Joan Baez Does Property Rights


(Note: No note could do this justice. From the sublime to the ... ?)


June 9, 2006


By Doug Doudney, President [email protected] or 407-481-2283

Coalition for Property Rights

Published by the Brevard Insider

Malabar, Florida

To submit a Letter to the Editor: [email protected]


Sometimes property rights gets downright funny. Today, let's lower the intensity a little and hopefully get a grin from the actions of our opponents.  

There's a 14-acre tract called "South Central Farm," smack in the middle of Los Angeles.

Zoned for commercial or industrial use, Los Angeles took it by eminent domain powers years ago.

After the 1992 L.A. riots, it was converted to a neighborhood farm where locals took little plots and raised their own vegetables.

The city's original plan didn't pan out, so it was sold back to the previous owner -- for more than he sold it for -- about three years ago.     

Though private property once again, the farmers told the new owner they would not leave and became squatters.

It appears the owner tolerated the squatters for awhile.

Now, the owner wants to sell his valuable land; it's for sale for $16.3 million.

Well, here come the celebrities! Folk singer Joan Baez, now 65, and Daryl Hannah (best known as the loveable mermaid in the movie "Splash") have taken up residence in a walnut tree on site.

Also joining in are Danny Glover ("Die Hard") and various other glitteratzi.

Veteran tree-sitters Julia Butterfly and John Quigley have added their talents. For a fun photo gallery, visit  

The effort is all about saving this little farm in the middle of town from development. They say they want to raise money to buy the farm to preserve it for the little people, but have come up $10 million short. With the amount of star power involved, seems $16.3 million is really not a lot of money, but Daryl Hannah calls it "A situation of the needy versus the greedy" (LosAngeles Times).  

The owner secured an eviction order, it was stayed. Now the stay is lifted and it's up to the sheriff's dept. to do its function of protecting private property.  

Of course, underlying this silliness is a dead serious issue of basic ownership rights. Not the least of these are rights to buy and sell freely and right of exclusion (to keep people off your land). Our glamorous friends are thumbing their noses at these basic precepts and unconsciously (I suppose) undermining our American system.

Wouldn't the local squatter/ farmers be better served if our rich and famous used their talents to help people become owners, to live the American dream? Instead they'd rather mug for the cameras while pretending to protect fictional "rights" to squat illegally.

Would they allow squatters on their own estates?  

There's the tragedy in the comedy. Self-important, self-absorbed artists who have easily sucked the fattest marrow from our system have no clue why they enjoy such success. They're so blind they can't see the entertainment industry doesn't even exist in societies without property rights and rule of law. (How many Iranian movie stars are there?) Are these artists so stupid as to not know they've succeeded so lavishly because they're the ultimate beneficiaries of property rights doctrine?   


Copyright 2006, The Brevard Insider.


Additional recommended reading:


Doug Doudney has also had a fine, pithy Letter to the Editor published in the June 8, 2006, Orlando Sentinel, Orlando, Florida:


Property Rights and Development



June 8, 2006


By Doug Doudney

President, Coalition for Property Rights

Orlando, Florida

To submit a Letter to the Editor: [email protected]

Linda Chapin's June 1 letter to the editor, "Consider limitations," demands response. It decries a proposed development near Silver Springs.

I chafed at her reference to "rabid property-rights activists," but more so to the egregious display of lack of concern for fact.

Chapin creates impressions of development right next to the spring and untold pollution, runoff and contamination to this beautiful treasure.

The project is actually a half-mile away from Silver Springs, at closest.

The state already owns the spring and surrounding lands.

She demands laws to protect the spring from impacts of development. Well, great news: These laws already exist.

Under current law, developed land anywhere in Florida is much less likely to impact and contaminate neighboring lands and waters than does raw land.

Further, Marion County's "Springs Protection Policy" adds extra environmental protections to the area.

Better yet, the county Planning Department says the owner has voluntarily committed to exceed those standards, even though the land has been entitled since the 1970s.

The referenced offer to buy was laughably low for a vested tract that size.

If it's really so sensitive as to require preserving, the public (us) needs to offer more.

Few landowners will endure the pain and risk of developing if offered a truly fair price.

If property-rights advocates are to be considered "rabid," the only vaccination is to reinstate respect and protection of private property as the cornerstone of our system.

Until then, we all risk being bitten by today's rampant property-rights abuse.

Once infected, the only remedy is to join the ever-growing movement of those who understand our society depends on property as the right from which all other rights devolve.


Copyright 2006, Orlando Sentinel,0,3055221.story?coll=orl-opin-letters-headlines