Posts Tagged ‘Licking County Land Reutilization Corporation’

Extraordinary Measures

October 4, 2016

The 10-1-16 Newark Advocate ran a Gannett article entitled “Ohio cities target vacant houses, crime havens” by Adrian Burns. As if the association of vacant homes and crime insinuated by the headline weren’t enough, the first line of the article reads: “Murder. Theft. Drug use. Sexual Assault. Vandalism. Squatting.” Followed immediately by “These are the sorts of things that go on inside vacant and abandoned homes – and Ohio’s cities are home to an estimated 100,000 of them.” Analysis isn’t much interested in the “640 such vacant or abandoned homes in Newark” that the census found in 2010. Rather, Analysis would like to consider how the entire article would read if instead of “vacant homes” being associated by correlation with “Murder. Theft. Drug use. Sexual Assault. Vandalism. Squatting.” it was guns being associated by correlation with “Murder. Theft. Drug use. Sexual Assault. Vandalism. Squatting.” One could just as glibly say “Houses don’t kill people. People kill people” as “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” After all, guns and homes share one very important aspect in common – they both are considered private property in the eyes of the law, and can be addressed as such legally. The various municipalities, land banks and conservancies described in the article bend over backwards in their legal maneuvering to employ the extraordinary measures of ridding the community of this crime associated private property. How many guns sit unused in closets, drawers, basements, etc. (originally obtained for sport purposes, self defense, etc. but over time neglected due to lack of interest)? Could municipalities, county governments and the state do more, let alone take extraordinary measures to rid the community of this crime associated property? Why haven’t they? The reluctance on the part of elected officials to do anything, let alone take extraordinary measures to deal with such private property, lies primarily with the exception made for this property as a right within the US Constitution. Something NOT given as a right within the US Constitution would be what Analysis has often referred to as “the right to look”. Though not given as a right, the “looking” aspect (through various audio/video recording devices) has created a correlation association of guns with “Murder. Theft. Drug use. Sexual Assault. Vandalism. Squatting.” Not only that, but with those held in the public trust to protect and keep that very public from “Murder. Theft. Drug use. Sexual Assault. Vandalism. Squatting.” Al Jazeera reports “NY man who filmed Eric Garner’s death heading to jail. Ramsey Orta took plea deal on unrelated charges but says police harassed him after filming officers killing his friend.” (Anealla Safdar, 10-2-16). “Garner, a father of six, was selling loose cigarettes in Staten Island, New York, when officers tackled him. His case was ruled as a homicide, meaning that his death was caused by human beings, but [NYPD officer Daniel] Pantaleo was not indicted.” A grand jury decided not to indict the police officers involved (including Pantaleo). “After filming Garner’s death, they [Orta’s lawyers] claim, he was increasingly harassed and targeted by police and was arrested at least eight times in fewer than two years.” Analysis finds these lines from the end of the article to be especially pertinent in light of the recent Midland Theatre reasoning re: Michael Moore’s presence in Newark – “In August, filmmaker David Sutcliffe wrote an open letter in favour of the “right to record”, which was signed by more than 100 documentarians, including Asif Kapadia, Laura Poitras and Nick Broomfield. “Armed only with camera phones, citizen journalists have shattered America’s myth of racial equality,” the letter said. “Instead of garnering Pulitzers and Peabodys, they have been targeted, harassed and arrested by members of the very institution whose abuses they seek to expose.”” In regards to exposure (of what is not to be seen) Robert Higgs, writing for Cleveland.com (Ohio Supreme Court considers lifting secrecy that shrouds grand jury process 9-29-16) reports: “The proposed rule changes would allow members of the public to petition for release of the proceedings in cases where the grand jury, a system enshrined in both the U.S. Constitution and Ohio Constitution, chooses not to indict.” Not exactly a right to look, but an extraordinary measure in the right direction.

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By Any Other Name Would Smell The Same

February 25, 2016

Transparency International puts out a yearly Corruption Perception Index ranking the least to most corrupt countries in the world. Last year’s index (2015) covered 168 countries and found Denmark, followed by Finland to be the number 1 and 2 least corrupt countries. Somalia and North Korea were tied for most corrupt, followed by Afghanistan. The US was ranked at number 16 least corrupt (we’re not number one, not even in the top 10). Analysis ponders how such determinations can be made. There are no separate bank teller windows marked “Bribes, Kickbacks and Extortion: Payments and Withdrawals”. In all these countries, government officials (as well as un-officials) will simply say “Well, that’s the way it is done around here.” Obviously corruption must be determined through analysis – careful study of theory (the articulated framework of governance, like representative democracy, monarchy, war lord, etc.) and practice (verifiable evidence of what is done and how). Recently the Newark Advocate (2-23-16) presented a staff written, self-congratulating public service article (“Govdeals sales reach $1 million for county”). Of note would be the theory that, in a self-governing democracy, the trust of those governed should be confirmed by the government’s practice. The practice is the sale of government acquisitions openly to the highest bidder (“sales of unneeded, obsolete, surplus or confiscated property”…” through the online auction site”). These acquisitions are said to include “computers, automobiles, office equipment, jewelry, coins, telephones and other items”, also known as chattel. Analysis finds little need by government for “jewelry, coins, … and other items” except for law enforcement sting operations…? The government must have acquired these (“unneeded, obsolete, surplus or confiscated property”) through various and sundry means. Only a few days prior, one of these means was reported on by the very same newspaper. Again, in a self-laudatory piece (“Land bank to eliminate Second Street eyesore’ by Kent Mallett, 2-18-16), the government, consisting of the “Licking County Land Reutilization Corporation”, completed the acquisition of one property from a projected many throughout the county, also known as real property. The one (“the former lodge at 87 S. Second St.”) is to be disposed of by sale (“for $100”) to “Gutridge Plumbing”, which incidentally also happens to have “purchased area properties and removed homes in poor condition on Spencer and First streets.” When it comes to chattel, Licking County government seems only too eager to confirm the public trust through open sale. With real property, something else is preferred. Real property distinguishes itself from chattel according to Anglo Saxon legal heritage, which predates the US Constitution and is incorporated within. It is one of the foundations and fundamentals of power. The US Constitution affirmed this basis of power by granting real property holders equal legislative power to that of the voting demos, a senate to counter a house of representatives. Ditto is found with state government in Ohio. “Possession is nine tenths of the law” may be a cliché except that county government is deeply implicated in maintaining this, proving and verifying real property as opposed to chattel (through recorder, auditor, assessor, engineer, etc. and the laws mandating it). The transference of real property is a transference of power. Unlike the sale of chattel (“through the online auction”), the non-conforming “sale” of real property by “The County Land Bank board [which] includes [County Commissioner Tim] Bubb, [Newark Mayor Jeff] Hall, County Commissioner Duane Flowers, Licking Township Trustee Joe Hart and Licking County Treasurer Olivia Parkinson” to someone who has previously “purchased area properties and removed homes in poor condition on Spencer and First streets” is actually an arbitrary transference of power, by fiat, without public regard (not an open sale). “Well, that’s the way it is done around here.”