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October 2007


   Many have called Assembly Constitutional Amendment 8 (ACA8) “flawed” and “worse than doing nothing at all”.  This eminent domain bill was full of loopholes that rendered it meaningless and it failed to get a two-thirds vote in the State Assembly last month.
   ACA 8, sponsored by the League of California Cities, did not protect businesses, family farms or places of worship, and provided only limited protection for primary residences.  Family Water Alliance wrote numerous letters in opposition of the legislation and testified in front of the State Legislature to assure protections of all private property.  The failure of this legislation is a victory for all Californians. 
   Eminent domain reform is a bipartisan issue, and many are seeking reform after witnessing appalling abuses and the taking of private property for non-public uses in our State.  The California Farm Bureau Federation, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and California Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights have sponsored the California Property Owners Farmland Protection Act (CPOFOA) which will appear on the June 2008 ballot.  This Act will assure that legitimate uses of eminent domain are preserved, but that all abuses of private property rights are no longer allowed in our state.
   The CPOFOA won the support of the California Republican Party. Senator Tom McClintock introduced the Act to the party and said “the Republican Party has reaffirmed its commitment to the American Dream of home ownership and the security of private property rights”.
   In addition to sponsoring ACA 8, the League of Cities is circulating an additional flawed initiative also designed to prevent real reform of eminent domain abuse.  The Leagues initiative does not provide the necessary protection to assure that private property and farmland can not be seized for non-public uses.  The initiative also includes a “poison pill” that is intended to undermine the California Property Owners and Farmland Protection Act.
   With the defeat of ACA8, the taxpayer financed League of California Cities will have to spend millions of dollars to qualify their ballot measure through signature collecting.
   John Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, had this to say about the League’s ballot initiative, “the only constituency that would have any interest in financing the League’s measure is those who benefit from existing practices of eminent domain abuse. Simply put, the League’s ballot measure was drafted by redevelopment interests for those who profit from the status quo.”
   Family Water Alliance is dedicated to protecting private property rights and farmland in our rural communities.  It is important that the voters of California understand the fundamental differences between the ballot initiatives.  ■

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