Northwest NEWS

October 19, 1998


Perhaps it is 'our' property now

   I am so happy that I decided to clearcut my property last year, thus economically protecting my home from potential disaster before the five tree limit went into effect. It saved me a ton of hassle, cost and fear. I was one of the lucky ones to have exercised his freedoms before they were removed, one small piece at a time. Notice how they never seem to come back?
   When homesteaders first came here, they held alodial title to the land, i.e., total ownership in perpetuity. Under the constitution, not even a 'king' could trespass on your sacred property, and it would be there for your children's children's children to enjoy - a true incentive to preserve its value and usefulness.
   Now we hold fee simple title, a term devised in feudal times for a serf's tenancy. With today's inheritance taxes designed to wrest it from our name at death, it's not likely we will have the vision of our fathers for our land.
   We are taxed for ownership of something we don't even control. The water, minerals, airspace, building size, shape, materials, design, landscape, drain field, parking, utilities and business use of our property are all under the control of fictitious legal entities that tax us for the privilege of existing in that space. Even for the frivolous excuse of more trees in a state buried in wood, our rights can be taken because the public allows it and our elected officials are not controlled by a conscience that comes from a clear understanding of where our rights and our land came from.
   Where is the compensation for the loss of my ability to use my property as I see fit? When did I grant jurisdiction of my backyard to the city? Perhaps it isn't even my property any more. Perhaps it is our property now - beautiful, prosperous, planned, bustling, profitable, taxed and regulated to a state of perfect peace - not unlike that which Marsha will have under her tombstone around the time when Woodinville is again considered 'old growth.'
   Sanford Staab, Woodinville