Friday, Nov. 3, 2006 | Kudos to voiceofsandiego.org for running, not just one, but two commentaries encouraging us to support Proposition 90. Fred Schnaubelt’s essay was expected, given his long standing as a property rights activist. Parke Troutman’s argument against Proposition 90, however, brings us to the core of the issue, even deeper than reaffirmation of the Fifth Amendment. Proposition 90 is about who will control private property in California – political, or politically connected, elitists, or the average Joe.
As a newly enshrined member of the intellectual elite, Professor Troutman does his best to toe the elitist line. It is doubtful, however, that he has ever been confronted by eminent domain, or even thought about the issue that much up until now. He contends that in the aftermath of the Kelo decision that the media “exaggerated” the scope of eminent domain, leading to a national backlash. If he doubts just how pervasive and abusive eminent domain has been in this state and nationally, I suggest that he reads “Abuse of Power” by Steven Greenhut, which was published in 2004 – a full year before the Kelo decision.
Professor Troutman further contends that Proposition 90 would allow for land use laws to be challenged in court, before being enacted, which he terms “pre-sued.” Don’t all San Diegans wish that we had the ability to “pre-sue” bad laws within the past ten years? Instead, self-anointed elitists, such as Councilman Scott Peters, have had free rein to dig us a financial hole, from which it will take decades to recover. Would the average Joe have done something as intuitively asinine as voting to under fund the pension, while increasing retiree benefits even once, let alone twice? Would the average Joe have voted to overcharge residential sewer customers, while undercharging commercial users, in violation of state law? Obviously not. The average Joe does not go bankrupt, not even once. The average Joe does not have his water service shut off for nonpayment, not even once. The average Joe is expert at living within his means.
If San Diego is any example, we are better off limiting the power of the elites. That is why, come Tuesday, I will be voting for the average Joe, and I will be voting Yes on Proposition 90.