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Who should decide how Idahoans live on the landscape?

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  • ivalleyid
    Who knows best what your neighborhood and countryside should look like--you and your neighbors, a rich New York real estate investor, or the lawyers?
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 14, 2006
      Who knows best what your neighborhood and countryside should look
      like--you and your neighbors, a rich New York real estate investor,
      or the lawyers?

      Proposition 2 will take the decisions out of your hands. It
      pretends to protect Idaho property owners from the use of "eminent
      domain," the government's reserved power to condemn private property
      for public good. But the Idaho legislator last session passed
      legislation to prevent abuse of eminent domain. Prop 2 basically
      copies the language that's already on the books in Idaho.

      The danger lies behind that facade: Prop 2 would take away your
      ability to help guide growth and development in your town and
      countryside. It derails our democratic process and drives decisions
      to the courtroom. How does it do that? If Prop 2 passes, any
      property owner who feels his property value has decreased as a
      result of new land-use regulation could sue the governing entity for
      perceived losses. For example, suppose that when I bought my
      property, there were no ordinances that prevented me from building a
      junkyard and car-crushing facility on my little patch of rural
      ground. But then my county commissioners pass new ordinances that
      restrict my freedom to do whatever I want, regardless of the
      compatibility of a junkyard with the agricultural and residential
      uses in my neighborhood. Wait just a dang minute, I protest. You're
      messing with my private property rights. I could have made millions
      of dollars by hauling in truckloads of old cars and other junk
      metal, running a crusher twenty-four hours a day, and hauling out
      truckloads of recyclable metal. Prop 2 says, if government enacts
      any new land use restrictions that prevent me from building my
      little junkyard, it has to pay me for taking away the profits I
      might have made. I file a claim for oh, I don't know, say $35
      million dollars. The county has to pay me. How many such claims
      could your county afford to pay? Right: zero. So sensible land use
      planning and zoning vanishes, throwing open the door to "anything
      goes" development. You lose all certainty about what can or cannot
      be done on your property or the property around you or parcels
      adjacent to your kids' school. You lose your voice in the democratic

      Prop 2 is patterned after Prop 37 passed by Oregon voters.
      The "takings" claims filed so far in that state are approaching $5

      Prop 2 is not about protecting private property rights. It's about
      taking decisions out of the hands of citizens and plopping them in
      the courts. The only winners will be the lawyers.

      And whose bright idea was this? The (mostly out-of-state) petition
      gatherers who helped put this initiative on your ballot were paid by
      New York tycoon Howard Rich. Those ads for Prop 2 that you're
      hearing on the radio? Paid for by Howard Rich. Of the hundreds of
      thousands of dollars being spent to push this issue, only $50 came
      from an Idahoan--the anti-government guy who's orchestrating the
      effort. Apparently, Howard Rich thinks you and your fellow Idahoans
      are a bunch of simple country rubes who can be easily duped by the
      mere mention of "eminent domain," "private property rights,"
      and "takings." All you have to do to prove him wrong is go to the
      polls and vote NO on Prop 2.

      To learn more about the pros and cons, and see the gamut of people
      and organizations who oppose Proposition 2, visit
      Then start talking to your coworkers, friends and family about the
      importance of defeating Prop 2 on November 7th. Don't let some out-
      of-state millionaire tell us how to run our lives.
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