Property Rights Foundation of America®

October 13, 1998

CONTACT: Carol W. LaGrasse
(518) 696-5748

Third Annual Conference Draws Large Crowd
Theme is "Real People - Their Property Under Attack"

"The embrace of zoning by landowners has been the single most important force in the acceptance of the destruction of property rights by American citizens," declared James S. Burling, the keynote speaker at the Third Annual New York Conference on Private Property Rights of the Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc.

His speech on "Democracy, Property and Land-Use Regulation" was just published in the proceedings. The conference, entitled "Real People - Their Property Under Attack," held early this year, drew attendees from New York to the State of Washington.

"Judging by the horror stories told first-hand by a number of victims at the conference and by the inroads which narrow environmental and financial interest groups such as land trusts and rent-control associations have made, we have been too quiet while our rights were eroded," said Carol W. LaGrasse, President of the Property Rights Foundation. "These proceedings will teach people practical ways to regain our private property rights."

The Albany conference was comprised of three main parts. During a panel on "Government Overkill," property owners from New York related their personal adversities experienced at the hands of state and local government. Andrew M. Langer of Defenders of Property Rights, a legal foundation in Washington, DC, chaired this panel.

A second panel was more upbeat. Successful New York and national activists used a forum entitled "Regaining Our Private Property Rights," to describe their methods. One of these speakers, Mayor Gary Vegliante, led his homeowners association to form a new municipality, the Village of Westhampton Dunes, to battle the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers successfully in court and save their property.

The afternoon panel, "Insiders' Influence on Government Policy," brought some of the nation's foremost experts on the "rails-to-trails" movement, rent control, land trusts, and the Northern Forest Lands Alliance to the podium. The conferees heard how and why environmental groups and tenants associations influence government policy to the detriment of private property owners and taxpayers. Roland R. Vosburgh, the director of planning of Columbia County, chaired this panel. He warned about government advisory committees favoring the "network."

In addition to the speech by Mr. Burling, who is Senior Counsel at Pacific Legal Foundation, in Sacramento, California, every speech was fully transcribed for the proceedings. The opening address by the noted groundwater hydrologist Dr. Jay Lehr, who is President of Environmental Education Enterprises in Ostrander, Ohio, was a penetrating update on environmental scare tactics.

Wildlife biologist and author Nate Dickinson's speech completes the proceedings with reflections about some of his lifetime of experiences dealing with personages and agencies involved in environmental preservation.
The New York property rights conference has received national notice as the only such grassroots event publishing a full proceedings.

The proceedings have been published with the assistance of a grant from The JM Foundation. The co-sponsors of the conference were American Land Rights Association, American Policy Center, Civil Property Rights Associates, Inc., Competitive Enterprise Institute, Coxsackie Awareness Group, Long Island Builders Institute, New York Farm Bureau, New York State Taxpayers Alliance, People for the U.S.A., and Rent Stabilization Association.

The Proceedings are available for $9.90 plus $2.00 postage and handling from the Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc., P.O. Box 75, Stony Creek, NY 12878. Publications Order Form

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