Measure D: Yes or no?
The signers of the United States Constitution believed they must protect individual rights, including property rights, from excessive government power. After signing the Constitution, they fine-tuned it with the Bill of Rights, including the Fifth Amendment.
This amendment provides that no person shall “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
— The “due process” clause requires a fair procedure.
— The “takings” clause requires just compensation.
More than 5,000 registered voters signed a petition putting Measure D on the ballot, expressing their desire for a process that protects present and future property owners under the U.S. Constitution and Article 1, Section 19 of the California Constitution, without having to spend enormous sums or wait 10 years or more to reach a hearing in Superior Court.
— Measure D requests that a fair procedure be put in place in Nevada County.
— Measure D requests a process that provides for just compensation.
Measure D also recognizes that citizens may need protections from governmental bureaucrats, so it places the final resolution of any claim in the hands of an impartial Superior Court judge.
Those opposed to Measure D paint a far different picture, making claims that won’t stand up under scrutiny. Many of these claims are based on a fiscal analysis of a process that has yet to be written, concluding that Measure D will bankrupt the county. It is all smoke and mirrors.
Let’s look at some facts:
— Similar claims were made for Measure F, which passed several years ago, directing the county to spend taxes on roads, and the county is not bankrupt today.
— The “impartial analysis” was made on data provided by the county, and the county paid for the analysis. How could it be impartial?
— Furthermore, the fiscal analysis contractor refuses to stand behind the data: “Seifel Consulting cannot and does not warrant the accuracy of any data utilized to prepare the fiscal estimates of this report.”
— Elsewhere in the document, the fiscal analysis contractor suggests, “The county could choose to enforce fewer regulations, repealing existing regulations to change the methods currently used to implement and enforce land-use regulations.”
How can a study be independent if paid for with county funds using unverified data provided by the county? It obviously was intended to scare the voters with big, unverifiable numbers. Numbers based on assumptions for a process as yet unwritten. How valid can this study be?
Please examine the opposition’s Measure D analysis carefully. It is based on bad assumptions, reaching false conclusions. It raises straw-man situations then applies a process that has not been written yet. How valid can these conclusions be?
It is unfortunate that our power-hungry supervisors are so frightened by the prospect that the will of the people will prevail, and that Measure D will be voted in, that they have resorted to distorting the facts in an attempt to create confusion among the voters. Please read the ballot booklets carefully, as those sections opposing Measure D contain many of these distortions.
Measure D will provide the following protections for present and future property owners:
— Its “existing use and utility” clause insures compliance with existing zoning.
— Its “beneficial use” clause provides for more flexibility than highest and best use.
— It holds county government fiscally accountable for its decisions.
— It insures against improper land-use decisions by the county.
— It provides for a fair evaluation of protested claims by the Superior Court.
All we are asking for is a fair process to provide just compensation when county regulations devalue our property. We’re asking that the constitutions of the United States and the state of California be followed when making land-use decisions. No one gave us our property so why should government expect us to give it away? We are not opposed to open space. We just want government to pay for it, not steal it.
Remember, the county has the option of changing the regulations so they are no longer taking private property for public use. They are in total control of the cost to taxpayers. If there are no takings, there will be no claims and no costs to the county or property owners. The win-win situation is to implement Measure D and then rewrite the regulations. All these actions are under the total control of the current board of supervisors. They have the options and the power, until Measure D returns it to the people – the people our Constitution was written to protect.
Vote YES on Measure D!
Russ Steele is a member of the Citizens for Fair and Balanced Land-use coordinating committee.
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