From: Don Evanson
Now there are two restorative justice movements in Winona County.
The most recently initiated movement is occurring at the Planning Commission level, hopefully to be supported by the County Board, after its public hearing on the issue at its meeting this Tuesday, November 5.
For decades, there has been a war on property waged nationally by progressives and liberals, heavily augmented by the special interests of planning professionals, who promote regulations that deprive citizens of the use of their property. I can offer a video, wherein an officer of the American Planning Association openly laments that elected officials are involved with planning decisions. This notion that the aesthetic and/or preservationist values of individuals - or even a tyranny of the majority, if an idea has majority support - can trump individual rights of property, whether it be cash, personal property, or real estate is a horrific injustice. The absolute pursuit of justice is what motivated Abraham Lincoln throughout his law and political career. That pursuit drove him from law to politics. Lincoln had this to say about justice and property. “Property is the fruit of labor-property is desirable - is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich, shows that others may be come rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is homeless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own will be safe from violence when built.”
Despite concerns of social justice and regulatory proponents, there has been no justice found in Winona County regulations that have been enacted to prevent citizens from expanding upon the fruits of their previous labors, whether those labors had been expended in developing a home, farmstead, or other business. Presently, one outrageous regulation can even serve to prohibit people from rebuilding what they already had, but that was substantially harmed or destroyed by a catastrophe. There are nuisance statutes that exist to resolve instances of someone transgressing upon the rights of others. The heavy hand of regulation should not be used to inversely condemn property values and limit what one might want to do to improve what they had started in good faith. (The proposed relaxing zoning changes are applicable only to existing structures, and vacant land is still fully regulated. This point seems to be lost on many people.) A hearty thank you to Commissioner Steve Jacob, who was motivated by a grievance deriving from his personal experience to seek to get into elected office, as so many potential candidates are, then to successfully campaign. Following his election, he was true to his campaign promises and has successfully worked to secure the support of the Planning Commission. Hopefully, now at least the majority of the County Board will support Commissioner Jacob and the Planning Commission to derive a resolution of his grievances that are also grievances for most rural property owners of the county.
Please attend the public hearing at the County Board this Tuesday to support Planning Commission recommendations that will serve to restore justice. If you are unable to attend, or don’t want to use the microphone for your allotted two minutes, please submit something in writing for the record. It need not be formal, and it can be brief.