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Play On!

Louis Roney

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Your home is where you and what's-her-name enjoy the life you work for, and maybe have fought for. Your dwelling may be safe from weather and harm, but unseen villains may be scheming to rob you of the real estate that comprises your own little "castle."

If you make a deal to sell home and hearth, you have no gripe. But, if someone whose offer you turn down decides to take your property through eminent domain, look out!

Eminent domain seems to sanction anything from simple purchases to apparent highway robbery. A helpful gimmick to "takers" is to show politicians that tax income from your property after its sale will far exceed what you have been paying in tax revenue.

Fair? — No!

But it didn't take JFK's truism to educate us that "life is not fair."

Carol Saviak is a special heroine of mine. She's a lady on the look-out. She heads up the 9-year-old Coalition for Property Rights (CPR), whose raison-d'etre, among other things, is to keep others from unfairly making off with your rightful stuff.

Carol is not on the side of any personalities involved — she's on the side of law and order. With her around, you are more likely to get a fair shake in any property disputes.

A Florida state constitutional amendment (in 2006), jollied along by Carol and constituents, puts Florida among the top states in strengthening eminent domain.

People here in Florida can sleep better thanks to Carol and her cohorts. CPR offers property owners advice, stature and (increasing) clout in protecting real estate from lawless encroachment.

As a 501(c)(3) educational organization, CPR has no salaried attorneys on its staff, but stands ready to provide referrals from a list of competent legal counselors.

Carol tells us that politicians who openly ally themselves with the aims of CPR report favorable polling response from constituents. When Carol Saviak is arguing her points before the Florida Legislature, her opposition usually comes from the Florida League of Cities and/or the Florida Association of Counties — both of which are paid for by your tax dollars! Carol says that any transaction where government hankers to acquire property always deserves close scrutiny. She believes that the very fact that CPR is "on the scene" alerts those planning to take property to mind their Ps and Qs.

Saviak's business day may contain a variety of different events ranging from phone calls from Florida property owners to answering calls from all around the country, giving public speeches where she answers open questions, voluminous e-mail correspondence, and "just the logistics of running a non-profit organization."

Carol also writes a free weekly e-mail newsletter discussing all types of property-rights issues. Florida state legislators receive her letters weekly.

"In defense of property owners," she says, "we try to posture ourselves aggressively."

CPR speaks bluntly to legislators and others concerned with individuals' property rights.

"We let people know that CPR is watching and ready to step in and help, when their rights are being abused."