| 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Two more issues of which you should be aware: First, California's land use planning is pathetically out of date.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.