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View Full Version : Californians who care about property rights - vote yes on Prop 98, no on Prop 99


Red Dog
05-13-08, 06:28 PM
I don't live in the California, but I'd figure I'd perform a public service and post about the dispicable manner in which CA local governments are trying to subvert the drive for real private property rights in California (mainly in response the abomination that was the Kelo SCt decision) by offering a deceptive California eminent domain "reform" initiative that purports to protect property rights against takings but actually undermines them. The vote on this is June 3.

Long story short, make sure you vote yes on 98 and either no or no-vote on 99. Don't be fooled by the language of 99. 98 offers the real protection - it would block Kelo-type takings. 99 would not. 99 not only offers no real protection but if they both pass, 99's provisions would invalidate 98's.

For more background:
http://www.volokh.com/archives/archive_2008_05_11-2008_05_17.shtml#1210707728
http://sandefur.typepad.com/freespace/2008/05/the-deep-dishon.html
http://www.yesprop98.com/modules/article/list/release.php?id=x1wtqlmjk3kkmo&done=index.php%3Fpi%3Dwynxt75z3fkz7h%26chunkSize%3D10%26search%3D%26chunkNum%3D0&pi=wynxt75z3fkz7h&_adctlid=v%7Cwynx8c5jjesxsb%7Cx1yxts2cddcfhl


http://www.ocregister.com/articles/rent-control-prop-2039719-theft-landlords

Monday, May 12, 2008
The Orange Grove: Difference between Props. 98, 99
Backers of Prop. 99 bet they can mislead uninformed voters

By GARY M. GALLES

The June ballot is bringing the issue of rent control back into the political spotlight in California.

Proposition 98 would protect all Californians from abuses of eminent domain, government's power to take private property, and phase out rent control. Prop. 99 is a decoy measure that would override Prop. 98 if it attracts more votes, was written by beneficiaries of eminent-domain abuse, and that the state's Legislative Analyst's Office concluded involved so little reform that it "is not likely to significantly alter current land-acquisition practices."

Prop. 99 offers precious little protection. It wouldn't protect farmland, churches, businesses or rental properties from eminent-domain abuse. It wouldn't restrict the almost unlimited purposes for which governments can take private property, provided they provide some compensation. It leaves a gaping loophole for "blight," which includes anything government decides it doesn't like. It does not compensate owners for fighting abuses.

So, Prop. 99's backers are trying to reframe the real reforms of Prop. 98 as an attack on renters.

Renters and renters' advocates offer horror-story scenarios if rent controls were ended. However, they omit the fact that Prop. 98 would only end rent controls after current residents leave a rental property. It also ignores the fact that rent control is simply a majority of voters (current renters) in a jurisdiction taking the property of a minority (landlords), which is why Prop. 98 includes it with other forms of government theft.

Rent control is theft because it removes landlords' rights to accept better rental offers and takes away a large portion of their property's value (as shown in plummeting market values wherever controls are enacted) and gives the "savings" to current tenants (which why those tenants almost never leave). However, tenants voting themselves $500 monthly rent reductions is no different than each of them robbing their landlords of $500 a month. But while robbery is a felony, the beneficiaries call rent control "democracy in action," as though a majority vote legitimizes theft.

This can be seen by analogy to the labor market, where renters are sellers rather than buyers. Since a rent cap limits what landlords can earn as well as what tenants must pay, the labor-market equivalent would be a law prohibiting employers from paying workers more than, say, $10 an hour. Renters would recognize a maximum-wage law as theft, even though it does the same thing rent control does to their landlords.

The arguments made against ending rent control also demonstrate that it is theft.

Worries that rents would rise sharply without controls make sense only if rents are being held below what apartments are worth (what others would be willing to pay). And Prop. 98 does nothing to change rents as long as tenants remain where they are, stopping only subsequent theft. Claims that landlords would evict tenants to get higher rents or that rent control would reduce low-income housing reveal the same thing, because both scenarios assume that rents are now forcibly underpriced (they also ignore the fact that any government assistance should be financed by Californians, not forced on landlords).

Mobile-home owners complain that ending rent control would lower their home values. But that is only because rent control has transferred much of the value of the park's owners to the tenants. Prop. 98 would only undo that theft.

Rent control also causes reduced apartment construction, deteriorating housing, shortages of rentals, increased discrimination and landlord-tenant hostility. It is a policy-induced disaster that exists only because local renters vote to expropriate landlords' property.

Prop. 99's backers must attack Prop. 98's real eminent-domain protections with rent control misrepresentations because their position is so weak. They gloss over that Prop. 99 does next-to-nothing to restrict abuses of eminent domain and rest their case on defending a form of theft (ironic, since eminent domain abuses are opposed as another form of theft) whose consequences qualify as a scandal, rather than something to perpetuate. Their anti-98 campaign is simply a testament to their faith in voter ignorance and gullibility.

Numanoid
05-13-08, 06:41 PM
I will not be giving in to your demands.

X
05-13-08, 07:03 PM
99 not only offers no real protection but if they both pass, 99's provisions would invalidate 98's....if 99 got more votes than 98.

Red Dog
05-13-08, 07:05 PM
...if 99 got more votes than 98.


I read different claims on this, so I wasn't sure. Suffice to say, make sure you don't vote yes on 99.

X
05-13-08, 07:09 PM
I read different claims on this, so I wasn't sure. Suffice to say, make sure you don't vote yes on 99.Competing initiatives here are always decided by the one that gets the most votes. Makes sense.

My ex in-laws actually sent me a postcard telling me to vote for 98 and against 99. I think it's because they have rental property.

Red Dog
05-13-08, 07:21 PM
Competing initiatives here are always decided by the one that gets the most votes. Makes sense.



You're right. I just read Sec. 9 of Prop 99 (http://ag.ca.gov/cms_attachments/initiatives/pdfs/2007-05-14_07-0018_Initiative.pdf) and confirmed that the greater number of votes trumps.

al_bundy
05-14-08, 07:11 AM
direct democracy is too confusing

creekdipper
05-15-08, 12:31 AM
As we hear so often, the government cannot "legislate morality".

What it can do is raise taxes to support seemingly limitless social programs & then confiscate personal property if those taxes aren't paid.

Just think of it as "forced charity", not "legislated morality".

The Bus
05-15-08, 09:19 AM
direct democracy is too confusing

No, it works. In groups of like, 7 people.

grundle
05-16-08, 08:02 AM
Massachusetts abolished rent control several years ago. Supporters of rent control predicted that it would cause a massive increase in homelessness. They were wrong. Instead, it caused an increase in new apartment construction, which means that it caused a reduction in homelessness.

wendersfan
05-16-08, 08:15 AM
Massachusetts abolished rent control several years ago. Supporters of rent control predicted that it would cause a massive increase in homelessness. They were wrong. Instead, it caused an increase in new apartment construction, which means that it caused a reduction in homelessness.That assumes homeless people could afford the apartments. Do you have any proof at all that these new apartments could be rented at a price low enough to be afforded by someone previously unable to afford one at all?

grundle
05-16-08, 12:03 PM
That assumes homeless people could afford the apartments. Do you have any proof at all that these new apartments could be rented at a price low enough to be afforded by someone previously unable to afford one at all?


They weren't homeless because they couldn't afford an apartment. They were homeless because they couldn't find one.

Rent control caused shortages. Even people who could afford to rent an apartment, could not find one. Some of them slept on their friend's couch, and that counts as being homeless.

Red Dog
05-19-08, 10:12 AM
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-somin19-2008may19,0,647525,print.story

Don't count on Prop. 99
The purported anti-condemnation measure would actually block meaningful eminent-domain reform.
By Ilya Somin

May 19, 2008

The U.S. Supreme Court created a huge political backlash when it ruled that local governments could use eminent domain to seize private property and transfer it to other private owners for "economic development." Since the Kelo ruling in 2005, 42 states have enacted limitations on eminent domain -- not always effective ones. But like lawmakers in many other states, some California officials are trying to block real eminent domain reform.

On June 3, Californians will vote on Proposition 99, a ballot initiative sponsored by groups representing cities, counties, redevelopment agencies and other pro-condemnation interests. It purports to protect property rights against eminent domain, but it actually provides almost no protection.

Two San Gabriel Valley cities illustrate the dangers of unbridled condemnation authority. Baldwin Park plans to use eminent domain to demolish more than 500 homes and businesses and transfer the land to a politically influential developer who plans to build a mall. La Puente is trying to use eminent domain to take over a small shopping center, displacing 13 small businesses. The city claims that the area is "blighted" -- making it eligible for condemnation under state law -- even though there is no evidence of dilapidation.

Both of these "takings" of private property would probably be permitted under Proposition 99, because it protects only owner-occupied residences against condemnations with the purpose of transferring property to "private persons." That leaves renters -- 42% of Californian households -- unprotected. If the buildings they live in are condemned, renters can be forced out even if their leases haven't expired. Owners of farms, small businesses and homeowners who have lived in their residences for less than one year also would remain vulnerable.

Even the protection for homeowners covered under Proposition 99 is likely to be ineffective, because the measure allows the condemnation of owner-occupied homes if they are "incidental" to a "public" project. This means that homes could still be taken for transfer to private developers if the proposed project allocated some space for a "public" facility such as a community center or library.

Government officials also can say that their true purpose is promoting "development," thereby circumventing the ban. Or they could argue that the new owners of any condemned properties are "public persons," by virtue of business-government "partnerships" for local development.

Also on California's June ballot is Proposition 98, which really would forbid "economic development" condemnations and other abuses. Absent Proposition 99, Proposition 98 would likely become law -- as have anti-Kelo initiatives in 10 other states. Proposition 99 would invalidate any other eminent domain referendum passed on the same day so long as 99 receives a greater number of votes than Proposition 98. Many voters are unlikely to realize this.

Economic development and blight takings often transfer property from the poor and politically weak to the politically powerful. Since World War II, from 3 million to 4 million Americans have lost their homes to such condemnations.

Many of the eminent domain laws passed since Kelo -- including California's 2006 law -- are likely to be ineffective. Legislators have passed bills that only appear to protect property rights. The most common allow economic development condemnations under the guise of alleviating blight, which many states define so broadly that almost any neighborhood qualifies, as in the dubious La Puente case.

An August 2007 survey by the Saint Consulting Group found that only 21% of Americans know whether their state has enacted eminent domain reform legislation since Kelo, and only 13% know whether that legislation is likely to be effective. Proposition 99 is a particularly skillful attempt to exploit political ignorance to block effective eminent domain reform. Californians shouldn't fall for it.

msdmoney
06-04-08, 12:51 AM
I meant to bump this yesterday. It seemed like people hardly knew about this election, which should be good for prop 98. But it seems like early results aren't good for Prop 98.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/06/03/BA26110100.DTL&tsp=1

I think it was a bad idea to add rent control to 98, even if I agree with Prop 98 on the issue. It clouds the real issue, and I think a lot of voters are voting on rent control and not eminent domain.

ZakVTA
06-04-08, 04:41 AM
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/front/la-me-props4-2008jun04,0,6925163.story

Prop. 99 passes; Prop. 98 defeated

SACRAMENTO Californians on Tuesday rejected a state ballot measure that would have phased out rent control and barred government agencies from taking homes, businesses and farms for private development.

While Proposition 98 was falling short, voters approved Proposition 99, a more narrowly drawn competing measure that prohibits government agencies from using eminent domain powers to force the sale of owner-occupied residences for private projects.

The backers of Proposition 99 declared victory and the backers of Proposition 98 conceded defeat, but appealed to the governor and Legislature to expand homeowner protections.

"By placing a second eminent domain measure on the ballot, opponents of private property rights created enough confusion between the ballot measures to defeat Proposition 98," said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. "Proposition 99's loopholes will allow eminent domain abuse to continue."

Opponents of Proposition 98 charged that the measure was sold as eminent domain reform when its real purpose was to eliminate rent control.

"The voters saw that Proposition 98 was a deceptive initiative -- in fact, the worst kind of ballot abuse where a populist issue is used to conceal an attack on renters, the environment, homeowners and our communities," said Tom Adams, board president of the California League of Conservation Voters.

Tuesday's primary election was plagued by low turnout, one result of a decision to split off the state's presidential primary and hold it in February.

Less than one-third of registered voters were expected to vote by mail and in person Tuesday, said Stephen Weir, the Contra Costa County clerk-recorder who heads the statewide association of elections officials.

Under current state law, government agencies can use eminent domain powers to force property owners to sell for fair market value and can then sell the land or buildings at a discount to a developer for construction of a mall or other profit-making venture.

Proposition 98, which was backed mostly by landlord groups, would have changed the state Constitution to phase out rent control in addition to barring agencies from forcing property owners to sell their property for use by private developers; it would have allowed the use of eminent domain to take property for public uses, such as schools and roads.

Proposition 99 was placed on the ballot as a competing measure by associations representing cities, counties and renters.

The eminent domain provisions are similar but more narrowly focused than Proposition 98.

Like Proposition 98, it will exempt public works projects. Proposition 99 will make no change to rent control laws.

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn., California Farm Bureau and other sponsors of Proposition 98 said it was a necessary response to a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the right of governments to take homes for commercial development.

The measure would have maintained rent control for current tenants but lift it on apartment units and mobile home spaces as they are vacated.

"It's kind of un-American to force a housing provider or any other business to provide services at less than fair market value," said Dan Faller, president of the Apartment Owners Assn. of California.

Faller's group was part of a main campaign that spent about $7 million to support Proposition 98, with about 80% of the money coming from real estate interests, including owners and managers of apartment buildings and mobile home parks.

Opponents spent about $11.3 million, much of it from the League of California Cities, California State Assn. of Counties and California Redevelopment Assn.

The potential rollback of rent control drew the opposition of Jeannine English, president of the California AARP; Janis R. Hirohama, president of the League of Women Voters of California, and Larry Gross, executive director of the Los Angeles-based Coalition for Economic Survival, a tenants group.

"Seniors and other vulnerable people have a difficult time finding low-cost housing and this would eliminate those options for them," English said.

About 1.2 million people live in apartments and mobile home parks covered by rent control in California.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke out against Proposition 98, warning that it could add to the cost and delay of funding public works projects with voter-approved bonds by setting up additional restrictions on government use of eminent domain.

Proposition 99 was written so that it, and not 98, would take effect if both passed but Proposition 99 received more votes.

Red Dog
06-04-08, 08:03 AM
That's disappointing. The 98 proponents made a tactical error (even though I agree with the sentiment) in tying rent control to eminent domain. The same thing happened last time they had a eminent domain vote - they tied regulatory takings (again, the right sentiment) to it and lost.

Government wins and individual rights loses again. -ohbfrank-

B5Erik
06-04-08, 08:18 AM
It wasn't just the fact that they eliminated rent control in 98, it was the fact that it was hidden in the middle of the text, in a sentence that could only be interpreted by a lawyer as ending rent control.

That kind of B.S. hidden language is what people hate - be up front about what's in the measure. Once the no on 98 people got ahold of that it was all over.

Had they NOT included the abolish rent control provision 98 probably would have gotten more votes than 99, but once the media got wind of that HIDDEN provision in there public sentiment swung immediately - and drastically.

Red Dog
06-04-08, 08:20 AM
Too bad the media never jumped on the fact that 99 will do nothing to protect property rights, and in fact, could make things much worse.

orangecrush
06-04-08, 08:54 AM
Too bad the media never jumped on the fact that 99 will do nothing to protect property rights, and in fact, could make things much worse.
But that isn't as good of a story as giving landlords the ability to kick grandma to the curb in order to get richer tenants.


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