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Letter: Be sure to vote for Proposition 99

Original post made by Andy Blue, another community, on May 24, 2008

Peninsula voters need to be informed about two competing propositions on the state ballot that could have a profound and lasting impact on the lives of Californians.
Props 98 and 99 are both ostensibly about eminent domain reform, but Prop 98, funded primarily by landlords and mobile home park owners, would eliminate a host of protections for the environment and for seniors, veterans, and working families who rent their homes or live in mobile home parks.
Because Prop 98 is extreme and far-reaching, a broad coalition has united to oppose it, including the California Chamber of Commerce, League of Women Voters, AARP, California Teachers Association, Governor Schwarzennegger, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, every major environmental organization in the state, and numerous others.
Proposition 99, the Homeowners Protection Act, is a straightforward measure that would prohibit the government from using eminent domain to take a home to transfer to a private developer. It would not diminish renter and environmental protections in any way. It is supported by the California Alliance for Retired Americans, League of Women Voters of California, the League of California Homeowners, and dozens of respected organizations representing seniors, business and labor, public safety, environmental groups, and many others. Proposition 99 would protect homeowners from eminent domain abuse.
Proposition 99 would protect homeowners from eminent domain abuse. Prop 98 would have dramatic consequences for the well-being of seniors and working families and for the health of our environment. Please vote on June 3rd.
Andy Blue, San Francisco
Letter published in the May 21, 2008, issue of The Almanac.

Comments (2)

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Posted by Donald
a resident of another community
on May 24, 2008 at 9:05 pm

Prop 99 is simply a ploy to get people to vote against Prop 98. They both look like trash to me, and I hope the citizens of California have the sense to vote no on both.

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Posted by Pablo
a resident of another community
on May 28, 2008 at 9:31 am

I agree w/Donald. Consider voting "no" on both issues.

The real abuse is that "eminent domain" is a non-market proceeding in which the public gets ripped off by overpaying for land.

I appreciate the heart grabbing case from New London Connecticut, but I'm not aware of any evidence in California and particularly in our area where eminent domain powers are being abused or that many residential parcels are being "given" to developers.

My experience with "eminent domain" abuse, from the eminent domain of property on Hamilton avenue in Menlo Park, (where property was "taken" from commercial owners and given to residents) is that eminent domain is a racket in which the public entity pays vastly more than market rates to acquire property, in part because the eminent domain proceeding is well known and populated by sharks who know how to game the system to get the most amount of money from the public.

In one project, Menlo Park vastly overpaid for commercial properties and ultimately built "affordable" housing units with subsidies of nearly $500k per unit. In another commercial project on Hamilton Road the developer was given subsidies of more than $1M to build the commercial area on the corner of Hamilton at Willow.

In another example, after the Bonsai Sushi restaurant in RWC was acquired under eminent domain for the theater complex they opened TWO new restaurants, one in Atherton and one in Menlo Park. (The Menlo Park restaurant apparently failed.)

Unless you have some unbreakable emotional attachment to your property, you should pray to have it taken from you in an eminent domain proceeding, and please remember that as an alternative to accepting money, you have the right to insist on being give "like kind."

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