Tuesday June 3 is Primary Election Day

There isn’t much on the ballot besides propositions 98 and 99 and the Measure V bond issue. Candidates for U.S. Representative, state senator, assembly member, and in our First District, for Supervisor, are running essentially unopposed. Here are our thoughts on the issues:

Proposition 98: YES

Proposition 98 “Bars state and local governments from taking or damaging private property for private uses, prohibits rent control and similar measures, prohibits deference to government in taking cases, defines ‘just compensation,’ requires an award of attorney fees and costs if a property owner obtains a judgment for more than the amount offered by the government, requires governments to offer to the original owner of condemned property the right to repurchase property at condemned price when property is put to substantial different use than was publicly stated.”

The Good: Phasing out rent control will not affect people who are already in controlled situations, although it would certainly curtail any “profits” renters might expect upon vacating their units; any increase in land value would revert back to property owners. The proposition would also allow property owners to buy back their property in the event the government changed its mind and decided to construct something entirely different from what it publicly stated the “taking” was for in the first place. This would protect homeowners from political fraud and deals made between politicians and developers.

The Bad: Phasing out rent control may be frowned upon by some but we feel the housing market is in better hands when it’s left alone. Sucking up available housing for those select few who get affordable rates only makes it more expensive for everyone else. Rent controls artificially drive up the cost of rentals by reducing the supply, and unfairly shift increases in property values from the landowner to the tenant.

Proposition 99: NO

Proposition 99 “Bars state and local governments from using eminent domain to acquire an owner-occupied residence, as defined, for conveyance to a private person or business entity, creates exceptions for public work or improvement, public health and safety protection, and crime prevention."

The Good: Things pretty much stay the same and there would be little or no significant fiscal impact on state or local government

The Bad: This would not protect homeowners from their property being taken for the construction of (somebody else’s) “affordable housing.” According to the Impartial Analysis, governments would still be able to acquire private property for a variety of “public uses.” If the homeowner did not live on the premises, this proposition would do nothing to protect him nor stop the government from taking a house, apartment, condo and selling it to a developer under the guise of “affordable housing.”

The Ugly: Proposition 99 is not only ugly, it’s downright insidious. Section 9 of Proposition 99 states "in the event that this measure appears on the same statewide election ballot as another initiative measure or measures that seek to affect the rights of property owners by directly or indirectly amending Section 19, Article I of the California Constitution, the provisions of the other measure or measures shall be deemed to be in conflict with this measure. In the event that this measure receives a greater number of affirmative votes, the provisions of this measure shall prevail in their entirety, and each and every provision of the other measure shall be null and void." Proposition 99 was created to circumvent proposition 98 by eliminating it in case it passes.

Measure V: NO

Measure V seeks $77 million in bonds for Santa Barbara City College to "improve academic facilities and renovate aging classrooms, upgrade/construct facilities and acquire equipment." The list is significant for what they would like to repair/rebuild and replace for the Santa Barbara City College.

The Good: Attending Santa Barbara City College is a huge plus for kids and parents trying to save two years of University tuition. Their feeder programs are successful and by any measure, SBCC is a desirable school to attend. Buildings and equipment around campus are in need of repair.

The Bad: This measure promises a lot but requires significant additional funds from the State: $92 million, to be exact. If the state’s budget troubles continue (and the likelihood they will is, oh, about 100%), my guess is that new construction will be put on hold and those promised matching funds will be unavailable.

Towards the end of Measure V, it states "In the absence of State funds, which the District will aggressively pursue to reduce the District' s share of the costs of the projects, the District may not be able to complete some of the projects listed above... Based on the final costs of each project or the pace of student enrollment, certain of the projects described above may be delayed or may not be completed." Our worry is that we are being sold on some pretty fantastic things from City College backers but may not get even half of what is being sold. I would also ask why none of the obvious repairs are worked into SBCC’s annual budget?