Saturday, July 29, 2006

Don't Believe the Hype - Vote No on Prop. 2

There is a measure on the Idaho ballot that is alluring, seductive, and completely misrepresentative. If you care about managing growth and fiscal responsibility this measure will be a disaster.

For those (like myself) who are supporters of private property rights, it would appear that voting to restrict the use of Eminent Domain in light of the Supreme Court's unpopular ruling on that topic last year is a good thing.

But those selling this measure don't promote the fact it will basically gut the ability of communities to plan, zone, and determine their own futures. The linked story is a long, but informative primer on what this measure really is.

Here is an excerpt from and a link to the High Country News article Taking Liberties, written by Ray Ring:

"Libertarians and property-rights activists believe that a huge array of common government regulations on real estate, such as zoning or subdivision limits, "take" away property value. Therefore, they say, the government should compensate the owner, or back off. The extreme view of "regulatory takings" is really at the core of this campaign — not eminent domain.

The campaign to pass regulatory-takings laws began in the 1980s, when libertarians seized on the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which says: "Nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." They’ve tried to use Congress, state legislatures and ballot initiatives to pass laws that would treat most regulations as takings. Their first big win came in November 2004, when they persuaded Oregon’s voters to pass Measure 37. That initiative blew holes in the strictest land-use system in the country, allowing longtime landowners to escape many state, county and city regulations (HCN, 11/22/04: In Oregon, a lesson learned the hard way).

The impacts of Measure 37 have been delayed by court battles, and the libertarians are determined to turn the delays to their advantage. Before the fallout in Oregon can be fully understood, they are rushing to pass similar ballot initiatives in Montana, Idaho, Washington, Arizona, Nevada and California. While each initiative has its own sales pitch, they all deliberately tuck the notion inside the unrelated eminent domain controversy. The Los Angeles-based libertarian Reason Foundation mapped the strategy in a 64-page paper published in April, titled Statewide Regulatory Takings Reform: Exporting Oregon’s Measure 37 to Other States. It recommended pushing "Kelo-plus" initiatives, combining eminent domain reform with regulatory takings, to capitalize "on the tremendous public and political momentum generated in the aftermath of the Kelo ruling …"

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