Check out this Video!

February 19, 2009

Kurt Bouwhuis, Mackinac Center Intern

Eminent domain abuses continue to take place in the name of private development across the nation.  The short video shows “The Battle of Brooklyn” in New York where private property owners are at the mercy of a politically connected private developer.


Wetlands Case Highlights Fragility of Property Rights

January 29, 2009


Reed Hopper

After hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorneys fees and 14 years of court battles with no end in sight, Michigan’s John Rapanos finally gave up his fight to defend himself against accusations that he illegally filled wetlands on his private property in violation of the Clean Water Act.

Despite winning his case in the U.S. Supreme Court, Rapanos recently settled it with the federal government. He agreed to pay fines and mitigation fees approaching $1 million. Federal prosecutors immediately hailed the settlement as a vindication of their virtually limitless power to regulate local wetlands nationwide.

But this settlement only demonstrates the inability of individual citizens to stand up for their rights against the overwhelming resources of Big Government.

Read Full Article

Couple Told to Take Down Art

December 18, 2008

bildeKurt Bouwhuis, Mackinac Center Intern

Erica and Laurent Chappuis live in Grosse Point Park and are experiencing troubles with the local government.  They have displayed pieces of art outside their home until recently when local authorities declared their art a sign, requiring a permit.  Full story located here


November 18, 2008

Kurt Bouwhuis, Mackinac Center Intern

Recently, a move titled “Flow” has been released.  The message the movie carries is related to the worlds fresh water supply and how it is diminishing due to corporations taking it over.  There are many other underlying messages, all seeming to follow the same theme.  Russ Harding, Director of the Property Rights Network at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy is the former Director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).  Russ and many other experts voice their opinions in the following clip:

Low res :Nestle video
High res (additional content): Nestle video


Zoning Allows Busy-Bodies to be Tyrants

November 11, 2008

Kurt Bouwhuis, Mackinac Center Intern.

Havel Park City, Detroit – At the corner of I-75 and 9 Mile, there is a hotel raising concerns with some local residents.  The Hotel was condemned by the city in 2005, and put up for bids.  Keyesand Vance purchased the hotel and continued to run it.  When several small business loan packages failed to materialize, Keyes and Vance were forced to re-negotiate the terms of his contract, leaving it open to a potential buyer.  Sure enough, CVS Caremark purchased the hotel in 2008 because of its location. 

CVS plans to demolish the hotel and build a new 13,000 square foot pharmacy.  CVS is now working with the Hazel Park City to rezone the property to build a new pharmacy to open in 2010.  There are numerous citizens opposing the new pharmacy, stating “We don’t need a new drugstore but we do need close, affordable lodging for friends and relatives.”

This story disgusts me in more than one way.  First off, who owns the property?  The answer is CVS.  Why does anyone else have a say in what this property owner does with the property that he/she owns?  Well, technically it’s because of the rezoning process CVS is involved in.  If the property did not need to be rezoned, these “busy-bodies” would have no methods of influence besides purchasing the property themselves.

I am also curious as to how the citizens know that they need a hotel more than pharmacy?  If they truly know this, they need to round up the capital themselves and start their own hotel.  Here’s an example that should help illustrate my point.  Let’s suppose I purchase a nice car.  After a couple years, I lose my job and have to sell the car to make ends meet.  After selling it, however, I discover that the man who purchased my car is using it in a demolition derby!   Should I, or my friends, have the right to protest against the use of my old car?  What if I know the car could be put to better use?

Full article located here

Our water is our water, not state’s

November 11, 2008

Kurt Bouwhuis, Mackinac Center Intern

This is the title of a letter written by Robert Lagana regarding an amendment authored by State Sen. Liz Brater, a Democrat.  Sound scary? There’s more; this proposed “taking” of groundwater by the government of Michigan would have been the single largest confiscation of private property in state history, according to Russ Harding, the former director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and now the director of the Mackinac Center’s Property Rights Network.

The full letter is located here.

The little train that couldn’t

September 30, 2008

Kurt Bouwhuis, Mackinac Center Intern

Here is a sad story of a husband and wife who were forced to tear down their dream on their own piece of property.  The article link is located here.  (You may need to scroll down a bit to get to the article)