A limited-government group chaired by New York real estate investor Howard Rich has put another $1 million into the drive to pass California’s Proposition 90, raising the total of Rich-connected contributions to the “Yes on 90” campaign to more than $3.3 million.
Of the four takings initiatives on state ballots this fall, Proposition 90 has become the focal point of Rich’s property-rights efforts. The $1 million contribution on September 18 to the Protect Our Homes Coalition, which is pushing the measure, came from Chicago-based Americans for Limited Government, which says it wants to “stop eminent-domain abuse once and for all,” and also “stop the government from devaluing property in other ways.”
The Protect Our Homes Coalition’s Web site points to a survey of 1,879 likely California voters by Datamar, Inc., released on September 18, that found that 61.3 percent of respondents supported Proposition 90, 24 percent opposed it, and 14.7 percent were undecided. Respondents were told only that the measure “will prohibit state and local governments from condemning private property for other private uses.”
Opponents point to a survey of 762 likely voters by Field Research Corporation, released on August 2. In the Field Poll, 46 percent of the respondent said they planned to vote for Proposition 90, 31 percent said they planned to vote against it, and 23 percent said they were undecided. Respondents were given a more thorough description of the measure’s regulatory-takings and eminent-domain provisions.
Californians Against the Taxpayer Trap, which opposes Proposition 90, notes that, as of October 3, at least 11 newspapers in the state, including The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Sacramento Bee, and the San Jose Mercury News, had gone on record against the initiative in editorials.
A recent editorial in newspapers owned by the San Gabriel Valley News Group, for example, argued that Proposition 90 could “encourage frivolous lawsuits against cities, counties and the state that will have to be defended with public money.”