17 July 2005

Californians Could Weigh a Kelo Less

On 14 July 2005, Tom McClintock, a State Senator from California's 19th District, gave a press conference regarding the now infamous Kelo Decision. Senator McClintock has authored SCA 15 and ACA 22, which essentially will change the California Constitution to prevent the take of land. The title of SCA 15 reads, "A resolution to propose to the people of the State of California an amendment to the Constitution of the State, by amending Section 19 of Article I thereof, relating to eminent domain." It is commonly known as The Homeowner and Property Protection Act.

The proposed amendment (Section 19 [a] and [b]) to the California Constitution would read as follows
The California Constitution authorizes governmental entities to take or damage private property for public use only when just compensation, ascertained by a jury unless waived, has first been paid to, or into court for, the owner. It also authorizes the Legislature to provide for possession by the condemnor following commencement of the eminent domain proceedings upon deposit in court, and prompt release to the owner, of the money determined by the court to be the probable amount of the just compensation.
This measure would add a condition that private property may be taken or damaged by eminent domain proceedings only for a stated public use and only upon an independent judicial determination on the evidence that the condemnor has proven that no reasonable alternative exists. The measure would require that the property be owned and occupied by the condemnor, except as specified, and used only for the stated public use. This measure would also provide that if the property ceases to be used for the stated public use, the former owner or a beneficiary or an heir, who has been designated for this purpose, would have the right to reacquire the property for the compensated amount or its fair market value, whichever is less, before the property may be sold or transferred.
Seems fair to me. However, the "redevelopment is necessary because of what we determine to be blight and we can't get your land unless we ED it because the fair market price we offered you was neither fair nor market in price so we have to steal your land from you" people are already up in arms.

The League of California Cities hit the web waves shortly after SCA 15 and ACA were introduced to the press, and used the same tired arguments that they do for everything. This [insert bill or act name here] will result in the loss of jobs, the loss of affordable housing and will undercut smart growth. The league urges Californians to write their elected officials about the McClintock acts. I couldn't agree more. Please write your California State Senator or Assembly Member and demand that they support SCA 15 and ACA 22. The land you save could be yours.

As always, thanks to Greyhawk at The Mudville Gazette for welcoming us in his Open Post.

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