May 22, 2007

Media Coverage on Fake Eminent Domain Reform in California

By Media Coverage on Fake Eminent Domain Reform in California

Prof. Somin of the Volokh Conspiracy has a post here on the bill unveiled yesterday. The AP has this story, which appeared, among other places, in the San Jose Mercury News. And the Sacramento Bee's Dan Walters has this column. Excerpt:

Critics of eminent domain are back with a new ballot measure declaring, "private property may not be taken or damaged for private use." And this time it has the support of some groups that opposed Proposition 90, such as the California Farm Bureau.

Local officials are worried that with last year's narrow loss, a simpler measure without Proposition 90's baggage could pass. Therefore, the League of California Cities and its allies have created Californians for Eminent Domain Reform and are pursuing a two-pronged strategy. They've written their own initiative that would bar seizure of owner-occupied housing for private purposes — albeit with some loopholes — and a legislative measure that would duplicate the initiative in many respects but also include businesses with 25 or fewer employees under its protections.

Assemblyman Hector De La Torre, D-South Gate, unveiled the latter on Monday, declaring it to be "comprehensive and fair." Both are questionable characterizations since it's very limited and unfair on its face by treating different kinds of property differently. A large multifamily project with just one owner-occupied unit would be protected from seizure, for example, while another occupied by renters could be seized….

It's likely that both measures will appear on the ballot next year — and that voters will be vastly confused over who's truly for what and who's not.

(Read the rest…)

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