Deceptive Initiatives Designed To Blackmail Your Community
In a number of states which use the initiative process, the wealthy extremist libertarian Howie Rich has paid for initiatives that are designed to destroy the ability of communities and states to have effective government for the people. Rich hates government that limits what he believes he should be able to do with "his property" and he wants to make sure that you and your neighbors cannot stop him and his fellow plutocrats. He uses hot button issues like eminent domain and hatred of taxes to foist initiatives that contain poison pills designed to destroy your local and your state governments ability to work for you.
Proposition 90 in California is one such initiative. It sounds so innocuous, but it has a deadly sting. Proposition 90 is supposed to be an initiative that "fixes" the problem of eminent domain so Californians can't have their property taken away like in the Kelo decision. But what it really does is to take away all power from your community in making rules that affect the community.
If you want to see what's at stake, look at what happened in Oregon after passing Measure 37 in 2004. After living with the consequences for only 2 years, Oregonians are overwhelmingly against Proposition 37 (pdf) and if they could vote on it again, they would not pass it.
The survey found that Oregon voters now have serious regrets and concerns about the effects the measure has had on their communities. In fact, voters in Oregon now overwhelmingly oppose Measure 37 and believe it has resulted in many negative and unforeseen consequences. This stands in stark contrast to just two years ago when voters passed the initiative by a wide margin.
So who did benefit from Measure 37? The large developers who no longer can be stopped by local communities from doing whatever they want with the property they bought. Local governments have been made into rubberstamps for the developers and not the people that live and work in the community. Oregon once had some of the most progressive land use laws designed to give Oregonians a way to plan for the future. Today they have land use laws suitable for the third-world where anyone can put a dump next to the neighborhood school because the owner of the property has more rights than the people who live in the neighborhood.
Today, there are four western states with Rich's "takings" initiatives on the ballot (Washingon, Idaho, Arizona, and California). Rich didn't get his way everywhere: the Montana initiative was banned from the ballot and the Nevada initiative was narrowed to only deal with eminent domain and not the regulatory takings piece. Yet, what he did get on the ballot is dangerous to our communities. If you have one of these stealth initiatives on your ballot, take time to educate your community about what they could lose in passing these deceptive initiatives.