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Ventura County Perspective

SOAR Threatens Core Values of American System of Government

Belief in representative democracy and respect for private property rights argue against initiatives facing voters.

October 25, 1998|CATHIE WRIGHT | State Sen. Cathie Wright (R-Simi Valley) represents the 19th Senatorial District

I have been involved in our community for 33 years, as a citizen and then, thanks to the people of Simi Valley, as an elected member of the City Council and as mayor. Following my local involvement, a large percentage of Ventura County's good people elected me to the state Assembly and, in 1992, to the state Senate.

I ran for state office to preserve local government and local control through local representation. That's why I feel I must speak out about the Save Open Space and Agricultural Resources initiatives.

I don't think I am being overly dramatic to say that these initiatives threaten two fundamental principles that are the core of our American system of government, and certainly the cornerstone of my personal philosophy: representative democracy and private property rights.

The most significant function that local representative government can perform is to control land use. Local representatives know and understand what matters most to their neighbors and communities. Why? Because their neighbors and community leaders tell them what they think, what they want and do not want to occur in their neighborhoods.

That is the beauty of local representation. Our elected officials make an effort to study the issues, to learn how their decisions are governed by state and federal requirements, and to incorporate that information with what their constituents want to arrive at informed local land-use plans and zoning decisions. SOAR would turn these decisions over to the voting public.

Are you, as a registered voter, prepared to assume the responsibility of land-use planning decisions? Do you have time in your busy schedule to do all that research for yourself? SOAR would force you to make those decisions.

Are you prepared to live with the long-term and inevitable unanticipated consequences of your land-use decisions? Elected representatives do so when they face the voters at election time.

Are you prepared, as a property owner, to place decisions potentially affecting your property in the hands of your fellow registered voters? Do you trust your fellow voters, strangers to you, to make decisions that determine the value of your property?

If your answers are "yes," then by all means vote for Measure B, the countywide SOAR initiative--and live with the consequences.

If you believe that telling farmers or other landowners the circumstances under which they can sell their land and to whom they can or cannot sell their land is an American thing to do, then by all means vote for Measure B--and live with the consequences.

But if, like me, you stubbornly hold on to faith in our local representation system, if you value your right to own property and to determine the future of that property, then join me in voting no on Measure B and the city SOAR measures as well.

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