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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

"No" on 90

People are sneaky.

Case in point: Proposition 90.

We all oppose the use of eminent domain to take property from one person and give it to another. That's what the proponents are counting on.

They are also counting on us to overlook the OTHER provisions in Proposition 90, which would declare that taxpayers -- that's you and I -- must compensate a property owner whenever any "government actions" -- except actions to protect "public health and safety" -- "result in substantial economic loss to private property." (You'll find this in Section 3 of Proposition 90, which would add Section 19(b)(8) of the California Constitution.)

To see what a fiscal nightmare this would be, especially since the City Clowncil would have the power to spend your money to settle lawsuits filed by property owners (aka their campaign contributors), consider the following hypotheticals:

Hypothetical No. 1.
Janice Hahn, et al., succeed in imposing a "living wage" law that applies only to hotels located near the airport. Result? The governmental action, which involves neither public health nor safety, drives down the value of those properties by driving up the price of labor there. Guess who gets to pay for the diminution in property value under Proposition 90?

Hypothetical No. 2.
As a result of massive government subsidies and tax breaks the City gives to select developers for their downtown properties (e.g., the 20-year tax "holiday" for the hotel to be built by the Convention Center), other hotel properties decline in value. After all, the other hotel properties are more costly to operate, and therefore not worth as much as they were. Who will foot the bill for the resulting economic damage to those hotels? Hint: you can see him or her in your nearest mirror.

Hypothetical No. 3.
As a result of new subway lines opening up, existing retail businesses -- especially gas stations -- are no longer as valuable as they once were, because the government action has diverted traffic away from those properties. Guess who gets to make up for the lost profits? That's right: you and I do!

What makes these scenarios particularly frightening is the potential for abuse by the Clowncil. They already do enough damage to our wallets by passing insane laws and giving our money to their millionaire special interest contributors. Can you imagine how much MORE tax money they will give away to settle lawsuits their contributors file for compensation under Prop 90? They would spend enough for the remaining three members of the middle class still living here to say "adios!"

So I say vote "no" on Proposition 90, and, instead, enact separate legislation -- or just elect better people -- to prevent the government from using eminent domain to take property from one person and give it to another.

To read the actual text of Proposition 90 itself -- which is what I read -- rather than someone's "spin" thereon, go to the following URL and scroll to page 7 / page 187: http://www.ss.ca.gov/elections/vig_06/general_06/pdf/proposition_90/entire_prop90.pdf

The picture? It's from a movie called "Take The Money And Run," which Woody Allen made back when he was funny -- hilarious, in fact.


Anonymous Anonymous said:

Thank you, Walter, for taking a No to Prop 90 position. Gail Goldberg, Head of Los Angeles City Planning agrees with you and so do I.

And thank you, Zuma Dogg, for realizing your original position might need revision.

Elaine Brown

October 25, 2006 11:55 PM  

Blogger Mitch Glaser said:

Thanks for taking a position against Prop. 90. If approved, the results would be disastrous for everyone in California.

October 26, 2006 7:57 AM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

No need to thank me, although I appreciate it.

I just call 'em like I see 'em.

Having been involved on behalf of property owners in eminent domain cases, I know first-hand how abusive the government can be, so I do have some sympathy for the proponents. Here's the kind of situation they often face:

You spend millions to buy a piece of land, and a city, rather than paying you fair market value to take your land, starts down-zoning it BEFORE taking it, so the city can claim your land wasn't even worth what you paid for it. Only after "ripping you off" do they then condemn your land. That practice definitely needs to stop. "Just compensation" means "FAIR compensation.

The problem with 90, however, is that it's worded so broadly that everyone adversely affected by every new regulation could file a shiny new lawsuit.

October 26, 2006 8:53 AM  

Blogger Zuma Dogg said:

yeah, yeah...excellent journalism walter. this is the kinda story i needed to send to some people who are falling for the trap on Prop. 90. The thing on this one, is a lot of people who I respect and would expect to say "yes" on ANYTHING eminant domain related, were surprisingly saying "no on 90". Now, I can at least send this story to my friends who are gonna hate me for a "no on 90" position, but oh well...you can never please everyone, all at the same time.

Plus, one more thing someone told me about 90: If a property owner wants to build something like a new condo, and the project is denied by the City, the property owner can sue for damages for preventing the income. YIKES!

And someone else told me a REAL ED measure will show up on the next State election. (If there's any land left to protect by then.)

October 26, 2006 1:37 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Walter, the descriptive words for developers who take a risk by buying land is known as land speculation. Nothing more; nothing less.

There should be no sympathy for the developers in LA. They buy the land, grease the palms, apply for up-zoning, exceptions, conditional use permits, variances, and because of the pro-development appointees of the area planning commissions, they almost never lose.

The communities are the ones who lose not the speculators.

October 29, 2006 1:43 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Gail Goldberg says loudly and clearly that developers are speculators, and she does not care if they take risks and lose.

Me, either.

Unfortunately, in Los Angeles everything is stacked for the developer.

The process takes longer in Los Angeles than adjoining citys, but they are always approved.

October 29, 2006 1:47 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

This information should stay on this blogspot until the election. Why not open a new thread, Walter?

I would if I could!

October 30, 2006 12:27 AM  

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