Measure C OK’d; D’s defeat seen |

Measure C OK’d; D’s defeat seen

Nevada County voters are apparently defeating a controversial property rights initiative while extending a library sales tax by a wide margin.

With 49 of 121 precincts reporting as of 11:15 p.m. Tuesday, nearly 57 percent rejected Measure D, a ballot measure that would set up a claims reimbursement process to determine whether a property owner’s land has been devalued by county regulations.

Even some of Measure D’s chief backers were suggesting before the polls opened that the issue might be defeated.

Margaret Urke, executive director of the California Association of Business, Property and Resource Owners, said Monday the organization simply ran out of time.

“I think we could have done a better job in getting our word out.”

Russell Steele, who served on the committee pushing for Measure D’s passage, said the early absentee count and the fact that less than half the ballots had been counted didn’t necessarily mean Measure D would be defeated.

Even though the ballot measure appeared to be headed to defeat, supervisor candidate Drew Bedwell said there’s still a silver lining.

“I think it’s unfortunate and expected, but there are a lot more people that are aware of what’s going on in our county as it pertains to land use and property rights,” said Bedwell, an ardent opponent of Natural Heritage 2020, the county’s long-range planning effort that was scrapped this summer.

Measure D was placed on the ballot by county supervisors in July, and was met with opposition from powerful individuals such as 1st District Supervisor Peter Van Zant and former San Juan Ridge-area Supervisor Sam Dardick, who noted the initiative, if passed, would jeopardize the county’s general fund and put a crimp in money for public safety.

Dardick, with Conklin and Martin supporters at the Miners Foundry in Nevada City Tuesday, said voters made the right choice.

“I couldn’t feel better. The voters are beginning to make sense,” Dardick said. “The people in this county are still concerned about growth, that they want smart growth and want good planning.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s a victory for Nevada County.”

Had it passed, Measure D would have set up a process by which the Nevada County Superior Court would have oversight in determining how much to compensate property owners for loss of market value of their property.

Had it passed, Dardick said the initiative would almost certainly have been challenged in court. A similar initiative was recently overturned by Oregon courts.

Measure D backers raised over $43,000 to support the initiative, which was tracked by national media outlets, including National Public Radio. The campaign became visible to many Nevada County residents as backers used many of the “No on NH2020” signs to paste “Still Alive” placards on the roadside boards.

As voters were turning down one of two county-wide ballots, they pledged overwhelming support for Measure C, extending the one-eighth cent sales tax for library services initially passed four years ago.

With no organized opposition, the measure was winning easily; 76.4 percent voted to extend the tax with over 54 percent of Nevada County precincts reporting.

The sales tax has paid for additional hours at Nevada County library branches in Truckee and Grass Valley, and the main library in Nevada City. Since the tax’s inception in 1998, two satellite branches in Penn Valley and at Bear River High School have opened. Nearly 60,000 books have been added to the county-wide collection, as well.

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