Tag Archives: eminent domain

The OC Register is Mad at all of the Stoopit Voters

The Orange County Register is pretty despondent about Californians rejecting Prop 98, a deceptive little scheme using eminent domain as a stalking horse for the installation of a totally new system of property rights. A system where ownership is absolute and sacrosanct, the needs of the community be damned.  In the end, Californians rejected this ruse by about 61% of the vote.  So, the Register thinks you are an idiot, as they pretty much tell you with this headline:

“Editorial: Voters give away some of their rights”

Now, the Register isn’t your garden variety, James Dobsian, Right-wing paper. It’s “libertarian” in a Grover Norquist kind of way; they’d pretty much love to see the Orange County staff consist entirely of 3 cops and a security fence to keep the poor people away from the rich ones. They rarely editorialize in favor of propositions, as to the Register, all government action is bad. Every so often they get behind one, typically one that would gimp government some how.  Prop 98 was right up their alley.

And boy did you make a bad decision. The Gum-a-ment is going to take all of your stuff! Boogy, Boogy, Boogy.

Expect cities to become particularly aggressive in using these police powers in ways detailed in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2005 Kelo decision. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

The problem with this analysis? Kelo has been in effect since 2005, and the number of eminent domain proceedings hasn’t skyrocketed. We haven’t been just steamrolled with gentrification across the landscape and people wailing and gnashing their teeth.  The truth is that eminent domain is very rarely invoked. Statistics are a bit murky because typically these issues are resolved through settlements, but the number of eminent domain incidents is so low as to be statistically insignificant.

The Register will whine about now that they know they’ve won on 99, cities will run amok.  But they have no evidence or reason to suggest that, when boiled down, all you find is naked supposition.

Now, stoopit voters, would you please quit voting so we can get back to the business of plundering the state?

Calitics Editorial Board Prop Endorsements: No on 98 and Yes on 99

Proposition 98 claims to be about eminent domain and protecting the little people. But here at Calitics, we have reason to question the motives of Jon Coupal and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers’ Association. And once again, they are trying to hoodwink California voters.

Proposition 98 eliminates rent control and other renter protections, making living in California’s cities out of reach for a greater percentage of our population. Prop 98 would also make protecting California’s environment even harder than it is presently. The effects on governance, the environment, and tenants are simply disastrous. NO on 98.

Prop 99 is not ideal, but it is tolerable. It simply blocks the use of eminent domain to transfer owner-occupied homes to private developers. Nothing fancy, but it does have a nice provision that overrules Prop 98 if it gets one more vote.  It also has the potential to do the state a great favor by removing the issue of eminent domain from the ballot.   YES on 99.

Schwarzenegger Opposes Prop 98

My No on 98 Disclosure.

Governor Schwarzenegger has once again abandoned his radical friends on the right, and boy are they pissed. But, here’s his remarks on Proposition 98, the constitutional amendment to end rent control, land use restrictions, and governmental regulation of the environment. Arnold opposes it mostly because it blocks him from building dams.

Schwarzenegger said he was opposing Proposition 98 in part because it might block the building of water projects crucial to farmers and residential users.

“Eminent domain is an issue worth addressing,” Schwarzenegger said in a prepared statement. “However Proposition 98 would undermine California’s ability to improve our infrastructure, including our water delivery and storage.” (SacBee 4/25/08)

Apparently the potential harm to tenants was a little lower down on his list. But with this Governor, you take what you can get.  He’s opposed to Prop 98, and that’s a good thing.

Prop 98: Coupal forced to defend his landlord power grab

My Disclosure.

The LA Daily News takes a look at some of the people that could be harmed by Prop 98’s odious landlord power grab. This isn’t just some hypothetical, but real people living here in California. People will be forced to leave the cities and head out to the exurbs or out of state. For example:

He’s a disabled Vietnam veteran. She’s a retired teacher who spends most of her pension on health insurance.

Arnie and Marilyn Bernstein are among an estimated 1million Angelenos with a rent-controlled apartment.

But if voters kill rent control in a June ballot measure, the Bernsteins say, their monthly payment would jump from $876 to $1,300 – a 48 percent increase.

“We couldn’t afford another apartment,” said Marilyn Bernstein, 62, of Canoga Park, who has lived in the one-bedroom unit for 21 years. “We’d be living under a bridge – like `Tent City, here we come.’ The possibility of lifting rent control would be devastating.”

Emphasis my own. The fact is that while this is permanent vacancy decontrol, the rent control ends when the tenant moves out, Prop 98 makes it a heck of a lot easier to do evictions. Tenants are generally in a lot worse place if Prop 98 passes.  So, Jon Coupal, head of the local Destroy Gummamint Set (HJTA), has to defend this turdblossom.  Let’s see what he comes up with. Ah, yes, he lies.

“It doesn’t make it easier to evict anybody,” Coupal said. “All the protections under existing law remain in effect. Only when that unit is vacated can anybody raise rents. We actually take the existing protections against evictions and make them part of the California Constitution.”

Naysayers insist, however, that the landlord-backed measure would essentially end rent control in California.

Oh, those naysayers, always coming in with their facts and messing up your spin. You can read the proposition on the Yes 98 site. Look at Section 3, the part that would be grafted onto the California constitution. Do you see tenant protectsions there? Not so much. In fact the only time the word “tenant” is mentioned comes in the Sec. 5, where it eliminates rent control.

In reality, Prop 98 slashes into the heart of tenant protections. It is a dangerous ruse to use the issue of eminent domain to dramatically increase property rights in a way that was never envisioned in the past.

Super-Awesome-Fun-Time Yes on Prop 98 Ad

 My Disclosure.

The Yes on Prop 98 folks have launched what I think might go down as one of the most melodramatic ads ever.  It starts with a couple of kids, who we are made to believe who are siblings who have been ruthlessly forced to move by the big, bad “gummamint” through their evil eminent domain. They’ll never get to see their friends again! Too bad the ad is entirely misleading.

Unfortunately, they didn’t get to talk to the kids of renters who will be forced to move when the landlords who funded this measure kick them and their families out of their apartments. To the children who will be pushed out of California’s major cities because rent control is ended and eviction protections are obliterated.  Apparently, only kids whose parents own a house matter.

Of course, relatively few homes (typically on the order of a few dozen in the state per year) are actually purchased through the use of eminent domain. Furthermore the vast majority of these incidents involve public uses of the land, roads, fire stations, that kind of thing. But the truth was never really an obstacle the right-wingers cared much about.

But the tide is clearly turning against the Landlords power grab. Even Republicans, like former Governor Pete Wilson, and the odious and ineffective George Radonovich (R-Mariposa), are turning against this stinker of a proposition. But these ads are going up across the state, and turnout will be shockingly low. So, we need to turn out voters from LA and SF. Check out the No on Prop 98 Website for what you can do to help.

PPIC Numbers are encouraging on Revenue, Props 98 & 99

PPIC unleashed their latest statewide survey late last night, and the numbers are showing improvement for the progressive positions on a number of issues. Prop 98 is going down 37-41, and 99 is up 53-27, and both Democratic nominees are beating McCain. But for this post, I’ll focus on revenue:

Nearly all Californians (94%) see the state budget situation as at least somewhat of a problem today. With the reality of state spending cuts hitting home, concern about the effects has grown dramatically. Today, 56 percent of Californians say they are very concerned about the effects of spending reductions in the governor’s budget plan, up 20 points since January (36%).

The upshot is that Californians are now apparently more willing to consider tax increases as part of a solution to the budget crisis. When asked how they would most prefer to deal with the state’s budget gap, 42 percent of Californians choose a mix of spending cuts and tax increases, up from 36 percent in December. And fewer seem to view spending cuts alone as an option (down from 42% in December to 30% today). Democrats and Republicans remain wide apart on budget solutions-but they have edged closer. Most significantly, Republicans today are less likely than in December to support dealing with the budget gap mostly through spending cuts (down from 61% in December to 50% today) and are more likely to support a mix of spending cuts and tax increases (up from 25% to 35%). One thing all sides can agree on? Majorities of Democrats (66%), independents (67%), and Republicans (69%) believe major changes are needed in California’s budget process.

I added the emphasis there. Just 30% percent of Californians think that we should deal with our budget deficit through cuts alone, and even half of Republicans think that we should be looking at revenue increases. Yet the Republicans continue to fight for the privileges of yacht owners, or oil companies, or other large corporate interests over what is best for Californians. These numbers bear out the fact that the GOP delegation in the legislature no longer represents their constituents. They represent the Club for Growth. They represent the corpse of Howard Jarvis, but they do not represent real, hard-working Californians.

Flip it, please.

Another number that jumps out at you there is the strong support for budget reform. Now, there’s a loaded question if I ever heard one. To Entitled McClintock and his ilk, that means that the legislature should have less power over how to deal with the finances, and letting a minority of the state thwart the democratically elected representatives of the people. While he’s busy taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from the state to make sure his Ventura Cty. gardens are well maintained and attacking the Governator for his mathematics abilities, he’s still got plenty of ideas on how to “fix” the budget on his blog. But, McClintock’s ideas are out of touch with the sentiments of Californians. Californians want their state government to be responsive, rather than endlessly debate the revenue problems without doing anything. Why do 63% of Californians think that the state is run by a few big interests? Probably because they only need a small minority to block the passage of the budget. It’s just too easy for the Chamber, and the HJTAs (Howard Jarvis Tax Association) of the world.

A taste of what’s to come if the BAD Prop 98 passes

I do some web work for No on 98.

The ABC affiliate in SF did a story about one of the mobile home parks in San Rafael tripling rates after San Rafael’s rent control ordinance was overturned. You can view the story here. Unsurprisingly, the landowner, Sam Zell’s Equity Lifestyle immediately almost tripled the rents at the Contempo mobile home park. The decision itself is probably bad law as other courts have found rent control to be a valid exercise of a city’s power, but that doesn’t change the consequences for many of Contempo’s residents.

If we Prop 98 passes, the advocates say, the old tenants will be grandfathered in. That’s true, but only so long as they stay in the house.  In addition to permanent vacancy decontrol, Prop 98 eliminates much of the protections against evictions. So, landlords can just evict long-standing tenants and rent the unit at the higher market rents and poof there goes rent control for those renters. We can see how this traumatizes a community, just for the sake of a few landlords.

As I said Monday, June will be a low turnout election. We need to make sure the progressive voters turnout to save rent control and tenant protections.

UPDATE: I neglected to include information about the case. It is MHC Financing Limited Partnership v. City of San Rafael. Apparently MHC likes to challenge rent control in California, as they also challenged the City of Santee’s rent control ordinance. The Court of Appeal for the fourth district overturned a trial court decision striking down Santee’s rent control ordinance. But, MHC did not give up. Nope, they sued San Rafael too, and won in the trial court. Now let’s see if they can get the federal circurit court to agree with them too. If so, it would be a disaster for tenant rights.

The BAD Prop 98: Getting their $ from landlords, and banking on progressives not showing up

I do some web work for No on 98.

The Yes on Prop 98 released their financial data, and not a lot of shockers in there. Guess who is financing the campaign. Really, guess, because I’ll bet you will get it right.

If you guessed landlords, you get a gold star! Good job! The Yes on 98 campaign loves to talk about how it’s all ’bout eminent domain, and destroying tenants rights is just a happy coincidence.  It’s funny how the money never lies: Prop 98 is all about ending rent control and tenants rights. Of the approximately $2.7 million raised for Yes on 98, almost $2.2 comes from landlords. 83%! A quick breakdown of where that’s coming from, and you can see that the apartment and mobile home park owners really, really want to see the end of rent control:

  • $1,009,918 from apartment owner interests, including $291,329 from the Apartment Owners Association PAC, $183,450 from individual apartment owners and managers, $124,164 from local apartment association organizations and PACs and $410,974 from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. The Jarvis Association has long historical ties to apartment owner interests, including three current board members with direct ties to the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles.
  • $1,252,852 from mobile home park owner interests, including $1,006,832 from individual mobile home park owners, $204,020 from the Western Manufactured Housing Communities Issues PAC, and $42,000 from the Manufactured Housing Education Trust.
  • These landlord interests are betting tenants and pro-tenant voters won’t bother to show up at the June primary. Heck, Jon Coupal, head of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, aka the Prop 13 people, out and out says it at one of their meetings that I found a clip of online. We have to make sure that every progressive voter in SF, LA, and the rest of the tenant-heavy communities shows up and votes on June 3 (or before by using their VBM ballot). Check about 50 seconds into the clip where he talks about the “other good thing”. Yup, for conservatives, low turnout is always a good thing.  We simply cannot have Prop 98 passing for a litany of reasons, many of which have been spoken here before. But, just in case, here are some links here, here, here, and here.

    Finally, if you are a video person, the No on 98 campaign has a video contest with a $1,000 reward. Videos are due on March 28 (this FRIDAY!) so get them in soon.  

    CA Chamber of Commerce opposes the landlord scheme

    I do some web work for No on 98.

    I don’t often get to praise the CA Chamber of Commerce, but today is that lucky day.  The California Chamber of Commerce has voted to go NO on the landlord scheme, Prop 98. Prop 98 eliminates rent control, other protections for renters, and could harm our ability to protect our environment.

    Given that the main supporters of this initiative has been the nutso Howard Jarvis Association, which actively campaigned for Prop 98 at the CRP convention, this endorsement should eat into the Republican support for Prop 98.  While the Chamber stayed neutral on Prop 99, the coalition against Prop 98 and for Prop 99 has grown further.

    Check the flip for the full list.

    UPDATE: Also, I hear some folks will be picketing an Apartment owners meeting in Oakland this morning. You want to join them? I’m sure it will be a rocking good time.  Dean Preston of Tenants Together will be joined by leaders for seniors and other tenants groups. Political blotter link here.

    Dozens of seniors, tenants and community rights activists from Oakland/Bay Area will protest and march outside the Rental Housing Association of Northern Alameda County (RHA) convention on Saturday, March 15 at 11:00AM, 4700 Lincoln Ave, Oakland (in front of Greek Orthodox Church on the sidewalk.)


        *  California Chamber of Commerce (only oppose Prop. 98)

       * San Marcos Chamber of Commerce

       * California National Organization for Women (only oppose Prop. 98)

       * Strategic Actions for a Just Economy

       * National Lawyers Guild – Los Angeles Chapter

       * Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) – Southern California Chapter

       * Endangered Habitats League

       * Progressive Jewish Alliance

       * People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER)

       * Homeowners Acting Together H.A.T.

       * South Asian Network

       * Sonoma County Mobilehome Owners Association

       * St. Peter’s Housing Committee

       * Los Rancheros Association, Inc.

       * County Mobilehome Positive Action Committee

       * San Marcos Mobilehome Residents Association

       * Mountain Springs Homeowners Association

       * San Rafael Mobile Home Estates Homeowners Association

       * GSMOL Chapter 820

       * GSMOL Chapter 1200

    A misleading title moves along to the ballot

    I do some web work for No on 98.

    A while back, I mentioned a lawsuit against AG Jerry Brown regarding the ballot title for prop 98, “EMINENT DOMAIN. LIMITS ON GOVERNMENT AUTHORITY.” You see, that really doesn’t clearly articulate what Prop 98 does.  But, let’s just think about the amount of people this actually impacts. Eminent domain? A few hundred per year. Rent Control? Several hundred thousand.

    So which one should be in the ballot title? Hmmm. Nonetheless, the judge ruled that Brown, while perhaps wrong, didn’t actually overstep his authority. Under the law, being wrong isn’t enough, but rather you must be super-wrong. So wrong that you didn’t have authority to be that wrong. So, when you get that June ballot in the mail, for prop 98 it will say “Eminent Domain. Limits on Government Authority.” despite the fact that it will impact far more people through its rent control provisions than through eminent domain.  

    You know, the thing that I don’t get here is why Brown wouldn’t include it. After all, it’s pretty clear he has designs on reliving the 80’s by running for governor again. You’d think he wouldn’t try to intentionally mess with the tenants organizations.  But, alas, the enigma that is Jerry Brown continues.