Showing posts from May, 2008

98 vs 99

On the ballot for the upcoming election are two competing propositions, 98 and 99. Both deal with eminent domain, the power of government to take private property for "public use." As many of you may already know, in what was probably the least popular U.S. Supreme Court decision of all time, the term public use was defined as any use a government thinks will work better than what is there now. This gave local governments the right to force homeowners to sell their homes so someone else could build shopping centers in their place. Prior to this decision, it was assumed that public use was limited to things like roads, parks, and other, well, publicly owned things. Propositions 98 and 99 are the latest attempts to fix this injustice, at least within California. Earlier attempts failed because they tried to do more than this one thing. Their authors decided to use the public outrage against the Supreme Court decision as an excuse to have eminent domain redefined their way, by t