Beware of enemies of property rights bearing pallid imitations of the real thing.
Californians face an alternative on the upcoming June ballot: protect their private property, or expose it to the continued attack of politicians and private entities seeking easy ill-gotten gain.
Proposition 98 is the real thing. It would outlaw taking private property for private use. It defines â€œjust compensationâ€ in detail so that persons who lose property to a public use have a better chance of being fairly compensated. It would enable the original owner of a property to buy it back if it was grabbed under false pretenses. And Prop 98 also phases out rent control.
All this is spelled out in Californiaâ€™s official ballot summary. But opponents complained about the official title â€” â€œGovernment Acquisition, Regulation of Private Propertyâ€ â€” saying it doesnâ€™t mention the ban on rent control. Which is, however, clearly stated in the summary. In any case, the courts have rebuffed this attempt to undermine the measure.
Opponents prefer Proposition 99, a much more limited measure. It states that eminent domain may not be abused to steal an â€œowner-occupied residence.â€ So Prop 99 basically sanctions the stateâ€™s grabbing of small businesses â€” or any property for any purpose at all if you happen not to live there.
Sorry, 99. But youâ€™re not the right choice for real advocates of property rights.
This is Common Sense. Iâ€™m Paul Jacob.