Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Another Day, Another Damn Election

Earthquakes? No big deal. Fire, flood, mudslide, tsunami--whatever. The most terrifying threat in California is something else entierely--something man-made.

I'm talking about elections.

Yeah, it's another goddamn election day. Seems like we had one just last week, but apparently that wasn't enough. We're just gluttons for punishment.

The worst thing on the ballot is Proposition 98, another power grab by the property-rights fundamentalists disguised (of course) as 'eminent domain' reform. More... (Yes, we've seen this movie before.) The summary version:

  • Bars state and local governments from taking or damaging private property for private uses.

  • Prohibits rent control and similar measures.

  • Prohibits deference to government in takings cases.

  • Defines “just compensation.”

  • Requires an award of attorneys fees and costs if a property owner obtains a judgment for more than the amount offered by the government.

  • Requires 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.
Once again, eminent domain is the cover for a full-scale assault on land-use regulation. And you did notice that bit about rent control, right?

Fortunately, it's behind in the polls. Let's make sure it goes down to flaming ignominious defeat, folks.

Also on the ballot is Proposition 99, which would limit the use of eminent domain without eviscerating land use regulation in general. Arguably unnecessary in itself, the best reason to vote for it is that it might head off more Prop 98/Prop 90 type measures down the line.

For other measures, here's a voter guide from Shystee. If you've got anything about any of the ballot measures (state or local Bay Area), link to it in comments and I'll add yours to this post.