Simple No,
Needed Yes

Peter Livingston, the author of the article 'Oregon's Land Use Wars' (OSB Bulletin, June 2001), does not see why property rights deserve 'special protection' against the risk of regulatory impacts when property rights are already protected by the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article 1, Section 18, of the Oregon Constitution.

The United States has a long history of protecting private property against government seizure as the cornerstone of our democracy. Unfortunately, the courts have interpreted the Fifth Amendment and Article 1, Section 18, of the Oregon Constitution, so that a private land owner would be broke (or dead) before a takings claim can actually be heard due to exhaustion of remedies and ripeness requirements. When a court finally hears the merits of a takings claim, the requirement that a land owner lose 'all economic use' of his property means that most courts never find a compensable taking (unless it is a physical takings or Dolan exaction).

A majority of Oregonians voted for Measure 7 because they didn't like the idea that a few private land owners bear all the burdens of property stewardship for the public's use and benefit without any payment of compensation to the land owners who suffer from land use regulations - in another words, basic fairness.

Oregon voters are depending on the legislature and the justice system to implement Measure 7 - not just throw up their hands and say it's too hard to figure Measure 7 out. While Measure 7 is probably not 'pretty simple' to apply, the 2001 Legislature crafted several bills which set out the rules for Measure 7 claims that would protect Oregon's land-use system and protect private property from unfair government takings. The lawyers, judicial system and the legislature owe it to the voters that passed Measure 7 to implement it even though it may not be 'pretty simple' to do.

Dorothy S. Cofield
Lake Oswego

Who's Really Responsible?

For what it is worth I am a mere lawyer. I am not a psychologist. Nor do I go around making accusations, false or otherwise, about one's conduct unless it is seen and known.

My particular concern is that apparently no one in the legislature thought through the problem of reporting abuse. And now it seems as though the bar and Oregon Division of Services to Children and Families (SCF) may be headed for the appointment of a 'god squad' to see that all lawyers report abuse - known or not!

Well, I for one am not qualified to distinguish normal childhood aches, bruises, cuts and pains and to label the result as being abusive - unless, of course, I have seen the conduct first hand. Unfortunately, most abuse - if that is what it is called - is only subjective. Once again I am not qualified, but I can, of course, distinguish abuse when I see a person beating a child with a tire iron. But a swat on the butt without the tire iron does not, in my opinion, rise to the point of reporting to anybody.

In my opinion the tenor of the plea made by the SCF 'ad' is intended to create more problems, not to eliminate them. And pray tell what constitutes 'reasonable cause to believe…'? The mere fact that a child (of any age) has a bruise or a cut does not, ipso facto, rise to the point of concern - unless, of course you are the perpetrator or have seen, first hand, and not merely suspicioned illegal conduct.

And then the 'ad' closes by saying 'you must report and include, if known, names and addresses of the child and the accused abuser'. Yeah, right! If I don't know the names - do you really think I am going to report my suspicions? Think again. For I am not and will not put my life on the line to report something that I have not seen or known about.

If the state of Oregon, who is in charge of many of our preschool and school-age children, can allow them to be kidnapped or killed - what do you think my responsibility is? SCF must come to grips with its state of incompetency and get into the real world of training their people. I will guarantee you that my responsibility does not go so far as to report my suspicions. No one says the state's job is an easy one - but then neither is mine - without even bringing into issue that of alleged abuse.

Finally, is it possible that we, as a nation, are being abused by the media? And in order to compete with the media we are being forced to create rules that are meaningless, to the max, of reporting every little bit of dirt that can be found - in the hopes that the media will, again, have something to report? Think about it.

Thomas P. Joseph Jr.

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