Political lies don't surprise me anymore. But they still bother me. Especially when the lies are aimed at destroying Oregon's livability.
Measure 37 was largely supported by large timber companies and other fat cats. They're out to build subdivisions on irreplaceable farm and forest land. Now Oregonians in Action, a puppet that springs into action when corporations pull the strings, is running full page ads in the Portland Oregonian in an attempt to keep those subdivisions alive.
Sunday's ad was headlined, "We're not greedy developers." Yes, you are. Check out the list of major Measure 37 donors. Note that Stimson Lumber Company wants either $269,000,000 from the taxpayers of Oregon, or have this state's land use laws waived.
Greedy developer? Oh, yeah.
But Oregonians in Action (OIA) can't use Stimson Lumber Company as their poster child. Wouldn't look very cute. So they dredged up Tom and Gloria Gilbert (and their little white dog), who want to partition their seven acre property into nine new parcels.
This would be a very long post if I deconstructed all of the lies and half-truths in the ad. OIA likes to talk about how legislators are disrespecting Oregonians because they want to fix some of the worst flaws in Measure 37, a move favored by more than two-thirds of voters.
Actually, it's OIA that lacks respect for citizens, because they think we can be fooled once again by simplistic rhetoric substituting for facts.
For example, the ad says:
And if you own a business, House Bill 3540B allows state and local governments to take all of the value of your property without compensation – all of it!
A flat-out lie. This one line should be enough to stop everybody in Oregon from ever believing a word said by OIA. Here's a summary of HB 3540. The full bill, currently HB 3540B, is here.
It prohibits Measure 37 claims for industrial or commercial purposes. You can't put a pumice mine in a national monument, like one Measure 37 claimant wanted to do. The bill has nothing to do with taking all of the value of existing businesses. OIA should be ashamed of using such a deceptive scare tactic, if it weren't beyond shame by this point.
Not only that, the bill would contain new provisions that allow state and local governments to steal 25% of every Oregonian's property value every five years.
Fact: new Measure 37 claims would have to show a loss of value caused by land use regulation of at least 25% over five years. That is, you actually have to prove that you've been financially harmed to a significant degree before you get to belly up to the Measure 37 trough.
Again, that has nothing to do with "stealing" a quarter of "every Oregonian's property value every five years." Show me how that is going to happen, OIA. If you can't, admit that your campaign plan for defeating this Measure 37 fix is simple: Lie, then lie some more.
It's disgusting. For an example of rational vs. irrational approaches to discussing this issue, check out the side by side arguments by Democrat Rep. Greg MacPherson and Republican Rep. Kim Thatcher in today's Salem Statesman Journal.
Macpherson talks about the bill and the problems it is intended to solve. Thatcher throws up smoke screens about how Republicans were shut out of meetings. So what?
In a recent issue of TIME magazine there's an excerpt from Al Gore's new book, "The Assault on Reason." The OIA ads are a perfect example of this. Don't talk facts; talk emotion. And not even honest emotion. Make up falsities, then express outrage over the falsehood.
Americans in both parties should insist on the re-establishment of respect for the rule of reason…The persistent and sustained reliance on falsehoods as the basis of policy, even in the face of massive and well-understood evidence to the contrary, seems to many Americans to have reached levels that were previously unimaginable.
Yesterday my wife went to a meeting where Measure 37 was discussed. She was told that a Measure 37 subdivision has been built in Polk County. Neighboring wells already are going dry. We need to check out the details to confirm that this is true.
We do know for a fact that a 42-home proposed Measure 37 subdivision near us failed to prove that there is adequate water for that many new wells in the groundwater limited area on which it would be built. For some reason Oregonians in Action didn't put this story in its ad.
The legislature's Measure 37 fix would protect groundwater limited areas from that sort of over-development. We and our neighbors have had to spend $24,000 to do that on our own. Funny. Oregonians in Action didn't mention that in its ad.
Lies. Half-truths. Deceptions. It's going to be a messy six months until the Measure 37 fix ballot referral is voted on, if that happens in November. Hopefully the legislature will pass out an immediate fix and avoid a further assault on reason in Oregon.
Actually, Thatcher's column demonstrated she is either stupid, lying, or someone else is writing for her.
I think OIA is doing all of the communicating, even ghostwriting guest columns by Republican Legislators. In the column supposedly "by" Rep. Thatcher, she writes:
"In recent weeks, the vast majority of citizens from my legislative district who contacted my office wanted the spirit of Measure 37 left intact. I believe a few reasonable refinements are warranted, so I supported a Republican plan which would've added some common-sense provisions, such as allowing families to transfer property rights, allowing fast-track approval for smaller parcels and extending time for local governments to deal with the initial workload from Measure 37.
"Democrats rejected that plan without much debate."
Oh, really. She obviously never read the Bill because all of that is in there.
She things goes on to write that "Sadly, some of the people who've filed claims are quite elderly and may not be around long enough to secure justice and peace of mind for their families." True, that is not in the Bill; it was in a companion bill she voted against and which has been signed by the Governor.
Posted by: Richard | May 22, 2007 at 07:44 PM
I see you still don't get it. Yes, lots of Oregon voters want M-37 fixed. It just not everyone wants it 'fixed' like you do. The 'fix' being shuffled about was done without public input and behind closed doors. Mac Pherson is an idiot with blinders on or he's a lying jerk, I'm not sure which. (Having had emails from him I can't decide which he is...although I have an idea.)
Again, before you start slinging mud about backers, you'd better look at those who've brought Oregon to this point...Sierra Club...millions and millions. OIA represents the little people and we don't have money as you're cronies have sucked us dry at the Board of Commissioners hearings and LUBA. So hurray for someone with deep pockets!
It never fails to amaze me how people like you, sitting on their little 10 acres with a house, generally sitting there because someone gave it to them, feels they have the 'right' to complain about what their neighbor does with their land.
Oh, as far as the pumice mine, they offered to sell the land to the State since they won't let them build on it (something they could do when they got the land. However, the State doesn't want to buy it. The State has the land just the way they want it. Kind of like to old adage...why buy the cow when the milk's free....
Posted by: debbie | May 23, 2007 at 07:29 AM
Extra thought while taking my daughter to school:
I just realized the difference between your group and mine. It's not about the money as you seem to want to believe.
You feel... YOU have the right... to say what someone else does with their land. I feel... OWNERS have the right... to decide what to do.
Zoning is fine but it should be carefully done. One county declaired a state of emergency and for the safty and welfare of its citizens changed all AR zoned land to FF. Making all the land without A house no longer able to be built on.
Plus if you have EFU land that you can't get a plow through, then it's not EFU land.
Posted by: debbie | May 23, 2007 at 08:03 AM
debbie, you spread more half-untruths and untruths that I'm duty bound (because I respect truth) to respond to.
There was lots of public input on the Measure 37 fix. I went to most of the Land Use Fairness Committee hearings. They went on for hours and hours, with both proponents and opponents of Measure 37 having a chance to have their two minutes before the legislators.
I bet you're a Republican, right? Did you complain the last decade or so the R's were in control of the legislature when bills were passed, or held up, with no public input at all--just high-handed "Thou shalt be" from Karen Minnis, Wayne Scott, and their cronies?
No? I expected as much. So, please, let's not talk about Democratic closed doors. The Measure 37 reform process has been much more open than Republican bill making processes in the past.
Big timber companies and other large corporations gave lots of money to pass Measure 37. Now they're cashing in. That's another fact.
Our ten acres wasn't given to us. We bought it. It was zoned AR when we bought it. We've voluntarily put a conservation easement on our property, which will prevent us or anyone else from partitioning it.
You see, we value some things more than money. Maybe you don't. That's fine. It's the American Way to worship the green stuff. We just believe that there is a higher power than money.
We do indeed have a right to complain about what a neighbor does with his land when that affects our land. Dozens of our neighbors, many of whom voted for Measure 37 (and now see their mistake) feel the same way.
Would you let someone come into your house and steal your stuff? It's his right, isn't it? You have a right to own property, and he has a right to steal it. That's the way Measure 37 works.
We and our neighbors have been using groundwater. A Measure 37 claimant wants to build a subdivision and take that water. If you don't believe it's fair for someone to walk into your house and take what's in it, then I assume you don't believe a developer should be able to take water in people's wells.
The EFU land he wants to build on would make a great winery or Christmas tree farm. It's likely worth millions of dollars as a winery. That's what we've been told. Government hasn't "taken" the value of his land.
Government doesn't owe you or me a return on our property investment. I believe in the free market. Government actions are part of that free market. Measure 37 supporters want a "mommy state" that they can run to and say, "Boo-hoo, give me lots of money because I've lost some of the value of my real estate investment."
Tough. People lose money on investments all the time. And make money. Our land use laws have made lots of money for people, but I don't see them demanding that citizens pay the government for that increased value.
Measure 37 is crazy and illogical. It either needs to be fixed or done away with. Sorry, your arguments are weak and unpersuasive.
Posted by: Brian | May 23, 2007 at 09:58 AM
It sounds like those of us who want good land use planning for Oregon had better be donating money into funds for advertisements in newspapers and television. Sadly, it takes money to convince Americans of anything.
Posted by: Rain | May 23, 2007 at 11:30 AM
How interesting that you would use the analogy..."Would you let someone come into your house and steal your stuff?" What do you think this State and those who pushed forward the current land use laws and rules, did to me and those like me? They stole from me. No amount of talking prior to the enactment of SB100 fell on reasonable ears.
Are you aware that according to this State, in regards to real estate, you own not just the top surface but basically everything below to the center of the earth and the air space above? You are complaining about the groundwater. Granted it's a good complaint however, maybe you're stealing your neighbors water....(Oh, and by the way, I'm a board member of a Polk County AAC, area advisory committee, and as far as we've heard, there's no sub-division built under M-37 with neighboring wells drying up. At least we've not received any information from the County and they do send us all the land use stuff for our monthly meetings.)
So, let me ask you a question. What do you think of the government taking land via eminent domain and giving/selling it to another person? In this at least the person that owned the land was compensated. In Oregon they just take away what you bought the land for and leave you with something else.
I don't live anywhere near my piece of land. It is as unproductive as can be. I have trespass and theft every year. How much could you do with your land if you lived 40 minutes away? Probably not much.
I worked hard for my land. I worked hard to build up enough money to build on my land. Just as I was about to be able to proceed with my home they changed the rules. I don't need a 'mommy state to take care of me'. I do however, want the 'playing rules' to stay constant. I know you'll want to jump on that as M-37 changes the rules on you. But I was playing the game before the first rule change...
I find it interesting that the other side always talks vineyards and Christmas trees. I grew up on a farm, a real farm. We raised beef and pork. While I realize this State acknowledges wine and trees as crops, most old farmer don't.
My land isn't suited to either of the above crops. My area is all small acreage sites with homes on them. One of my neighbors is farming a tennis court. I have a crop I want to grow. I can make my land productive, but not from nearly an hour away. Add to that distance the problems I have with theft, there's no way I'd even try without being there to over see the land.
You said, "Measure 37 is crazy and illogical..." On my land, the State will not allow certain crops, they will allow others...maybe, but only after a public hearing and I'm prohibited from participation in the Federal Wildlife Habitat Program. How is that logical? The Federal Wildlife Habitat Program??? This does nothing to my land and yet I'm prohibited....Sorry, I find your arguments weak and unpersuasive.
No, I've never voted for Minnis...don't much care for her. I vote all over the board...D...R...I....
I don't think it's going to be an easy fix. I think everyone will be unhappy. But one thing's for certain....the voters of Oregon are finally paying attention to something I've been fighting for decades. My apologies for such a long post.
Posted by: debbie | May 24, 2007 at 08:16 AM
The change in Measure 37 would allow people to build homes on small acreages that they owned before the land use laws were tightened; but even before state-wide land use planning came into play, counties had restrictions on what could be where. Out where I live, which is a producing farm of 34 acres, there were things like gravel works turned down for the damage it would do to the surrounding land. A lot of the places that now want to turn their property into mini-developments or more were in areas that couldn't have possibly lured enough buyers out that far to become a development, but by waiting this long, and having reduced taxes the whole time, they might be able to do so.
The scratch a farmer and find a developer types, who have had a major property tax benefit for all these years, naturally will want to pay that difference back to the state, right? That's what irks me as much as the loss of planning-- that they got all those dollar benefits, let others pay their share of the taxes to keep up roads, schools, county government, and now can only think of making a profit with no thought of why the benefit that came along with that limitation.
People who actually do farm their land, when it's small acreages, don't make a lot of money from it. They do it mostly for the love of the land, the desire to contribute something to others which is what I regard the beef and lamb that we produce.
Nobody really owns land. During the time you live on it, where you tend it, you love it, but the time comes when you die or you sell and someone else has it. All the current group, who want no land use planning, appear to only want dollars, they don't love their land. It was always just an investment. Sad.
Most owners of land do not own the mineral rights under it and they find that out when somebody finds something valuable down there. Water rights likewise are granted, filed for and hopefully wisely used without damaging others... unless, of course, money is the only criteria that matters.
Posted by: Rain | May 24, 2007 at 12:26 PM
Rain, you made some great points. Debbie complains that she isn't able to build on her land. The proposed Measure 37 fix would make it super-easy to put up to three homes on a piece of property.
So where's the problem? There's only a problem if you want to build a subdivision, since up to ten homes are allowed after a bit more work.
Part of which entails showing via appraisals that you've actually been harmed financially by a government regulation. Measure 37 permits compensation to be granted in lieu of waiving land use laws.
So this part of the fix is an implementation of Measure 37, since the original measure was silent on how you go about figuring the amount of a loss.
I agree with you that no one really owns a piece of land. We just borrow it for a while. No one makes their property. It comes from a much deeper source than us.
People are stewards of their land, not kings and queens over it. The day someone can bring a piece of property into existence, that's the day I'll grant them absolute dominion over it.
Posted by: Brian | May 24, 2007 at 04:30 PM
I wrote a little essay about zoning published over at BlueOregon:
I don't think you can get Becky to talk about HB 3540; and silence speaks as loud as everything else she writes.
Debbie writes, so as to confuse: "So, let me ask you a question. What do you think of the government taking land via eminent domain and giving/selling it to another person? In this at least the person that owned the land was compensated. In Oregon they just take away what you bought the land for and leave you with something else."
To draw a connection between zoning and eminent domain, as if they are the either ends of a shoestring is to oversimplify a very difficult issue. In the middle of that shoestring is a semicolon in the Fifth Amendment. The complexity of this issue is discussed here: http://www.law.pace.edu/landuse/bregta.html (on regulatory takings) and here: http://www.law.pace.edu/landuse/Lingle.html (takings in the Court's own words).
Debbie's beef turns on the concept of property rights. The is a good overview here: http://www.law.pace.edu/landuse/richmond.html
Land use and zoning is like a child's teeter-totter; whether it works depends upon where you put the pivot. When you strip away the rhetoric (for arguments in favor of 37 from the voter's pamphlet ( http://www.sos.state.or.us/elections/nov22004/guide/meas/m37_fav.html for arguments for, and against http://www.sos.state.or.us/elections/nov22004/guide/meas/m37_opp.html ) you can see that what voters were sold (for) and what they got (against) show that the pivot point was moved, substantially.
Debbie's view of property rights (which one can only infer inasmuch as we've never read a stated setting out of the concept) differs from mine, and I think, the majority of us who follow the issue. Donovan Rypkema, has written an article that sets this issue out, and which can be found here:
HB 3540 attempts to strike a balance; a lot of us would like to know what Debby thinks of this Bill
Posted by: Richard | May 26, 2007 at 07:12 AM