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Citizen's Strategies for Defending Private Property Rights

New information added on April 17, 2013

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12th Annual National Conference
on Private Property Rights
October 2008

"A History Lesson" - Book review by Jigs Gardner
Progress and Property Rights: From the Greeks to Magna Carta to the Constitution, Walter F. Todd (American Institute for Economic Research 2009, 98 pp.)
The plain, cogent style of this account of the development in practice of the idea of property rights in the West make this "the book to read."
Highly recommended.

See Also
See Also

New York Citizens Strategies for Defending Private Property Rights

PRFA 6th Annual Conference

Defeating Zoning and Building Codes - New York

Defeating Land Designations

Reaching Your Representative

Freedom of Speech and Property Rights - New York

Additional Resources
Additional Resources

"A Wake-Up Call — Organizing for Success" Proceedings of the Fifth Annual New York Conference on
Private Property Rights
— PRFA 2000
Publications Order Form

"Zoning and Building Codes — New Crimes, New Power"
Positions on Property, Vol. 3, No. 2 (PRFA, May 1996)
Publications Order Form


U.S. House of Representatives

U.S. Senate

The Leadership Institute
Media Training Workshops
Effective Television Techniques Workshops

Steven P.J. Wood Building
1101 N. Highland Street
Arlington, VA 22201-2854
(703) 247-2000
John Poreba, Media Training Coordinator

Additional Helpful Organizations

Links to our Friends and Other Resources
(Names, addresses, short descriptions, and web site links, where available)


In-Depth Information

  • James V. DeLong"The Special Interest State: Causes and Cures," By James V. DeLong, Author & Journalist, Washington, D.C., Address to the Sixteenth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights, Latham, N.Y., October 20, 2012 (Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc.)
    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."
    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.
  • Chuck Frank"The Color Green: Sheriffs Challenge U.S. Forest Service Road Closings in Northern California," by Charles W. Frank, Journalist, Musician, Builder and Landscaper, Forks, Washington. Address to the Sixteenth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Latham, N. Y. October 20, 2012 (Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc.)
    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
  • John S. Marwell"No-Growth Zoning" - By John S. Marwell, Esq., Shamberg Marwell Davis & Hollis, Mt. Kisco, New York, Twelfth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 18, 2008)
    The moratorium is the ultimate no-growth zoning tool, during which a town can institute new planning and zoning requirements, even after an applicant has filed for a permit. Ever-increasing impositions include no use of land said to be wetland, wetland setbacks, steep slopes, viewsheds, even exposed rock outcroppings. Now, "environmental subtractions" can remove these from density computations. Organizing and education to expose the junk science behind new rules is essential. The Vested Rights Bill in the New York State Legislature would protect property owners who have submitted applications from a moratorium and new rules.
  • Carol W. LaGrasse"The Secret to Organizing" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, President, Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc. (Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc., Position Brief, August 2008)
    After citizens begin to express their anger about an issue such as eminent domain for private development, often elected officials will jump at the occasion to impress the public at a public meeting. The citizen should view this as an opportunity to bring the elected official on board and keep up the heat until victory is won.
  • "Organize Your Thoughts" - By Carol W. LaGrasse (Property Rights Foundation of America® Position Brief, May 2008)
    When people are beset with difficulties, they often refuse to set down exactly what is happening to them so that they can logically convey the situation to a potential source of help. The defense of private property rights has a much greater chance when people apply themselves to understanding and conveying their situation. Six rules for clear communication are illustrated in this discussion of local siting of a wind farm and electric transmission system.
  • "Tell Your Story" - By Carol W. LaGrasse (Property Rights Foundation of America Research Form, February 2008)
    Have you been snared by local officials after you made an application for a site plan, subdivision, or building permit? Did they add new regulations that weren't in place when you submitted your application? Please tell your story on this form, which will help illustrate the failure of the current land use and environmental review law, and may help change the law.
  • "Plan to Win" - By Carol W. LaGrasse (Property Rights Foundation of America® Position Brief, April 2008)
    You are faced with a challenging situation. In order to defend private property rights, you must plan to win. Victory can only come with a multi-front approach. First, describe your goal. Next, objectively list all tactics that your could employ to reach that goal. Finally select the tactics that appear feasible, make a tentative plan, and go to work.
  • "Stop Proposed World Heritage Sites in the U.S. - Ten Steps to Success" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, PRFA, August 2007
    By systematically opposing the 36 new applications for UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the U.S., citizens can prevent the exploitation of UNESCO influence to impose preservationist land use control on surrounding areas. Ten steps that can bring success to local efforts are outlined.
  • "Leveling the Playing Field" - By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, June 2006)
    "The property owner should form a relationship with his or her representative. The most effective citizen is the one who has worked long and hard to participate in government, and is well known to the elected representative."
  • "Fear and Trembling"- By Carol W. LaGrasse ("Worth Commenting," Reprinted from the New York Property Rights Clearinghouse, Vol. 10, No. 1, PRFA, Winter 2006)
    Most property owners faced with the threatening experience of dealing with DEC wetlands bureaucrats and APA officials are so terrified that that they will not ask their elected representatives for assistance. Anyway, representatives can not be counted on to help property owners facing unjust environmental permit conditions and enforcement, but, instead, are good at getting grants for communities.
  • "Visiting Your Representative—How To Be Heard" - By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA Position Brief, March 2006)
    The most effective way to influence your representative is to visit the official at the capitol or the district office, either as an informed individual citizen, as part of a group visit, or as a participant in a rally or lobbying day.
  • "Write for Property Rights — Act Now, After Kelo, A Time of Outrage and Opportunity" - By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, January 2006)
    The State Senate hearing at the Capitol left the impression that delaying action on eminent domain could be used to diffuse the outrage over the Kelo v. New London ruling. A revised definition of blight might lull citizens into false security. But Senator DeFrancisco has a bill to restore constitutional limits to eminent domain and he and Assemblyman Brodsky have proposed that condemnation by authorities be approved by elected bodies.
  • "Rules of Engagement"-By Carol W. LaGrasse, President, Property Rights Foundation of America. Speech to the Ninth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 22, 2005)
    "First of all, fight to win. Set your goals. Speak your issue clearly to be heard by the government and by those who can follow you," begins Carol LaGrasse's short, to-the-point summary of the basic, essential rules for grassroots success in defending private property rights at every level.
  • Craig Call"National Property Rights Ombudsman Legislation" - By Craig M. Call, Utah State Property Rights Ombudsman Speech to the Ninth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 22, 2005)
    The Utah Property Rights Ombudsman has successfully acted as a neutral third party to make sure that people have straight answers to the questions that they face in land use and eminent domain situations involving state and local government. "I try to make the law work better for individuals who call me," said Mr. Call. U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch has proposed legislation for a federal property rights ombudsman within the Department of Transportation. (Note: The Ombudsman has been proposed as eminent domain legislation in the New York State Assembky and Senate - 2006)
  • "PRFA Holds Successful Ninth Annual National Property Rights Conference" - PRFA, October 2005
    This report describes national leaders and local activists addressing a rapt audience of individuals gathered October 22, 2005 at the Turf Holiday Inn, Albany, N.Y., about the theme "Rules of Engagement for Defending Our Private Property Rights." Bill Moshofsky, Oregonians in Action, gave the Keynote on Oregon's Measure 37 referendum. Four of the prominent speakers exclusively addressed how citizens can battle the Supreme Court's destructive Kelo v. New London eminent domain ruling.
  • Guy Poulin"Organizing Successfully Against the Sacandaga Reservoir Regulating District"-By Guy Poulin, Speech to the Ninth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 22, 2005)
    Guy Poulin, a resident of Northville in Saratoga County, rallied the shoreline owners on the Great Sacandaga Lake when the Hudson River Black River Regulating District Commission obscurely announced that the access permit fees would go sky high. His researched the law controlling the fees, exposed the new scheme, which was illegal, and aroused the property owners to action.
  • "Rise Up - A Call to Regain Private Property Rights After Kelo v. New London" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, (PRFA, July 2005)
    Each of us should take on the task of counteracting the U.S. Supreme Court's Susette Kelo v. City of New London decision. We must use our influence on local government and the state legislature to prohibit eminent domain to take property from one private owner to transfer it to another private person for the purpose of economic development.
  • "Grants Have Agendas" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, PRFA November 15, 2004
    Government grants put never-ending streams of money toward preservationist objectives that diminish private property rights. Prime examples are National Heritage Areas, regional planning, trails, and government land acquisition.
  • "The Freedom of Information Request" (With Sample Letter) - By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA Background Brief, December 2004)
    Knowledge is the first key to success in defending private property rights. Although based on New York and federal freedom of information law, this article has important information applicable anywhere in the United States.
  • Richard Miniter"International Property Rights and How to Win in This Country" - By Richard Miniter, Founder and President, Brussels Institute, Brussels, Belgium; Speech to the Eighth Annual Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y. October 23, 2004)
    Property rights are already lost in Europe, but in the United States only a few battles have been lost. It is time to win. Modeled after successful movements, Richard Miniter's ten steps to win start with recruiting a legislative champion.
  • "Utah Property Rights Ombudsman — A National Model" - By Craig M. Call, Property Rights Ombudsman, State of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah; Speech to the Eighth Annual Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y. October 23, 2004)
    The first property rights ombudsman in the world is a powerful negotiator for small property ownersmainly homeowners facing eminent domain, land use takings and land use ordinances imposed by state and local government.
  • Mark Nix"Landowners United to Defend Private Property Rights" By Mark Nix, Executive Director, South Carolina Landowners Association, Columbia, South Carolina; Speech to the Eighth Annual Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y. October 23, 2004)
    This speech includes good advice for all property rights groups, including: Form alliances with homeowners associations, churches, and other groups to defend property rights. Frame the issues to be understood. Warn people that government is "taking away your property's value," instead of about "zoning." Get the news out to your members at least once a month.
  • Don Parmeter"Grassroots Action-Changing the Way We Govern Ourselves" - By Don Parmeter, Northern Resources Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Speech to the Seventh Annual Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y. October 18, 2003) Watershed planning, or basin-wide planning, mean regional land use control of the entire country. Citizens must organize, bring in diverse populations, strategize, figure out how to fix it, play offense, and not give up.
  • Joseph Havranek"The Proposed Rondout Creek Canalway Trail-Defending Property Owners" - By Joseph Havranek, Rondout Landowners Alliance, Seventh Annual New York Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, October 18, 2003)
    A classic of successful activism. FOIL Requests revealed that the true intent of the local project in Rosendale and Marbletown was a 108-mile trail linking the Hudson and Delaware Rivers. The Rondout Landowners Alliance got the information to the people and went on the offensive.
  • "A Property Rights Primer — How to Educate Yourself"— By Susan Allen, Keene Valley, N.Y. (PRFA, December 10, 2002)
    Don't rely on others. If you have been hit with a property rights issue, "you need to become very knowledgeable in a very great hurry." This primer by an expert tells you how to gather information about government programs and land ownership without any prior background.
  • Madeline Shiela Galvin, Esq."Cutting Edge Litigation for the Future" - Madeline Sheila Galvin, Galvin and Morgan, Delmar, N.Y., Speech, Sixth Annual New York Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, November 16, 2002)
    Property owners must stand up again and again to bureaucrats in the court room. Gather documents from bureaucrats by doing Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests long before going to court.
  • "How Zoning was Defeated in Wetmore Township" - Featuring recollections by Andy Rakiecki (Reprinted from New York Property Rights Clearinghouse, Vol. 6, No. 1, Spring 2002)
    Local citizens defending the rural lifestyle in a Pennsylvania town in the area of the Allegheny National Forest used a townwide referendum to get their anti-zoning message across, 399-47.

Maggie and Andy Rakiecki

Maggie and Andy Rakiecki
  • A Wake-Up Call—Organizing for Success, Proceedings of the Fifth Annual New York Conference on Private Property Rights, edited by Carol W. LaGrasse, Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc.
    National leaders and experts reveal essentials about reaching your representative, exposing government to the light of day, effective media work, web outreach, cable television, the successful newsletter, keeping a group together, building coalitions, and fund-raising—all in the context of defending freedom.
  • "Defeating Land Designations" - Carol W. LaGrasse, PRFA, October 16, 2000
    Using National Park Service proposal as an example, outlines essential strategies applicable to all national land designations, including Demanding to Know Bounds, Publicity, Washington Trips, Letters to the Editor, Letters to Congress, Notices to Property Owners, The Rally, and more.
  • Thomas A. Miller"Organizing Against Excessive Zoning" - Thomas A. Miller, Founding Member, Allegany Citizens Rights Committee, Allegany, N.Y., from Proceedings of the Third Annual New York Conference on Private Property Rights (1998)

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