Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Prop 90 Forum Tonight

There was a request for a post on Prop 90 -- as it has important local consequences, I'm happy to make a post for it. This from an Anonymous Commenter:

How about something on Prop 90 and how the City Council seems to be having an ostrich-like attitude towards this potentially devastating proposition? No city public comments on what passage of this measure would do to City planning except Development Director Paul Casey's off-the-cuff comment to the effect that 'if it passes, we all might as well go home'.

Where are the voices of the people, Das, Helene, Marty, Grant? Answer: Heads in sand, apparently wanting the people not wanting to hear.

There's a CPF-sponsored forum tonight, 6:30-8, at the Goleta Valley Community Center - maybe it will be televised.

Here's an url for the list of newspapers opposed.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's an interesting take on Prop. 90 from Oregon - the home of Measure 37.

10/18/2006 3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vote yes on 90 - great idea.

10/18/2006 3:39 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

Vote NO on 90, the greatest idea!!

10/19/2006 4:35 PM  
Anonymous Bob Redford said...

Subject: "We had no idea."

Dear NRDC BioGems Defender,

"We had no idea."

You're going to hear that a lot if Proposition 90 passes next month. Millions
of people are going to wake up the morning after Election Day and wish they'd
read the fine print.

Please don't be one of them.

Prop 90 is the single most dangerous threat that has ever been leveled at our
state's environment. As a native and long-time resident of California, I don't
say that lightly.

Prop 90 will make it virtually impossible for our state and local governments
to do their job of protecting the wildlife, wild lands and other natural
resources that make California the special place that it is.

The way Prop 90 works is simple. Anytime our government wants to protect some
vestige of open space or save an old growth forest or restrict offshore oil
drilling, Prop 90 would empower hordes of people to sue the government and
collect compensation if they feel their properties or businesses have been

If Prop 90 is enacted, environmental protection will grind to a halt, because
we the taxpayers will be unable to afford the billions and billions in payouts.
And guess what? Paralyzing government is exactly what Prop 90 aims to do.

This cynical ploy is so insidious -- and yet potentially popular -- because
it's masquerading as a law that will protect our homes and businesses from
government seizure under the power of eminent domain.

Well, I'll be first in line to defend private property and protest government
seizure. But not if the "cure" is a hundred times worse than the disease!

Prop 90 is nothing but a stalking horse for a group of out-of-state, anti-
government extremists who would impoverish Californians both environmentally
and financially.

Don't wake up the morning after Election Day and wish you'd read the fine
print. Read it now at

And make sure your friends, family and colleagues in California read it, too.
Please forward them this email right now.

NRDC has joined with a broad coalition of citizen groups who are fighting hard
to turn back this unprecedented attack on our environment. (You can see the
full list of opponents at

Please do your part by spreading the word to everyone you know. Tell them to
vote "No on 90" on Election Day.


Robert Redford

P.S. Newspapers across the state are urging a No vote on 90. You can read their
editorials at

10/19/2006 4:43 PM  
Blogger daraka kenric said...

That's funny, I was just talking with Das late last week about what we need to do to raise awareness about the dangers of prop 90. I know that it is something he's stumping about every chance he gets.

Any concrete suggestions about how local activists can raise the profile of the issue?


10/20/2006 6:25 PM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

One idea Daraka...don't let Das be the spokesperson.

10/20/2006 11:19 PM  
Anonymous Credit where Credit is Due said...

Actually, the League of Women Voters and Citizens Planning Foundation did a tremendous job gathering an eclectic group together last Monday for a great NO ON PROP 90 Press Conference......thanks Connie Hannah and David Landecker for spearheading that.
Here's the LWV's outstanding fact sheet opposing Prop 90:

10/21/2006 3:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another suggestion would be to push Channel 21 to show - or ask them when it will be shown - the Prop. 90 forum of last week with Prof/Attorney Marc McGuinnes, County Counsel Shane Stark and SB Council Member Iya Falcone. I don't see it anywhere on the Schedule for next week.

10/22/2006 2:43 PM  
Anonymous das said...

That's the one thing I love about the blogsphere: people can spend their time complaining about others' lack of action instead of doing something about it or even asking a City Councilmember what they're doing about it. I've been running No On 90 phonebanks for the Stop Wal-Mart Coalition in Ventura County, ironically am writing a No On 90 mailpiece that will be sent out to tens of thousands of HH's while I read on your blog that I am doing nothing, and am mobilizing enviros and unions against the measure.

Of course Grant and I were also at the LWV and CPA press conference against 90, but that's not as direct voter outreach. If Anonymous wants to, he or she (or anyone else) can hitch a ride with me this week or next to walk neighborhoods around the proposed Wal-Mart with anti-90 lit. Then they can see for themselves how much I am "sticking my head in the sand."

Bill's right about one thing (actually he's right more often than that), I should not be the spokesperson against 90 and neither should any local elected. Good polling shows that amoung the least credible people to listen to on how to properly deal with eminent domain is local elected officials (Because people worry they are the ones that will use the power). That's I am working as a footsoldier on this, you can too. My cell is 637-7711, we could use your help.

10/22/2006 3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha Ha - sounds as though this blog stung Das! Interesting to be so political and so thin-skinned. This is not the first time he's attacked the messenger, the blogosphere participants.

Here's a good piece on blogging by Douglas Muder: with this important observation: "Bloggers aren't in that business. We aren't objective. We aren't fair. And we don't expect you to trust us. The goals and standards of good blogging are just different. ...In the blogosphere, you don't just consume the news. You question it. You research it. You comment on it. And maybe you even start going out to gather it yourself."

However, good for Das for responding as himself; important given that he is a public servant, paid by public funds.

But as for Proposition 90, what's it got to do with an anti-WalMart campaign? And as for eminent domain, as I read the ballot argument the measure has much more to do with the change in how (or if!) regulations about land use can be promulgated if that ill-advised prop. should pass.

As for whether politicians/council members - unfortunately, too little a difference there for some council members - should comment, that's an extraordinary statement of his, "amoung the least credible people to listen to on how to properly deal with eminent domain is local elected officials". If not our duly elected governmental leaders to advise the electorate how ballot measures will affect the city, then who? I thought that's why they were elected, to lead, to represent _all_ of the city.

10/23/2006 11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prop. 90 forum will be televised on Channel 21:

Tuesday, October 31: 10:30 pm
Wednesday, November 1: 6:00 am
Thursday, November 2: 10:30 pm

More showings will be announced; a number of showings of the Measure D forum are already posted on the Channel 21 Schedule (

10/23/2006 4:16 PM  
Anonymous Bob Blue said...

In the Democratic spirit of presenting both sides to an issue, I wanted to share with you my position on Proposition 90. I respect the fact that you are taking an interest in this and many other issues and encourage you to vote on Tuesday even if you decide against Proposition 90.

I am one of the original signers of Proposition 90. I support Proposition 90 from the perspective of a small business owner and an active Democrat who no longer has any personal or financial stake in the outcome of this Proposition. Because I have been involved in a challenge to the use of Eminent Domain for Private Development, I have met with and sometimes even employed some of the best Eminent Domain attorneys in California. I have sought out their expert advice on Proposition 90 early. These attorneys only stand to lose business if Proposition 90 passes and yet they are supporting it. I was also part of a 5 city, nationwide study on Eminent Domain conducted by the non-partisan General Accountability Office this year as reported in the Los Angeles Times. (1)

A Yes vote on Proposition 90 will reform the use of Eminent Domain by restoring the original meaning of property ownership, fundamental due process, and re-establishing equality without raising costs to tax payers or hindering development.

Proposition 90 will also protect non-property owners such as tenants, small businesses with leases, and their employees who are also forced out when Eminent Domain is used by local government in the context of Private Development.

Property ownership is a core fundamental right both in the US and California Constitutions. But like any core Constitutional right or legal protection, the real beneficiaries are those least able to afford legal representation and those without political influence.

The basic enforcement of these rights helps to somewhat level the playing field between the privileged and politically connected and those with less. It also establishes confidence and predictability that makes our economy work.

Without this enforcement, we wind up with a reverse Robin Hood where the government intervenes to confiscate property without permission of the owner and transfer it over to another private owner with more money. It is counterintuitive to any sense of Justice and Equality and is ripe for corruption.

Assoc Justice Sandra Day O’Connor pointed out this very fact in her dissenting opinion on the Case of Kelo v. New London:

“Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms. As for the victims, the government now has license to transfer property from those with fewer resources to those with more. The Founders cannot have intended this perverse result.”

Proposition 90 is very simple. It is a little over one page long. I encourage you to read for yourself both the actual language of the Proposition and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s dissenting opinion in the Kelo case.

The core opponents of Proposition 90, the CA League of Cities , the California Redevelopment Association, and their Platinum partners the development community (Developers, Bond Firms, Consultants, and Builders) have followed the play book from the “Wizard of Oz” and have put out some very honorable groups as their face of the opposition and have provided them with talking points.

I would like to address some issues raised during the debate on Proposition 90.

The opponents to Prop 90 claim that the use of Eminent Domain for Private transfers needs reform, but that Prop 90 goes too far. This is quite hypocritical and disingenuous because the CA League of Cities is on record opposing each and every Eminent Domain reform measure proposed at the State level including by Democrats Kehoe and Torlakson. Kehoe proposed tightening up the definition of blight and that was weakened by the CA League of Cites. The CA League of Cities and the California Redevelopment also sided with the City of New London against homeowner Susette Kelo when the City sought to transfer her property so that housing and commercial property could be built to support Pfizer Pharmaceutical.

The opponents refer to a law passed in Oregon in 2004 called Measure 37. They say that it cost Oregon taxpayers millions and extrapolate the costs based on population to California saying that Prop 90 will very costly to California tax payers. However the opponents left out several important facts:

1. Even though hundreds of claims were filed, it never resulted in payouts according to Bob Stern from the non-profit, non-partisan Center for Governmental Studies and was featured on KCET’s Life and Times coverage of Prop 90.(2) Mr. Stern also said that based on his analysis, Proposition 90 would not cost tax payers money.

2. Proposition 90 is different from Measure 37 in that Prop 90 is prospective, not retroactive. No claim has been filed to any zone changes made after the passage of Measure 37 in Oregon.

Under current California Redevelopment law, there is presumptive conclusion that the government is right even when a Redevelopment zone is twenty years old and the area is booming. This defies the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution which provides basic Due Process protections.

Why shouldn’t innocent property and small business owners be afforded that same legal protection that is granted to those accused of violent crimes? A trial by a jury of your peers and the burden of proof being on the government, not the accused is a basic right in all other parts of the law. After all, the only crime that a small business or homeowner committed was being in the way of a wealthy developer.

This addresses a real world situation that recently occurred in South Los Angeles. Vaughan Benz is a furniture manufacturer that was forced by the city to sell its property to make way for an animal shelter, only to see the city propose instead to sell the site to a competing furniture maker.(1)

This is the direct Eminent Domain Reform that corrects existing California Redevelopment Law and addresses issues raised in the Kelo decision as described in Assoc Justice O’Connor’s dissenting opinion.

The idea of grandfathering is a well established and makes the process fair and stable for the small property and business owner. Ironically, the core opponents of Proposition 90, the California League of Cities and the Development Community are pushing for “up-zoning” throughout the State to absorb predications of increased population.

Proposition 90 specifically allows for the Public Use of eminent domain. It also allows for health and safety exemptions. Proposition 90 will be interpreted by the California State Legislature, which will prevent any of the "chicken little" scenarios that are described by the opponents.

The Black Chamber of Commerce.
League of United Latin American Citizens, Region 7 (Long Beach)
National Federation of Independent Business (Small business group with 600,000 members)
Hollywood-Highlands Democratic Club

1. “U.S. Targets L.A.'s Seizure of Property,” Los Angeles Times, June 14, 2006
2. KCET – Life and Times, “War Over Land Rights,” November 2, 2006 broadcast date.

11/05/2006 5:59 PM  

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