City of Oakland blight regulations violate our Constitution


To the Editor:

Your recent story, "Nobody's Home," (The Oakland Tribune, 14 November 2008) reveals a very heavy-handed and probably unconstitutional City of Oakland proposal to create new headaches for the owners of vacant properties within city limits.

Council member Desley Brooks wants to force owners of vacant properties to register with the city. Her proposed annual registration fees would increase in future years if the properties remained vacant. Property owners who refused to knuckle under to this new city edict could eventually face administrative penalties up to $5,000 and civil penalties up to $350,000. The power to tax is the power to destroy.

Perhaps the City Council members, the Mayor and the City Attorney should take some time out and read our Constitution, our Bill of Rights, our Declaration of Independence and maybe also peruse the Federalist Papers. It seems to me that the City of Oakland is ignoring our constitutional rights, our civil liberties and the requirement of due process with their so-called blight regulations and administrative rules. We residents and owners are presumed guilty by these blight rules. We have to prove our innocence under this inquisitorial system of justice. This is wrong. Oakland laws need to respect our Constitution.

20 November 2008.





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