Real Eminent Domain Reform Ballot Measure Qualifies for California's June Ballot

Threatened Home and Business Owners Cheer

Jan 16, 2008, 00:00 ET from Californians for Property Rights Protection

    SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jan. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, a broad-based
 coalition of California property owners announced that the California
 Secretary of State has certified the qualification of the "California
 Property Owners and Farmland Protection Act" for the June 2008 ballot. In
 November of last year, a coalition of home and business owners, family
 farmers and taxpayer groups submitted over 1.1 million signatures.
     "Government should not be able to profit by seizing private property
 from unwilling sellers for retail or commercial projects," said former
 Sacramento Congressman and campaign finance chair Doug Ose. "Finally,
 Californians will have the opportunity to vote for real reforms that
 protect their homes, small businesses, family farms and places of worship
 from eminent domain abuse."
     While over 40 states have reformed their eminent domain laws since the
 2005 U.S. Kelo v. New London decision, California is not among them. While
 reforms have not come in time to protect some, local property owners in the
 Southern California community of Baldwin Park and the Northern California
 community of Seaside cheer the news that voters will have the chance to
 consider real reforms on the June 2008 ballot.
     According to local residents, the City of Baldwin Park is expediting
 eminent domain proceedings to demolish over 500 homes and small businesses
 in an area of approximately 125 football fields. A letter from the
 developer to the city states that their investors are concerned this ballot
 measure threatens their project and urges the city to seize the properties
 before Election Day. The thousands of dollars in campaign contributions
 used to influence the outcome of the last city election has also prompted
 standing room only protests at city hall.
     "The City of Baldwin Park is using eminent domain to seize my home for
 a development project that benefits a politically connected developer,"
 said homeowner Ms. Cruz Baca Sembello. "They should not be able to take my
 home. Where are my rights?"
     In the Northern California community of Seaside, property owner Tim
 Cunha is among hundreds of property owners fighting the city council and
 the developer, former baseball legend Reggie Jackson.
     "I never thought that something like this could happen to me," said Tim
 Cunha. "Government should not be able to profit by seizing private property
 from unwilling sellers. It shows what little regard government has for the
 personal and financial costs associated with throwing us out on the
     The California Property Owners and Farmland Protection Act, is
 sponsored by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, the California Farm
 Bureau Federation and the California Alliance to Protect Private Property
 Rights. The measure prohibits private to private takings, while allowing
 traditional uses of eminent domain for roads, schools and water projects.
 It is endorsed by NFIB, the Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, the Black
 Chamber of Commerce and a diverse coalition of taxpayer, faith and good
 government organizations. To qualify for the June ballot, 694,354 valid
 signatures were required. For more campaign information, visit

SOURCE Californians for Property Rights Protection