California voters will decide on Tuesday whether to restrict the government’s ability to seize private property and whether to abolish rent control when they vote on propositions 98 and 99.
Though Proposition 98 attempts to limit the reasons by which the state government can take someone’s land, it also eliminates rent control, which is not mentioned in TV commercials.
For this reason, more than 300 individuals and groups, including local, city and state officials, as well as organizations, associations and newspapers are supporting Proposition 99, which imposes limits on land seizure, also known as eminent domain, but only for owner-occupied land, not commercial land.
Assemblyman Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys) said, “Proposition 98 is terrible and I don’t want to see it become law.”
“I know what it’s like to be a renter, and I understand the importance the protection of rent control provides,” Levine said. “It helps people on fixed incomes like senior citizens or students who don’t have a lot of money.”
Levine says he supports Proposition 99 because of the way in which it is written. As long as it garners more votes than Proposition 98, the measure cannot be passed into law.
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) said Proposition 98 is “a sneaky, underhanded attempt to abolish rent control in the State of California.”
Sherman more or less agrees with Levine in that supporting Proposition 99 is another way to vote against Proposition 98.
Students expressed similar concerns about the dueling propositions.
“People should vote no on Proposition 98. It would put a lot of people with low earnings out of a home, and that’s not good for the city,” said Thanos Karasikis, 25, a sociology major.
Karasikis says some of his friends at CSUN live in rent-controlled apartments, and he is concerned for them.
Kristen Berry, 22, a child development major, says she is looking for a rent-controlled apartment in Santa Monica and wouldn’t be able to afford living there any other way.
Andrea Lobos, 22, a business major, says every city should ensure affordable housing is available.
“It’s only fair. People want fast food restaurants in their neighborhoods, so they need to have housing available for the workers who are in service jobs,” Lobos said. “Now that housing is so expensive, we need to give students help too.”
Others, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, oppose Proposition 98 because of the eminent domain issue, but they do not support Proposition 99.
Brendan Huffman, president and CEO of Valley Industry and Commerce Association, says his organization opposes both propositions.
Huffman said very few voters can make an informed choice because eminent domain is a complicated issue.
“Proposition 98 goes too far and Proposition 99 doesn’t go far enough,” Huffman said.
“The number of lawsuits that will occur if Proposition 98 goes into effect because of infrastructure projects will be very large,” Huffman said. “Issues as complicated as (eminent domain) need to be done at the legislative level. This is what we elected legislators do to solve complicated issues.”
To learn more about Proposition 98 and Proposition 99 before voting in the primary election tomorrow, visit California’s Official Voter Information Guide Web site.