Thursday, October 12, 2006

Proposition 90 Decried at Economic Group Breakfast

Proposition 90 Decried at Economic Group Breakfast
By Ben Antonius

VACAVILLE - The future under Proposition 90 is none too cheery, according to speakers at Wednesday morning's Solano Economic Development Corp. breakfast.

That was the general message of the session, which addressed the ramifications of eight of the 13 voter initiatives on the Nov. 7 ballot. Like many lobby groups statewide, the Solano ED has come out in strong opposition to the proposition.

If successful, Proposition 90 would wind up costing the state tens of billions of dollars in lawsuits and cripple the operation of local governments, predicted Chris McKenzie, executive director of the League of California Cities.

The ballot measure would limit the government's ability to seize private property and would allow compensation to anyone whose property is negatively affected by a government decision.

That has many worried, including McKenzie, who said it would lead to frivolous lawsuits, increased energy and transportation costs because of land-acquisition issues and be the demise of urban planning.

"Even things you would never think would result in compensation claims will do that under 90," he said. "This is a constitutional amendment, so once it's in there it would be very hard to change."

The Yes on 90 campaign is being bankrolled by Howie Rich, a New York-based land developer and property-rights activist. Proponents have argued that the government should not force people to use their land a certain way and have pointed to recent controversial decisions on eminent domain to suggest the power is being misused.

McKenzie's talk coincided with the debut of ad campaign by No on 90. The measure has drawn an unusually wide consortium of opponents around the state, including taxpayer and environmental groups, labor groups, both U.S. senators and dozens of local government officials.

Several other ballot initiatives were covered during the meeting by speaker Dan Sharp, including several bond initiatives that would provide billions for schools, roads and security and smaller sums for a variety of other items.

Sharp also gave the audience a summary of how the various measures are doing in recent polls: Proposition 1A is doing well and many of the bonds are not. Proposition 90 has been leading as well, he said, adding that "a lot can change in a month in politics."

Reach Ben Antonius at 427-6977 or

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