Tag Archives: growth management

Washington State Initiative Races – Post Election Commentary

Washington State Voters on Election Day exercised their collective wisdom in defeating two conservative initiatives and supporting one progressive one.

Initiative 933 – regarding private property

approve …..492,412……42.2%
reject ……….675,160……58%

This rejection of I-933 represents a significant victory. This is the second time this issue has been voted on and each time they have been clear victories for growth management and environmental protection. Washington voters strongly support maintaining growth management, zoning and environmental protections. This law was too extreme in covering both personal and real property and was a threat to community values and taxpayer dollars. The main funders of this measure, out of state New York real estate developer Howard Rich and his Americans for Limited Government, along with the Washington State Farm Bureau, were decisively defeated in their campaign.

Unfortunately voters in Arizona approved their version of the pay or waive legislation by passing Proposition 207 by a 65% to 35% vote. Meanwhile voters in 2 other states, Idaho and California rejected similar measures.
See also  Property Rights Measures Rejected In Washington and Other States But Arizonans pass a regulatory takings measure.

Initiative 920 – regarding the estate tax

approve…..452,310…..38.9%
reject ……….710,415…..61.1%

This is another decisive victory for progressives. The campaign won with a clear message and a great ad that articulated that 99.5% of Washington estates as well as farms were not affected by this tax and that the tax went to fund education for Washington’s children.

Initiative 937 – regarding renewable energy

approve ……602,859…..52.3%
reject ………..554,133…..47.7%

A clear win for proponents of clean energy and secure energy working to give us more energy independence. The initiative requires that by 2020 the major electric utilities in Washington receive 15% of their new energy capacity from renewable energy. Unfortunately a measure in California to create an alternative energy fund lost after huge spending by the oil industry. Now I wonder where they got all that money to oppose alternative energy.

Initiative 933 – Right Wing Extremism in Action.

Washington State’s Initiative 933 on the Nov 7, 2006 ¬†ballot is a snake in the grass. It is deceptive in its intent, which when examined closer, is far beyond the message its supporters are campaigning on. And this criticism is not even related to their deceptive yard signs with false slogans of “Save our Farms” and “Save our Open Space” meant to confuse voters by using the message of their opponents.

No it seems that some people, like out of state New York real estate developer Howard Rich, hate our elected citizen government system so much that they will go to any length to destroy it. Rich is an avowed Libertarian who has so far dumped over $360,000 into Washington State to try to get us to never pass any more laws, rules and regulations affecting not just real estate but any form of private property. He has funded over one third of the I-933 campaign and he doesn’t even live here.

As Howard Rich himself says, initiatives like I-933 bypassing the legislature is a good thing and will have a “very far reaching” impact on future regulatory actions. That is true because if I-933 passes it means that all levels of government will be faced with either waiving or paying to enforce any new laws, rules or regulations that affects someone’s personal property as well as real property(real estate).

The vote on Initiative 933 is significant nationally because I-933 represents a radical expansion of the original campaign over land use and environmental laws affecting real property that was supposedly the issue in Oregon’s Measure 37.

Why is this? The answer lies in the fact that the initiative was deliberately written to cover both personal property and real estate. The sponsors say they intended it this way. Dan Wood running the Farm Bureau’s effort to pass I-933 said so himself.

This expansion of the initiative to cover both real and personal property is what makes the initiative extreme – it talks about all “private property” not just real estate.

Initiative 933 ballot title:
Measure 933 concerns government regulation of private property. This measure would require compensation when government regulation damages the use or value of private property, would forbid regulations that prohibit existing legal uses of private property and would provide exceptions or payments. Should this measure be enacted into law?

Initiative 933 definition:
Private property” includes all real and personal property interests protected by the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution or Article I, Section 16 of the Washington Constitution owned by a nongovernmental entity, including, but not limited to, any interest in land, buildings, crops, livestock, and mineral and water rights.

Foster Pepper lawyer Hugh Spitzer points out in his analysis that I-933 covers many other issues not even being currently debated because of this expansion of property to include both real and personal property in the definition section. I-933 is written to cover all property not just real estate;

As such Hugh Spitzer notes:
“Claims for public compensation would likely include demands for payments as a result of:
– Regulations governing the insurance, securities and health care industries;Regulations governing professions (such as plumbing, cosmetology, and physical therapy);
– Rules controlling who is qualified to carry out other tasks that require specialized training and experience, such as installing fire sprinkler systems or operating sex offender treatment facilities; and
– Regulations governing wild and domestic animals, livestock, food crops,fertilizers, pesticides, drugs and motor vehicles “

These are just a few examples but they point out why you should vote No on Initiative 933. It is a deceptive initiative that goes far beyond what many of its sponsors say it covers.

And under I-933 anyone can bring a legal suit at no cost regardless of the outcome of the case. Taxpayers pay all expenses of both sides in any court case regarding I-933. The challenger has nothing to lose. It’s a good way to get cash strapped governments to quickly cave in to anyone challenging a new law, rule or regulation which in any way affects personal and real property.

Just as the opponents of I-933 say IT GOES TOO FAR. Vote no on Initiative 933.

addendum:

from Wikipedia:
Property designates those real or intellectual goods that are commonly recognized as being the rightful possessions of a person or group. A right of ownership is associated with property that establishes the good as being “one’s own thing” in relation to other individuals or groups, assuring the owner the right to dispense with the property in a manner he or she sees fit. ….Private property is that which belongs to an individual or a group of individuals (often in the form of individual tradable shares); public property is that which belongs to a whole community collectively or a State.

from Wikipedia:
Real property is a legal term encompassing real estate and ownership interests in real estate (immovable property). It is a type of property differentiated from personal property.

Oregon’s Measure 37 specifically refers only to “private real property” (1) “If a public entity enacts or enforces a new land use regulation or enforces a land use regulation enacted prior to the effective date of this amendment that restricts the use of private real property or any interest therein and has the effect of reducing the fair market value of the property, or any interest therein, then the owner of the property shall be paid just compensation. “

 

Initiative 933 – Who is Howie Rich?

Who is Howard Rich? Voters in Washington might want to know since the organization he chairs, Americans for Limited Government, has contributed $260,000 to the Farm Bureau’s effort to eliminate zoning and growth management protections for property owners in Washington State.

Initiative 933 is a snake hiding in the grass. Supporters say it will prevent the government taking away your property without compensation. In reality, it allows developers to extort taxpayers to either pay them for not doing a development that zoning and growth management laws prohibit or force government to waive the laws and regulations that protect homeowners and businesses from inappropriate and environmentally damaging development.

How desperate are the supporters of I-933? The yeson933 website contains a Saturday morning cartoonist video comparing developers to the Mafia in collusion with a corrupt government. What? And it says the issue is the misuse of eminent domain.

Problem is I-933 is not about eminent domain. And one of the biggest supporters of I-933, is New York State real estate developer Howie Rich. I agree he is the villain but not as this cartoon tries to misrepresent the issue. Talk about an attempt to confuse the voters. Or maybe its really an attempt to create controversy and get media attention. The truth doesn’t really matter it seems.

There has been some good work going on elsewhere tracking who Howie Rich is, because he and his cronies at Americans for Limited Government, have been throwing lots of money around to promote not just “Pay or Waive” initiatives , but also Tabor style initiatives to limit government spending and also judicial races.

One great source of information is a website www.HowieRichExposed.com On this site you will find a treasure trove of information. Areas covered include: “Howies Issues, Hidden Money, Shadowy Players and Dirty Tactics” Also there are sections on how you can fight back.

As NOW on PBS reported last week, “Organizations associated with Rich have funneled nearly $7 million into 2006 state initiatives aiming to limit government in 12 states, according to an investigation by The Oregonian published last month. Rich has generally declined to reveal how much of the money comes from his personal wealth, and is not required by campaign finance laws to report how much he privately funds his various groups.”

You can view NOW’s video clip here.

A check with the Oregonian figures shows that the contribution amount is dated as of Aug 4, 2006 and does not include Washington’s $260,000.

A blog out of Oregon, Boregasm , has been writing prolifically about Rich and Americans for Limited Government. It is very verbose and now numbers 18 separate lengthy posts but is great reading. Clicking on the link above will take you to “Reportage on Perfidy Made Simple, or, Read the Series in Series” which provides separate links to each of the 18 posts.

NOW credits Hart Williams who writes Boregasm as the inspiration for their story. You can connect to Hart Williams interview on NOW here.

To help prevent out of state developers like Howie Rich in New York from trying to dictate what kind of laws we have and how we choose to live in Washington State connect to the Noon933 campaign. Volunteer to help. Give them a contribution. Speak up now for local control of our future. Tell your friends and neighbors to vote NO on I-933 on Nov. 7.

A Simple Reason to Oppose Initiative 933.

Washington State on the November, 2006 ballot is really an attempt by the development community to create something called “developers rights”. Developers rights mean that individual property owners rights and community property rights disappear. That is because these developer rights would eliminate zoning and growth management regulations that protect individual property owners in a community.

The problem with I-933 is that while it supposedly says government must compensate you for any “damage” a regulation does to you, it says nothing about your being compensated for any damage your neighbor may do to you. By removing zoning and growth management protections. your neighbor can set up a motorcycle track, or a junk auto yard or a pig farm next door and you can’t stop them.

If I-933 passes you lose your protections and can actually see your property values go down. When your neighbor has the right to do whatever they want with their land it means you won’t be able to stop inappropriate development unless you pay them to not do it. Community and neighborhood values no longer count. The value of your land can decrease, especially when there is no longer any community certainty as to the future uses of land in the community.

Do you have the money to pay to stop a a WalMart or a junkyard or a gambling casino from being built next to you? Neither does our government. I-933 is legislation by developer interests to legalize extortion. What happens is that local governments have to give in and let them do whatever they want. They can’t afford to compensate for all alleged development.

As the Skagit Valley Herald noted in a recent editorial, I-933 is part of a national effort by libertarians like New York developer Howard Rich who pumped some $400,000 into the signature drive to put I-933 on this November’s ballot. Howard Rich don’t live or vote in Washington State.

I-933 is written to actually go back 10 years to determine its starting point for regulations and zoning. That in itself is a major flaw in the initiative. You’re not even voting for things as they are now.

And it also means that all future zoning changes and changes to growth management laws will open up government to lawsuits over “potential development”loses. There will no longer be any challenges to inappropriate development because any attempt to stop or change a project will be taken to court asking for “damages” or the unlimited “right to build.”

All because some rich East Coast Libertarians joined with the Washington State Farm Bureau – which represents corporate farmers – to argue that developers rights should trump individual and community rights.

Read more about the I-933 campaign by going to the Noon933 campaign website.