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Prop 90: A Battle we MUST Win

by: Brian Leubitz

Mon Oct 30, 2006 at 11:09:53 AM PST

There are a few propositions that have been so seriously damaging to governance in California, that is exceedingly important to defeat them.  We have failed on some of these, with disastrous consequences.  For evidence, look no further than Prop 13.  Prop 90 is a stealth assault no just against land use regulation, but against all economic regulation in the state.  I'll try not to get too lawyer-like, but feel free to ask questions in the comments.

Do I exaggerate? I don't think so. Prop 90 is not strictly limited land use, but is broadly defined to require compensation  for any damage to "real property". The full text can be found here. Could this be defined strictly as to include only land? yeah, it could.  However, real property could be defined to include stuff, or to include businesses.  If interpreted in this manner, we will never again have legislation such as minimum wage increases, etc.

But even given a tighter interpretation, there are serious flaws in Prop 90's general premise.  Again, the law is unclear, but it applies to any regulations that "damage" real property. There is a grandfather clause for previous laws, and proponents argue that anything done to further purposes of past laws are exempt.  However, doesn't that really beg a question of fact that will require judicial intervention? What furthers the purpose, and what goes too far? 

Who are the winners of this? Well, lawyers, but beyond that, developers.  Agencies do not have the resources to fight every battle. They will have to settle at some point. What has happened in Oregon with the similar Measure 37 (which they now hate),  is that the state agencies end up waiving the application of the law. It is not clear that California can do that, so will we end up in court every time? Or will the vigilance of  agencies just rapidly decline. Do we really want either?

But the issue for which there is no question: No further environmental legislation taht affects land could be passed.  No more progressive environmental agenda. Gone, not in California. We will lose our position as a world leader in confronting environmental issues.

Two more issues of which  you should be aware: First, California's land use planning is pathetically out of date. Unless all of those plans are updated in the next week, we will be stuck with these planning schemes. Forever. A suburb grows in a former agricultural area? Too bad for you if your neighbor decides to build a cow feed lot next door.  The municipality will have no power to stop it. Zoning will be dead.

Finally, Prop 90 would defeat the purpose of Don Perata's infrastructure bonds that the Governor is supporting.  The valuation scheme under Prop 90 would make building new roads ridiculously expensive.  The new pricing scheme would require the state to include the value of the improvements upon the land in the price the government will pay. In other words, our money will go to the pockets of land speculators, not into building roads.  Arnold Schwarzenegger, are you listening?

If you support infrastructure improvements, including the Perata bonds, then you must also oppose Prop 90. It will devastate our land-use planning and leave us with third world infrastructure.  This is not a plan for economic growth; it is a recipe for disaster. Reject Prop 90, the Trojan Horse for Developers.

Brian Leubitz :: Prop 90: A Battle we MUST Win
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Prop. 90 (0.00 / 0)
57 newspapers across California from Eureka to San Diego have come out against Prop. 90. Only four newspapers I know of have come out in favor of Prop. 90. Even the California Taxpayers Association has come out against it. However is it possible that the propostion may get the nod on Election Day as it has not gotten much attention from the media and it may come in under the radar in that voters will thinks that its just about saving grandma's house from eminant domain? The oil and tobacco companies have bought up so much TV ad time since the beginning of the month that its been difficult for any of the other propositions to get on TV with their ads. I have also not seen any polls on Prop. 90 since the initial Field Poll back in July except for the Datamar poll which I agree has questionable methodology. However, even in that poll, Prop. 90 lost ground from the first Datamare poll, with the "Yes" vote going from 61 percent to 56 percent and the "No" vote going from 24 percent to 30 percent. So maybe the public is becoming aware of this initiative.

A bunch of (lame) endorsements (0.00 / 0)
Somebody put this piece of @#$% (pdf) on my windshield while my car was parked at church yesterday. It is a "Family Values Voter Guide." (who knew that "oppposes laws requiring licensing of registration of guns" and "opposes amnesty plan for illegal immigrants" were family values--even in the warped GOP definition??) Anyway, they show 90 endorsed by almost all of their "preferred" organizations:

California Republican Assembly
Christian Examiner
Concerned Taxpayers of San Diego Co.
Republican Party of San Diego Co.
San Diego County Libertarian Party
San Diego County Taxpayers Association
Southern Californians for Life
Traditional Values Coalition

Yeah, don't ask me what business "Southern Californians for Life" has taking a position on 90. And no, I don't personally put any stock in any of these organizations' endorsements. But I'm just saying, if this flyer was any indication, the "buzz" in the love-the-blastocyst/hate-the-homos community seems like it is heavily in favor of 90. Between that, and uninformed people who vote just on the "eminent domain" title, we could be in big trouble??

I'd LOVE to see some polls on this.

[ Parent ]
I agree completely (0.00 / 0)
Thank you for keeping the ball rolling on Prop 90. Most folks are not aware of how Howie Rich and his small circle of government-haters are using Kelo and other excuses as smokescreens to trick voters into dismantling land use and environmental regulations.  If California is experiencing problems with our own state's eminent domain process (not Connecticut's), Californians themselves should define and fix those problems instead of letting out-of-state whackos tell us what to do. And we don't need to rip the rest of our environmental management strategies to shreds in the process. I believe Prop 90 should be treated like an emergency. I'm grateful you have put a spotlight on it.

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