In next month’s primary election Californians will once again be asked whether or not they wish to actually have control over the property they (supposedly) own. The last time we were asked this question, (Prop 90 in 2006) the answer was resounding “maybe”. According to the Secretary of State Prop 90 failed, with 3,932,043 votes (47.6%) for the measure versus 4,324,722 votes (52.4%) against it. For those unfamiliar with Prop 90, or who forgot, here’s what it would have done according to the California Voter Guide–
- Barred state and local governments from condemning or damaging private property to promote other private projects or uses.
- Limited government’s authority to adopt certain land use, housing, consumer, environmental and workplace laws and regulations, except when necessary to preserve public health or safety.
- Voided unpublished eminent domain court decisions.
- Defined “just compensation.”
- Required that government must occupy condemned property or lease property for public use.
- Required that condemned private property must be offered for resale to prior owner or owner’s heir at current fair market value if government abandons condemnation’s objective.
- Exempted certain governmental actions
What was most upsetting to me about this loss of freedom was that The League of California Cities, an organization which is funded by taxpayer dollars through dues paid by cities to maintain memberships in the group, donated $4,085,000 to the “No on 90” campaign. In other words the government is using money it’s stolen from California’s property owners to fight a law that would help restore their rights in their own property. How sick is that?
This June there are two more initiatives on the California ballot, both of which aim to restore some property rights to people who have purchased real estate in California: Prop 98 and Prop 99-
- Bar state and local governments from condemning or damaging private property for private uses;
- Prohibit rent control and similar measures;
- Prohibit deference to government in property rights cases;
- Define “just compensation;”
- Require an award of attorneys fees and costs if a property owner obtains a judgment for more than the amount offered by the government; and
- Require government to offer to original owner of condemned property the right to repurchase property at condemned price when property is put to substantially different use than was publicly stated.
- Bars state and local governments from using eminent domain to acquire an owner-occupied residence, for conveyance to a private person or business entity.
- Creates exceptions for public work or improvement, public health and safety protection, and crime prevention.
I’m sure I’ll be writing more about the evils of eminent domain in the coming weeks as this election approaches, but I’d really like to hear from you, my readers. Whether you’re for or against, private property, eminent domain, or either of these initiatives I’d like to hear what you have to say….