Who should decide how Idahoans live on the landscape?
- 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.