In the 1950s, Dorothy English and her husband bought twenty acres near Portland, Oregon. An investment in their future and their childrenâ€™s future.
But in 1973, the family was shanghaied by draconian land-use regulations that stopped them from subdividing their property. Eventually Mrs. Englishâ€™s lawyer counted 61 separate regulations hog-tying her property rights.
Dorothy English fought back.
In 2000, she championed a constitutional amendment to end regulatory takings abuse. The measure passed . . . but was struck down by judges who think itâ€™s unconstitutional to prevent people from being robbed by government.
Then, in 2004, Mrs. English helped pass Measure 37, which orders compensation for victims of regulatory takings. Measure 37 survived challenge. Under its terms, Multnomah County had to waive the regulations on Mrs. Englishâ€™s land or pay damages exceeding a million dollars.
By now Dorothy was in her 90s. The county knew that if she died before her case was settled, it could avoid paying her the judgment.
The county did run out the clock. The valiant lady has just passed away. Moreover, last year a deceptive ballot measure passed in Oregon that rolled back much of Measure 37.
Dorothy English died without finally regaining the rights to her own property. But she did win a legacy. Many will benefit because she refused to give up. Ever.
This is Common Sense. Iâ€™m Paul Jacob.