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Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2007 | “It’s Deception 101.” That’s what Councilman Jim Madaffer said of the California Property Owners and Farmland Protection Act (CPOFPA), as property rights activists announced that they have collected more than 1 million signatures to place this eminent domain reform initiative on the June ballot. During his stint at Café San Diego, Councilman Jim referred to Economics 101. Now, I’m not sure which of these entry-level classes the young Madaffer actually attended, but I’m pretty sure he spent more time studying deception than economics.

As evidence, I present the Grantville redevelopment project. At its core this project is a fraud. In California, redevelopment projects are meant to eradicate blight. A quick tour through the area will prove to anyone that the area is not blighted. The major problems to be fixed, according to the councilman, were flooding and traffic congestion. But wait, when Grantville plans were actually revealed more than a year after the project was initiated, the goal was changed to adding more than 12,000 new residents to the community. The highest population density will be on the banks of the creek that occasionally overflows. What about traffic and flooding?

Furthermore, to make the project work, the redevelopment agency and the councilman need to have eminent domain authority. Properties or businesses that do not conform to the new Grantville need to go. True, Grantville is an older community, but there are many successful, small businesses that have been there for a long time. These people need the protection of the CPOFPA.

Many of these folks may have not taken Economics 101, but they have figured it out on their own. Considering two personal bankruptcies, and votes to underfund the pension and undercharge commercial sewer customers (“Let ’em sue us!”), this is more than we can say for Mr. Madaffer.

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