fifth generation of his family to live in his home in Manhattan. Yet he cannot occupy parts of his house because it has six rent-controlled apartments above the floor where he lives. One tenant owns a $750,000 home in Southampton. There are a million free market apartments in New York City and approximately the same number of rent-stabilized apartments. He brought the problem to his state Assembly member and she said she represents her constituents and herself has a rent-stabilized apartment. The president of the City Council, who owns a home on the Jersey Shore, has a rent-stabilized apartment. A tenant can bring anyone he chooses to live in Mr. Harmon's house without his consent. "I've never spoken outside of the legal context before," Mr. Harmon said. "I'm not taking it anymore."

Full speeches of Mr. Kaufman and Mr. Harmon

Keynote Address

"The Special Interest State: Causes and Cures"

James V. DeLong

James V. DeLong
Author & Journalist, Washington, D.C.

Under the broad theme "renewing the American republic," Jim DeLong explained that government has let itself be captured, piecemeal, by a host of special interests, not only the crony capitalists, but by ideological interests such as the environmentalists. His pervasive wry humor imbued his address with a sense of the totality of the corruption of the vision of the Founders.
"We spend a trillion dollars on welfare now and a lot more on middle class entitlements of various sorts but we don't spend it because of any philosophy of government, we spend it because of political pressures."
"The real estate developers who were discussed this morning are not acting out of any philosophy of government. They just know it's cheaper to buy a city councilman or a whole council than to pay a fair price for the land."
A penetrating contrast is inescapable as the speech develops from the motives of the framers of the Constitution to a fascinating analysis of government in today
's society, followed by a return to a discussion of the moral basis of government. He ended the note that good things are happening, and his belief that we will find it a stronger country in twenty years.
In addition to Ending Big Sis: The Special Interest State, James V. DeLong has written two earlier books: Property Matters: How Property Rights are under Assault, and Why You Should Care (Free Press, 1997) and Out of Bounds and Out of Control: Regulatory Enforcement at the EPA (Cato, 2002).
Ending Big 'SIS'Big Sis treats the reader to Jim DeLong's historical and political brilliance applied to today's client state....the author erases any question that... [our] system of government [is] diametrically opposed to the Founders' design of checks and balances. This fine book consistently leaps beyond the typical calls for reform, which are usually superficial, by explaining the assumptions and structures that facilitate today's Behemoth government.

Full speech of James V. DeLong

John S. Marwell, Esq.
Shamberg Marwell Davis & Hollis, P.C.
Mt. Kisco, New York

& Carol W. LaGrasse
President, Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc.

Carol LaGrasse and John Marwell

Award Presentation

John S. Marwell, Esq.

For His Counsel for the Brief of Amicus Curiae
In Support of the
Property Owners & Businesses of Willets, Point, N.Y.,
Against Eminent Domain

"Wolf Recovery in the Northern Rockies:
What Pro-Wolf Advocates Do Not Want You to Know"

Charles E. Kay, Ph.D.
Wildlife Ecology
Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, Utah State University

Charles Kay's presentation ranged widely across the many aspects of reintroducing wolves to the Northern Rockies, and how his knowledge may be applicable to the East, where there is talk of putting wolves in upstate New York. He repeatedly exposed corruption of science and the ignorance of federal judges, as he explained fallacies that began with the original 1987 Northern Rockies Recovery Plan. He took the audience through the depredations by the colonizing wolves and the resultant near extinction of the elk, debunking the distracting established themes from "predator-mediated competition" to the supposed relevance of habitat.

As his talk gathered steam, he said that the wolves are now in the process of wiping out woodland and mountain caribou across the length and breadth of Canada. The wolf has reduced hunting opportunities by ninety percent in the Northern Rockies, as he predicted in 1993. Livestock losses in the West have been virtually uncompensated. You cannot kill a wolf on your own property: "You kill a wolf, a hundred thousand bucks, and it's a felony offense." Dr. Kay offered to return to New York State and address a related but entirely different subject, the fact that the Northwest as well as the rest of North America were not wilderness when the Europeans arrived.

Charles E. Kay, Ph.D.

Full speech of Charles E. Kay

"The Color Green: Sheriffs Challenge U.S. Forest Service Road Closings in Northern California"

Charles W. Frank
Journalist, Musician, Builder & Landscaper
Forks, Washington

Northern California sheriffs are now set on stopping the federal government because of its limited land use policies and Forest Service road closures. Because the West is highly forested, roads need to remain open and maintained, not only for public use and recreation, but also for greater access to fight forest fires, which are getting out of control. The sheriffs of northern California are coming to agreement, also, that the underbrush in forested lands needs to be cut away and the thinning of trees needs to be accomplished to prevent massive forest fires which continue to plague the West.

Resolution #2011- - Board of Supervisors of Apache County, Arizona, Dec. 6. 2011
Declaring the exclusive authority of Apache County, Arizona over certain roads, rights-of-way and routes of travel within the boundaries of Apache County and located on certain lands also managed by the United States Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management

Resolution - # 2011-14 - Board of Supervisors of Apache County, Arizona, October 18, 2011
Declaring an emergency in Apache County, Arizona due to the Wallow fire, degraded forest conditions, imminent threat from catastrophic fires and extreme drought

Charles W. Frank

Full speech of Charles W. Frank

Here is a short review of Chuck's book

.House of Lords: America in the Balance

House of Lords: America in the Balance
Tate Publishing & Enterprises, Mustang Oklahoma

Nine justices on the Supreme Court can decide sweeping issues that will affect generations to come, while the American majority may disagree fully with these judicial decisions. This is democracy? For decades on end, the influence of special interests and the government have tested the very constitutional fabric of society. Now, America is at a crossroads, and something's got to give. The House of Lords: America in the Balance candidly and unapologetically exposes the present injustices of a governmental betrayal combined with those high rollers, who, author Charles Frank argues, are responsible for sabotaging our sacred republic while American citizens are stripped of their cherished rights and freedoms. The House of Lords presents the stark reality of hidden agendas, dysfunctional government, and a broken society that needs a new blueprint and spiritual renewal. The author offers practical, unique solutions for a fractured nation, solutions that are rooted in the heart-felt ideologies originally formed and put forth by our country's founding fathers.

You can reach Chuck at this e-mail address:
See his website:

"Land Issues Facing Congress"

Jim Streeter
Staff Director, Committee on National Parks,
Forests and Public Lands
U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.

This thought-provoking talk ranged through a number of topics affecting both federal and private land: federal land management and the effect on school systems in the West, invasive species studies without action, National Park concessions, setting bounds on federal authority, laws to define harassment by feds per Supreme Court dissent, collusion and lobbying with federal grants, feds and environmental groups targeting private properties, land adjoining federal land and heritage areas, mis-directing border control funding toward endangered species "damage," common sense in protecting species, defunding sustainable development grants, attacks on Tea party groups who oppose sustainable planning, history of federal lands, choosing language, the property rights movement, court decisions and legislative opportunities, experiences sought for hearings.

Jim Streeter

Full speech of Jim Streeter

Closing Address

"Greenism: Strategies, Roots & Consequences"

Jigs Gardner

Jigs Gardner
Farmer & Writer, Essex, New York, &
Editor, St. Croix Review
The redefinition of the word "environment" by the Greens has made our environment sacred and used it as a moral bludgeon. We must go beyond the issue of jobs and attack the Greens on the basis that they want to stop any activity to use our natural resources to increase our prosperity and improve our lives. Greenism is by its intent impoverishing. Green ideologues believe in the goodness of nature and that humans and their civilization are a curse.

Full speech of Jigs Gardner

Photo Gallery II - The Corruption of Eminent Domain

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