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Proposition 2 Would Assault Our Property Rights

  • Proposition 2 Would Assault Our Property Rights

  • 26 October 2006 by 0 Comments

Proposition 2 Would Assault Our Property Rights
By Richard Larsen
Published-Idaho State Journal 10/26/06

The 17th century British philosopher, John Locke, had a profound impact on the founding on this country. His Lockeian Creed provided the fundamental principles of “life, liberty, and property” upon which our founding documents were based. Those overarching principles are under assault from many sides, but Idaho’s Proposition 2, up for vote in two weeks, is perhaps the most ominous and pernicious Trojan Horse assaulting our property rights.

This initiative has been peddled to us under the auspices of a property rights protection act. The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling against the private property owner in the 2005 case, Kelo vs. City of New London, launched a flood of property protection acts around the country. With the fears created by this ruling, the door was opened for anyone promoting legislation even ostensibly dealing with eminent domain issues to gain a foothold.

Rather than preventing the taking of our property through eminent domain, the measure opens the door to legal challenges as a means of benefiting land developers and attorneys. The issues raised by the Kelo case in the Supreme Court last year have already been addressed by the Idaho Legislature. House Bill 155 which was passed and signed into law, protects private property owners who now can’t be forced by a municipality, county, or the state to divest their interests because someone wants to build a better tax-revenue generation enterprise on their property.

Idahoans have historically been very zealous in the protection of their rights, from freedom to bear arms, to property rights protection. Yet, why is it that this proposition is funded totally from out-of-state? Why is it that the petition gatherers had to be paid by the New York based real estate developer promoting the proposition? The answers to those questions should generate warning signs to everyone. What, they couldn’t find enough people in Idaho concerned with private property rights to fund a legitimate property protection effort, or find enough volunteers to donate time to protect their interests? I think not.

The first page of the proposition seems innocuous enough. But hidden behind the first page of the multi-page initiative is some frightening language. Let’s take a look at an example of what would be possible under the proposition.

A county zones a piece of property as residential. A developer claims they wanted to build a restaurant there. Under the terms of the proposition the taxpayers (you and me!) may be required to pay the developer the money they might have earned if allowed to build the restaurant. This does nothing to protect private property rights, but it opens up a virtual Pandora’s Box of claims against state and local government by unscrupulous developers.

It can also be used by unscrupulous private property owners to force payment by local government if their land use is impinged or if the government takes any action that may decrease the value of their land.

For a realistic assessment of challenges Idahoans would face if Proposition 2 passes, take a look at what happened to Oregon in the wake of their approval of Measure 37 in 2004. Preceding the Kelo decision by a year, Oregon voters thought they were protecting their private property rights by passing the measure. In just two years, there have been over 2400 claims filed, with a cumulative price tag of over $5.6 billion. The $5.6 billion would not be paid by individuals, but by state and local governments . The effect has been catastrophic for the state of Oregon and threatens their financial viability. Similar threats face Idaho if this nefarious proposition is approved.
The same group that is pushing for passage of Proposition 2 in Idaho, is pressing for similar initiatives in California, Montana, Nevada, and Washington.

In short, this effort is not based on judicious principles to protect our property from eminent domain, but rather is about granting the power to unscrupulous developers the power to impose ultimatums on our government, which is funded by you and me. Do yourself and future property owners in Idaho a huge favor, and vote “No” on Proposition 2.

Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board. He can be reached at

About the

More than anything, I want my readers to think. We're told what to think by the education establishment, which is then parroted by politicians from the left, and then reinforced by the mainstream media. Steeped in classical liberalism, my ideological roots are based in the Constitution and our founding documents. Armed with facts, data, and correct principles, today's conservatives can see through the liberal haze and bring clarity to any political discussion.

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