Fighting Eminent Domain Abuse [Updated]

On May 3, 2008, in General, by Neil Stevens

The fight continues to protect Californians from the abuses of civil liberties authorized by the Supreme Court in Kelo v. New London. Proponents of our civil rights against theft of property have placed on the June ballot Proposition 98. Unlike the last Proposition 98, which began our disastrous budget problems by placing hard lower limits on school spending growth, this one is from the good guys. The new Proposition 98 is a proposed state Constitutional amendment that would place sweeping restrictions on eminent domain abuse statewide, and ensure that “just compensation” is provided even when the takings occur.

However, the forces of big government are not quick to give up. Corrupt city and county governments have in turn put on the ballot Proposition 99, another proposed amendment. Masquerading as an anti-eminent domain law, Proposition 99 would not even have helped in the Kelo case, so narrow are the limits on government set.

As could probably be predicted, I support Proposition 98. I think it’s just the kind of amendment that a state like California needs to pass, revolutionizing the way we look at property rights, much as Proposition 13 shocked the nation with our controlling of property taxes. In fact, there’s a way of looking at Proposition 98 as a successor to Proposition 13.

So of course, big government and big spending types statewide are strongly against it, led by the girly man himself, Governor Schwarzenegger. Given a chance to take a stand on for freedom, he backs down.

As an aside, let this be a reminder that being pro-abortion does not make one a ‘libertarian’ Republican.

Add enough well-funded elements against a ballot measure with a good chance of passing, such is the case with Proposition 98, and a particular tactic has grown common: Get another, deceptively similar measure on the ballot, muddy the waters, and hope for the best. That’s the plan with Proposition 99. Proposition 99 limits eminent domain only for a “primary residence,” but adds a laundry list of exceptions to even that narrow limitation. It lacks any broad recognition of property rights, a firm definition of just compensation, and for freedom lovers is no substitute for Proposition 98.

So for my vote, I recommend support for Proposition 98, and opposition to Proposition 99. Strike down big government, tell the Supreme Court who’s boss, and make California safe to own property again.

Update: Upon looking up the text of Proposition 98, it has come to my attention that the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is responsible for the amendment. The group is of course best known for Proposition 13, meaning 98 is more of a successor to 13 than I even imagined when I wrote the above!


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