Americans for Limited Government is running a national effort to repeal state and local zoning laws and environmental protections. These laws and regulations protect individual homeowners and businesses by setting community standards and promoting certainty that inappropriate development will not decrease the value and use of your property.
In Washington State they have contributed over $260,000 toward passing Initiative 933. But Washington State is not alone in Americans for Limited Government’s efforts to repeal zoning and growth management protections.
Americans for Limited Government is also behind initiative efforts to overturn zoning, growth management and environmental protection safeguards in Arizona, California, Idaho, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, as well as Washington State.
Recently a cartoon video showed up at a website in Washington State supporting Initiative 933. www.yeson933.com. (See also PDC complaint by Evergreen Politics) This same video has also shown up on other states’ websites. Minor modifications are made to localize each video to each state, like a local freeway and the local initiative. Not surprising when looking up the media creator – Political Media is the fact that its President Larry Ward was involved in working with the US Chamber of Commerce on Bush’s re-election. He also was involved with the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation to help turn out the African American Vote for Bush.
The cartoon video is a hideous misrepresentation of the issues and facts involved The video is intent on portraying corrupt politicians in cahoots with Mafia Developers intent on taking away your home and business and church. They are obviously trying to reach Latino voters and black voters and young voters and the conservative Christian Right and are doing so with racial stereotypes.
The appeal is to scare Americans into unjustified fear that the evil politicians are going to kick you out of your home and tear down your church and shut minority businesses down. It is a campaign pandering to fear, intent on creating further racial division and further distrust in government.
Does this racial division get results? Well the California Black Chamber of Commerce must believe it because they issued a press release urging voters to support Prop 90 – the “Protect our Homes Initiative on the Nov. Ballot.
Here is the video on Arizona’s site – “Hope for Arizona” which is pushing Prop 207. They even issued a press release, saying it depicted “eminent domain abuse”. They make no mention of the fact that the video is also being used in other states and is part of a national effort..
A disclaimer at the bottom of the Arizona ad says “This message is sponsored by the Arizona Home Owners Protection Effort. Neither HBO nor any individuals affiliated with HBO approved, sponsored or endorsed this message.” It’s also available for iPOD and PSP and a link to MySpace shows it prominently at the top of the page.
And not to leave any stone unturned, this politics of division is also being used to pass their message on to not just black voters and Latino voters and young voters but also through churches. The Americans for Limited Government Foundation has put up a website called “Protect our Homes and Churches
The website says they “are a growing coalition of pastors who are fighting eminent domain abuse.Right now, in many states, local politicians can take homes and churches away from their owners and give them to private developers. Too often, the victims are those who don’t have the resources to fight back.”
As Bush and Rove found, the politics of division works. And so does building strategic coalitions with unlikely interests whose ultimate goals are very different. Members of the black and Latino community often work in low paying jobs. Americans for Limited Government is not interested in seeing government raise the minimum wage or provide adequate health care or lower the price of subscription drugs.
Americans for Limited Government is interested in just that – limited government. Their goals are very different from those of many of the people they are recruiting to support their causes. Americans for Limited Government’s Chairman, Howard Rich, for example also sits on the Boards of the CATO Institute, the Club for Rome and the Rose and Milton Friedman Foundation – all conservative right wing groups. Rich was a prominent former member of the National Libertarian Party. Rich is in fact a multimillionaire real estate developer. Don’t you see something phony about their cartoon video?
In Washington State you can visit the website of those opposed to I-933 at www.noon933.org You can volunteer to help spread the message about the deceitful tactics of the proponents of Initiative 933.
In addition check out these recent posts on DailyKos:
– Yes on 933 is Lying to Rural Property Rights Activists about Eminent Domain by reifman