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?