Readers respond to the columns in the March and February issues.

Traversing the Law
Future Perspectives
March 2005

In his March 2005 article "Rewriting the BLM manual," Jeffery Lucas states that "A check of our Constitution reveals that there is no constitutional right to own property"¦" and ""¦ nowhere in the Constitution are you given the right to own property." The purpose of the Constitution is to spell out the rights vested in the government by the people, not to give rights to the people from the government. The Constitution cannot grant rights of any sort. It can only recognize rights that exist independently. Should we fall into the trap of thinking that the Constitution grants or creates certain rights, then we can be conned into thinking that our rights may be taken away by amending the Constitution. The abuse of eminent domain is on the rise and I believe this is, in part, the result of our ignorance of the Founding Fathers' beliefs and the documents they created. The right to own property predates the Constitution, is independent of the Constitution and is inalienable.

Also, Matthew Mitchell in "Professionalism (or the lack thereof) in surveying" stated his opinion that ""¦ a good starting point would be to rid the profession of every surveyor who doesn't feel that a formal education is necessary for surveyors." My one complaint with the degreed surveyors I have met is this: they are too willing to shoot the four corners of the section, calculate a section breakdown and start setting 40 corners without regard to long established monuments at these corners. A section breakdown is a form of prorating and, as such, should be used as a last resort and only when evidence is not available. These interior corners may have been set when the original exterior monuments were still in place. Concerning Mr. Mitchell's idea of increasing market value by decreasing the supply of surveyors: this is already happening and has been for quite some time. In Missouri, the number of new registrants has gotten so low that wages are going up. I believe this will only be a short-lived spike, though. I am afraid that once the number of surveyors is decreased to a certain point, they (whoever "they" are) will decide that civil engineers can survey, and surveying will no longer be a separate profession.

Monnie Sears, LS

Editor's Points
March 2005

I was pleased to see that you support Habitat for Humanity. I retired in 1994 and joined Habitat for Humanity of Cambria County in Johnstown, Pa. They were just starting their first home. I am a registered surveyor and also a PE. With the help of a friend (also a retired PE) I do all of the survey work for Habitat here in Johnstown at no cost to them. We do property surveys and boundary retracements. I limit my survey work to just Habitat projects.

My survey equipment is old by some standards: a Geotec TH-20 theodolite, a 300-ft steel tape and a telescopic rod. I wonder if any of your advertisers would be interested in donating new, used or sample surveying equipment to Habitat. I am looking for an EDM, prism and pole. Of course, Habitat will [take] anything from PK nails to a total station.

Bill Gallus

Traversing the Law
February 2005

Every article that is published each month in POB is great. Every now and then, however, an article or series will be published that really stands out to me. This is true for the column "Traversing the Law" by Jeffery N. Lucas, PLS, Esq. I like how he writes. Any professional could easily write up an article of information. The trick is to write it so that a wide variety of people who come from other fields can easily understand it. In the February issue of POB, Mr. Lucas did a great job of outlining a classic situation that a surveyor might face with the dilemma of uncovering lost monuments.

Putting together the information that is required for an article in POB can be very time-consuming, especially when it's required month after month. Still, any issue of POB that has the feature "Traversing the Law" in it will not be spending a lot of time sitting on my desk or coffee table.

Bob Baudendistel