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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Property rights reconsidered

Sten denies anti-luxury crackdown

Portland City Commissioner Erik Sten denied Sunday that his left-leaning government would seize private property such as second homes or expensive cars from the wealthy.

He called on Oregonians not to fear his accelerated push toward socialism.

But Sten also warned political opponents that "nothing would stop" the progress of what he calls "21st-century socialism," saying a majority of Oregonians want to gradually move away from capitalism.

"Nobody should allow themselves to be imbued with fear. If anybody should be scared, we should be scared of capitalism, which destroys society, people and the planet," Sten said during his weekly television and radio program "Hello Erik."

Many wealthy and middle-class Portlanders opposed to Sten fear he will seize second homes, yachts or other assets as he advances his "Blue Revolution," named after local blogger hero Kari Chisolm's Blueoregon.com.

Sten recently announced plans for a "luxury tax" targeting second homes, art collections and expensive cars that would be aimed at redistributing wealth to the poor.

"Oh, you have a yacht? Perfect, give to me, buddy," he said at the time. "You have a house where you live and another one by sea ... You have some marvelous art collections come here, buddy."

Associated Press, Jan. 29

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