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Million sign petition

Coalition seeks to protect farmland, private property

Press staff report Pioneer Press, November 28, 2007 

SACRAMENTO -- Californians for Property Rights Protection announced last week that they will submit more than one million signatures to qualify the California Property Owners and Farmland Protection Act for the June 2008 ballot.

This eminent domain reform measure they say will stop government from taking homes, family farms, small business and places of worship and from giving the land to other private interests.

"We are submitting this ballot measure to prevent government from snatching private property from unwilling sellers to benefit wealthy and politically connected developers," said former Senator Jim Nielsen and chairman of the California Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights. "California law needs to be changed to protect all California property owners from eminent domain abuse."

The California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce is on board, too. Chairman Ken Macias said that Hispanic business owners deserve private property protections.

"This initiative is the only measure that will appear on the June ballot that protects our members from eminent domain abuse," he said.

"California laws need to be changed to prohibit the kind of eminent domain abuse that allows government to profit by seizing homes and small businesses and giving it to politically connected developers," said National Federation of Independent Business California executive director John Kabateck.

"Eminent domain abuse is putting California family farms and ranches at risk," said Linden farmer Kenny Watkins, second vice president of the California Farm Bureau Federation. "We need this measure to protect against sprawl and assure that farmland stays in private ownership, so it can continue to provide the food and farm products that Californians need."

The ballot measure does the following;

1) Prohibits government from using eminent domain for private purposes, while allowing eminent domain to be used for legitimate public uses like building roads, schools, other government buildings and water projects.

2) Provides procedural reforms and full compensation when property is seized for public purposes, including lifting the current $10,000 cap on reimbursable expenses associated with legal and other expenses for those property owners displaced by eminent domain.

To protect the State's food supply and open space, prohibits public agencies from seizing family farms, ranches and other property in order to acquire water rights or acquire farmland land to further enable urban sprawl.

3) Prohibits government from setting the price at which property owners sell or lease their property, but does not affect tenants currently living in rent-regulated communities.

"Simply stated, our ballot measure protects all California property owners," said Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association president Jon Coupal. "Never again will government use eminent domain to destroy a person's home and livelihood."

For more information, see www.yesonpropertyrights.com.
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