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Propositions and property rights

May 06, 2008

Re "Inside Props. 98, 99," column, May 1

This is one renter who is voting for Proposition 98 (and against Proposition 99, which deliberately subverts the effort to protect property rights).

At first, it seems the rent control provision also undermines Proposition 98's key purpose, but there is consistency here, as both rent control and eminent domain abuse are inconsistent with America's libertarian principles. Both propositions are about subsidies. New renters subsidize me, more so the longer I've stayed put. And the longer I stay, the more trapped I become. Moving would be economic idiocy.

Meanwhile, eminent domain is often invoked for corporate welfare. It is a weapon used to threaten small-business people and property owners.

Those currently abusing this governmental power are behind Proposition 99. George Skelton is wrong. If you vote no on 98, please vote no on 99 too. Maybe we'll get it right next time, or the Legislature could do its job and save us the trouble of writing the perfect proposition.

Edward Bowers

Sherman Oaks

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Skelton does a fine job explaining the issues in Propositions 98 and 99, but he doesn't go far enough in explaining the subterfuges behind Proposition 98.

He writes correctly that Proposition 90 was narrowly defeated two years ago because local governments and environmentalists complained that it went too far. But as important to its defeat was the exposure of developers who were using the popular eminent domain issue as a cover for their unrelated attack on rezoning.

Similarly, the Apartment Owners Assn. of California now is using the eminent domain issue as a cover for its attack on rent control. This device of bait-and-add-on (the basic strategy of pork-barrel legislation) is shamefully devious and must be rejected on June 3.

We must not let businessmen pretend to advocate for the public good while they sneak through measures for their own profit at the public's expense. Vote no on 98.

Jane Goldblatt

Los Angeles

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