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Yes on 99, if you're in favor of governmental control and property confiscation

Original post made by Kevin on May 27, 2008

Confused about Prop 98 and 99? Well of course you are, and that's intentional. Most of what you hear is designed to take your attention away from the real purpose these propositions were intended to address.
The US Supreme Court, in Kelo vs. City of New London, held that government may use eminent domain to take property from its owner for the purpose of transferring it to a private developer. This decision skewed the Constitution's original wording of "public use" to one of public benefit. "Public use" originally meant the direct use of property by a government agency for the purpose of transportation, utilities, or facilities. Now, it has been redefined as public benefit, where the government benefits if it can realize increased tax receipts by taking property and transferring it to an entity that can generate greater tax income. The supposed intent of each Proposition is to protect private property owners from this glaring redefinition of the US Constitution.
However, Prop 99 does not provide this protection. Prop 99 is worded to ONLY prohibit government from taking "owner occupied" homes. No mention of business property, rental property of any type (including detached homes, apartments, condos, or trailer homes), or even farm and ranch property. It doesn't even protect those "owner occupied" homes if the owner has occupied it for less than 12 months. An analysis by the Institute for Justice, (a non-profit public interest law firm out of Arlington, VA that litigated against expanding eminent domain in the Kelo case) states Prop 99 would provide insubstantial protection against abuse of eminent domain for private commercial development. The State of California's non-partisan Legislative Analyst's Office says that Prop 99 "is not likely to significantly alter current government land acquisition practices."
Opponents of Prop 98 state it is a deceptive plan to force people out of their rent controlled apartments or trailer homes. This is a distraction based on emotional fear. In fact, Prop 98 states that any statute or ordinance that limits the price an owner may charge a tenant may remain in effect as long as at least one of the tenants continues to occupy the space as his or her principal place of residence. Would it be ironic, or just plain sad, for those in rent controlled apartments or trailer homes to vote against Prop 98 then have their residence taken because it was not "owner occupied" and thus not protected by Prop 99? Only Prop 98 addresses the main issue of taking private property, of any type, unlike the narrowly defined conditions for property found in Prop 99.
So who stands to benefit, given the passage of one over the other. Opponents of Prop 98 lump supporters into the categories of either Apartment Owner Interests or Mobile Home Park Interests, all otherwise known as Wealthy Landlords (how the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association can be labeled an "Apartment Owner Interest" is bewildering). These "Interests" are portrayed as greedy and evil. I don't think I can completely attribute nefarious motivations to someone who wants to protect his or her property from being taken by the government.
Backers of Prop 99 include elected government officials (Feinstein, Pelosi, Schwarzenegger), government agencies, environmental groups, labor and development groups. It was authored by the League of California Cities. These groups benefit immensely with greater ease in taking private property. The Livermore City council endorsed the Kilo decision after it came out. They now back Prop 99. Don't you think they are in favor of making it easier to take private property?
So if you fall for sappy, emotional advertising and are in favor of greater governmental control and confiscation of property, then it looks like Prop 99 is for you.
If you are for stopping governmental encroachment on your private property rights then vote Yes on Prop 98.

Comments (3)

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 27, 2008 at 5:10 pm

Well, exactly. No on BOTH!


Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 27, 2008 at 9:24 pm

If you are confused, you should be! Prop 98 and prop 99 are both SPECIAL INTEREST scams that take a real issue that should be solved by legislative bodies, and attempt to create laws favorable to the special interests who created them using feel-good, sound-bite concepts that are promoted to the public. After you have now read and heard the propaganda from both sides, do you really know what you would be voting for? What about the 'law of unintended consequences' that will inevitably result if either is passed?

I bet many of you now feel you must choose one over the other. Why? Because the issues compete with each other and therefore the problem supposedly needs to be decided by an electorate who can't possibly have the time in the day to understand the nuances of each proposition? How about simply voting NO on both! Send the issue to the legislature to solve. That's their JOB! It's about time we get our representatives to work for us, not just themselves.


Posted by DCM, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 30, 2008 at 11:09 pm

Eminant domain has gone insane. Just look at South lake Tahoe. Sure, its prettier than it was and all that means is more money for CA, Marriott & Embassy Suites. Who cares about thsoe that owned and ran motels, gift shop and what have you...remeber, its more luxurious these days and that brings more tourism dollars and that's all that matters.


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