Part 2 of 3. June 23 marks the Second Anniversary of Supreme Court’s Kelo decision

As we approach the second anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Kelo Vs New London property rights decision, our torch for liberty and Fifth Amendment protection continues to burn. Earlier this year a statewide survey of 1,000 likely California voters was conducted in which 67 percent support a Ballot Measure designed to protect homeowners property rights from eminent domain abuse.

In part one of this series I included opinions provided by the No on Prop 90 opponents along with their assessment of our proposed “2008 CALIFORNIA PROPERTY OWNERS and FARMLAND PROTECTION ACT.” Their comments of Prop 90, which I posted, were quite harsh and twisted but I took a risk and included same, without any changes, to show their analysis of our 2008 Initiative which they found to be acceptable in my reading of their comments.

Now it’s appropriate to comment on three other initiatives, none of which truly protect everyone’s private property.

In addition to the “California Property Owners & Farmland Protection Act” you may find a proposed Constitutional Amendment, ACA-8, and two virtually identical eminent domain reform efforts which were drafted to mislead and deceive the voters. In fact you must be extremely careful in that the pending titles themselves can throw you off when you cast your vote. If you truly support property rights protection ONLY vote for the measure co-authored by the “Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, the California Farm Bureau Federation and the Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights.” Caution! Don’t let the title added by the Sec. of State mislead you on the content and intent of Initiatives.In my discussion with Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association president Jon Coupal late this afternoon he informed me that they anticipate getting their Title Summary on Monday.

Buyer beware! How often have we heard those two powerful words?

To illustrate deception look at this title. “Californians for Eminent Domain Reform.” If citizens were not informed, and voted strictly by the title, they might think this is the Kelo type reform that we have been seeking. It is not.According to Tim Sandefur, Pacific Legal Foundation Senior Staff Attorney, this proposal, ..”which seems virtually identical to the proposal of the California League of Cities,…. would make virtually no meaningful change in the law.”

We are in a war that is fought with strategy and tactics just as if we are on a battlefield. And this is surely a battlefield for every former, current and future property rights victim. It’s just a slick effort to take votes away from the real reform measure.

To read the entire text of Tim’s commentary simply go to the Pacific Legal Foundation blog.

In the California League of Cities initiative, whose proposed title reads the “Homeowners and Private Property Protection Act,” there is no protection against government agencies from using eminent domain to take any business (with more than 25 employees), farmland, investment properties, church, apartment buildings or leased homes, each of which I think you would agree are examples of “private” property. I am told that there are loopholes in this initiative that need to be exposed. Therefore, where’s the all encompassing property rights protection in this initiative?
Although I called the contact telephone number listed on the Attorney General’s proof of receipt of their document package to get information on this initiative, such as do they have a web site, no one was available to answer any of my questions.

A third effort to oppose our initiative is ACA-8, sponsored by Southgate Assemblyman De La Torre. Following pending Legislation is a fascinating experience. ACA-8 started out on March 13th as Assemblymember Huffman’s proposed constitutional Amendment dealing with local government finance. On May 31st, seeing the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer initiative becoming a real threat to dealing with eminent domain abuse, Assemblymember De La Torre amended ACA-8 which now reads “eminent domain.”

Here again this proposal also overlooks protection of businesses, churches, farmland, investment properties, apartments or homes that the owners have not occupied for more than one year.

We demand total property right protection with clean legislation that is not full of holes such as the “Swiss cheese” comments by PLF senior attorney Tim Sandefur.

Part Three of this series will conclude with an analysis of the Californians for Eminent Domain Reform’s “Eminent Domain Reform Act of 2007/2008” as evaluated by the Institute for Justice, the non-profit public interest law firm who litigated the Kelo case before the United States Supreme Court.

Let me share one sentence from the analysis. “Unfortunately, the Act if passed would continue to allow a considerable amount of abuse to continue.”
Stay tuned.

Larry Gilbert, Orange County Co-Director, Californians United for Redevelopment Education, CURE, and member of the Castle Coalition.

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