California Props 98 & 99: SAVING YOUR PROPERTY FROM CORRUPT DEVELOPERS AND THEIR POLITICIANS - PART III - Partisan Politics Playing to the Crowd

Public Use vs. Public Purpose...

In part I we saw that the Supreme Court "Kelo" ruling expanded the Constitutional test of "public use" to include the more liberal test of "public purpose" which led to the ability of a government entity to confiscate private property from one individual and give it to another individual as long as some vague "public purpose" was satisfied. In most cases this vague "public purpose" has turned out to be projects which generate additional tax revenue by conveying private property to private developers so that a portion of the developer's revenue stream can be returned to the government in the form of tax revenue. In many cases, the original inhabitants of the area were priced out as luxury buildings and prestige stores were built on their former land.

In part II we learned something about the California initiative process and the ways it has been manipulated in the past.  We used the impartial California Legislative Analyst's own words to describe and characterize two California propositions, Props. 98 & 99 which purport to further restrict the potential abuse of the Kelo decision in California.

We saw that Proposition 98 favored a "strict constructionist" interpretation of "public use" and that it restricted the use of eminent domain for "public use" only. The proposition also went so far as to phase out the  inclusionary laws that were used to provide "rent control" and affordable housing to a segment of the California population. With Proposition 98, social engineering is not an option.

We also saw that Proposition 99 favored the "liberal" interpretation to expand "public use" to include "public purpose" and did nothing to restrict rent control, inclusionary laws or provide additional protection to the citizens of California.

In this part, we are about to examine the political and organizational backers of both propositions to see if we can make some sense out of the current political climate.

From past encounters with elections involving land rights issues and the government, there are always three sides to any story: the ordinary's citizens side, the developer's side and the governmental bureaucrat's side. And the big money sources can be similarly divided into: the moneyed special interests directly affected by the proposed legislation, those  that are beholden to either the special interests or the politicians (which tends to include unions and on the other side professional trade associations) and advocacy groups who make their money by supporting their constituencies. Attorneys tend to go both ways and will often support both sides of an issue using different key partners as point men to bundle donations from key attorneys and their clients.

So let's see who is supporting the propositions...

There is no doubt that this is a "big" money campaign that is going to be fought by professionals seeking voters to see it their way. By way of example, one source has Progressive Campaigns, Inc. being paid $3,559,970 to gather signatures to qualify proposition 99 for the ballot.

Proposition 98 - abolishes rent control, adopts stricter "public use" guidelines, eliminates inclusionary laws.

Restricts the powers of government to confiscate private property from a private individual that can be given to another private individual for the benefit of the government.

Proposition 99 - uses vague "public purpose" guidelines. Does not specifically address the issues of inclusionary laws or rent control as they seem to be covered within the limits of "public purpose.

Will not significantly impact the way business is done by the government.

Pro: The official group supporting Prop. 98 is Californians for Property Rights Protection, which is a project of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. California Farm Bureau Federation, the California Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights Committee, and the California Republican Party. Pro: Californians for Neighborhood Protection; No on 98/Yes on 99" committee, Committee to Save Rent Control; No on 98/Yes on 99,".Eminent Domain Reform Now committee.
Con:  Notable groups opposing Prop 98 include the League of California Cities, the National Wildlife Federation, California League of Conservation Voters, AARP, the California Teachers Association, SEIU, and the California Chamber of Commerce, The Western Center on Law and Poverty, The League of California Homeowners, The Consumer Federation of California, The California Black Chamber of Commerce and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group , San Francisco Tenants Union and the National Multi-Housing Council Con: Californians for Property Rights Protection, which is a project of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. California Farm Bureau Federation, the California Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights Committee, and the California Republican Party
Big Donors: As to be expected most of the large donors represent mobile home parks and those who are associated with "rent controlled" housing. Big Donors: As to be expected most of the large donors represent large labor unions whose members may want and need "rent controlled housing" and those who are associated with trying to preserve governmental rights.
Politicians: Senator Jim Battin, Senator Dave Cox, Senator Jeff Denham, Senator Bob Dutton, Senator Tom Harman, Senator Dennis Hollingsworth, Senator Bob Margett, Senator Tom McClintock, Senator George Runner, Assemblymember Joel Anderson, Assemblymember John J. Benoit, Assemblymember Chuck DeVore, Assemblymember Ted Gaines, Assemblymember Bonnie Garcia, Assemblymember Guy Houston, Assemblymember Bob Huff, Assemblymember Doug La Malfa, Assemblymember Bill Maze, Assemblymember Sharon Runner, Assemblymember Jim Silva, Assemblymember Audra Strickland, Assemblymember Van Tran, Assemblymember Mimi Walters, Bill Leonard, Board of Equalization Politicians: Speaker of the House, U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D) California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer Patricia Wiggins - California State Senator Fran Pavley - Former California State Assemblymember 

Note: This is a moving target and the information presented above may be incomplete or contain errors as alliances are switched for political purposes.

Steve's Analysis...

From all of my research, it appears that the Conservative Republicans are supporting Proposition 98 "public use" and the more liberal democrats are supporting Proposition 99 "public purpose."

While it does not appear that Proposition 99 will affect current laws and practices, it appears that Proposition 98 will raise the cost of housing after a period of time for those who may be next in line to rent a formerly rent controlled property. However, it does appear that Proposition 98 will stop the further progress of a "potential" unholy alliance between government and developers. But, it is those very same developers who will profit when "mobile homes" and "rent controlled" properties are demolished to make way for new development.

How I plan to vote...

Since Proposition 99 appears to do little or nothing to curtail the governmental incursions into private property rights, I will be voting NO on 99!

However, as a conservative Republican my concern for the private property rights of individuals (even the rich individuals who have mostly funded Prop. 98) trumps governmental interference in an individual's rights to own and profit from their own property. Therefore, I will be voting YES on 98!

If anyone would like to attempt to change my mind, you are free to submit your comments.

What can YOU do?

Emotion aside, you need to decide if you are a liberal and want to support the "collective" over the "individual" and believe that eminent domain should be controlled by "public purpose"


you are somewhat conservative and want to support the "individual over the "collective" and believe that eminent domain should be controlled by "public use."

It is also best to remember that, when governments and their special interests are provided with ,or have taken, the unfettered ability to control your property rights in favor of another individual, everyone except the richest special interests will prevail and you will have lost another one of your unalienable rights as the government of California marches further towards socialism and behavior modification through social engineering.

This disturbing trend can be best illustrated by the State's disregard for the individual driver and their 30-year+ attempt to force driver's out of their cars into common mass transit. Failed social engineering and behavior modification which has resulted in billions of dollars worth of projects (good for the developers, contractors and special interests) being built and subsidized for the use of comparitively few riders. Los Angeles is not New York or Chicago where there are significant public transportation projects and many people choose not to drive. 

Now is the time to take a stance. Once your rights are ceded to the government, any government, they are most likely gone forever.

Do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense or the pursuit of prosperity for their own personal philosophy, power, prestige or profits.

-- steve

Quote of the day: "

In politics, absurdity is not a handicap." -- Napoleon Bonaparte

A reminder from a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

The best links for proposition analysis are those of the California Legislative Analyst and the Secretary of State's Office and the project.

Propositions 98/99|California Legislative Analyst

Campaign Finance|California Secretary of State

Proposition 98|BallotPedia.Org

Proposition 99|BallotPedia.Org

Note:  The exact language on the ballot was created/approved by the hyper-partisan, left-leaning liberal formerly known as Governor Moonbeam -- Jerry Brown who, if rumor is to believed, is contemplating another run for the Governorship. (Since term limits were voted in after his Governorship, he is free to run again.)

“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS