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May 26, 2007


If you carefully read HB 3540 (as opposed to the Republican members of the Legislature) and if you compare what the Bill provides with what proponents argued when Measure 37 was on the ballot, you cannot help but note how generous the provisions are.

Now if you cannot find the generosity that is in the Bill, that may be because you are more interested in the stealth provisions hidden behind, and through omission, in Measure 37. There are two such key stealth provisions, which are corollaries of the truly devious intent of the Measure.

The first stealth provision is the Measure’s failure to provide for a means of assessing lost value. The way the Measure is written, any loss of value (for which the Measure provides no help in determining) entitles the owner to make a claim.

The second stealth provision allows the property owner seek any form of development that was permitted when the property was purchased. When you read all of the arguments proposed in favor of the Measure, they talk about how government refused to allow replacement of dwellings or for the ability to build one or maybe two new homes. Try to find anywhere in the arguments references to malls, shopping centers, resorts, subdivisions, or gravel pits, just to mention some of the goals to be found in claims filed just in Marion County. You will find those arguments, but you have to go the the arguments in opposition.

These provisions are corollaries of what the Measure really does. It undermines the principles of zoning by taking away the framework that comprehensive plans provide. It does this because the intent of the real proponents is to institute a materialistic attitude toward land that even a Karl Marx would find repulsive. Land is chattel; land is like your shoes – care for them or abuse them, it should be of no concern to anyone but yourself. A critical provision of their philosophy is that communities do not exist, only individuals. If there are only individuals, you have no need for zoning, or very little. The market will bear is what ought to be.

When you look at this debate through this lens, you can then understand why Boquist, George, Winters, and Thatcher (just to name local politicians – oh, and we do need to include Patty Milne, Marion County Commissioner and who knows how many of her counterparts in other parts of the state) argue, mislead, and otherwise treat their non-libertarian (possibly we should call them non-anarchist) constituents with such contempt.

When you argue the concept implicit in 37, you will get no more coherent answer than that provided by Gerard, and written in the SJ by Kim Thatcher

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