Family Water Alliance - Learn more
About Us
Our Issues
Flood Control
You Can Help
Photo Gallery
Contact us
Green Ribbon Reports
Visit the Fish Forum
Green Ribbon Reports

Spring 2008

Two Measures Battle for Property Rights

Voters will be casting their votes this June for one of the two competing eminent domain reform initiatives. California has been the leader in battling such things as global warming, but has been unsuccessful in protecting the private property rights of Californians. California is also known as one of the worst abusers of eminent domain in the nation. Over 40 states have enacted private property rights protection since the Kelo vs. City of New London landmark Supreme Court decision, which held that local governments have the power to take privately owned homes and property by employing eminent domain powers to make way for more lucrative private real estate proposals that will result in increased tax revenues.

Attempts to reform eminent domain failed in 2006 when Proposition 90 lost by a small margin. This year two different initiatives will be on the ballot, but will voters understand the difference between the two?

The first initiative is the California Property Owners and Farmland Protection Act (“CPOFPA”) which is Proposition 98 on the June ballot. The bill is co-sponsored by California Farm Bureau Federation, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the California Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights. According to the Institute for Justice, a non profit organization who litigated the Kelo vs. New London case before the U.S Supreme Court, “CPOFPA restores constitutional protections against eminent domain abuse, and would ensure all homes and small businesses, churches, and farms remain in the hands of those that own them.”

Furthermore, the initiative also prohibits the seizure of private property in order to acquire water rights and divert water to urban or industrial use. Proposition 98 also prohibits local government from using eminent domain to seize farmland and open space from private property owners to mitigate for development elsewhere, therefore protecting against Conaway Ranch type of seizures.

The second eminent domain initiative is Proposition 99, the “Homeowners and Private Property Protection Act”. The ballot measure is sponsored by the League of California Cities, California State Association of Counties, and redevelopment interests.
The initiative will protect owner occupied residences, but does not offer protections to small businesses, places of worship, farmland, rental or investment properties. According to the No98/Yes99 website “Prop 99 is supported by a broad coalition of homeowners, businesses, labor, cities, counties, and environmentalists who want straightforward eminent domain reform that gets to the heart of the infamous Kelo decision”

FWA commends the efforts of California Farm Bureau Federation, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and California Alliance for Private Property Rights for sponsoring a ballot initiative that protects farmland and rural communities from Conaway Ranch types of eminent domain abuse.

This June voters will have to decide what private property rights need to be protected in California and what eminent domain reform will best protect California private property owners. ■

Proposition 98

Proposition 99

California Property Owners & Farmland Protection Act

Homeowners & Private Property Protection Act





California Farm Bureau Federation

Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

California Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights

League of California Cities

California State Association of Counties

California Redevelopment Association




Return to the Losing the Family Farm index

Home | Top