Voters Head to the Polls Today

— When voters head to the polls today, they will be asked to take a position on
two state propositions that address the issues of eminent domain and
rent-controlled apartments.

Under current California law, the
government may take property from a private owner if the land will be utilized
for "public use" and if the owner is paid "just compensation" and relocation

Proposition 98 is a constitutional amendment that would limit the
rights of state and local governments to take ownership of property for the
purposes of transferring it to a private party. Government entities would also
be barred from taking property for a purpose substantially similar to how the
private owner used it or for the purpose of extracting the land’s natural

Proposition 98 would also phase out rent controls.
Specifically, new rent-control measures could not be enacted and those approved
after Jan. 1, 2007, would be terminated. Rent control measures that went into
effect before that date would be phased out on a unit-by-unit basis as tenants
move out of apartments or mobile homes.

The measure is backed by the
Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, California Farm Bureau Federation and The
California Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights.

should not be able to profit by seizing private property from unwilling sellers
for retail or commercial projects," said Doug Ose, a former congressman and
finance chair of the campaign.

"Finally, Californians will have the
opportunity to vote for real reforms that protect their homes, small businesses,
family farms and places of worship from eminent domain abuse."

argue that the elimination of rent controls would price tenants out of their
homes and worsen the housing crisis in cities like Los Angeles.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and Sens.
Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., all oppose the proposition. The
Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce is also against the measure.

"Proposition 98 would prohibit the taking of private property, including
homes and commercial property, for private use. That may sound great,
but the term `private use’ is defined so broadly that it would
likely prohibit many public-private partnerships such as charter schools,
hospitals, mass transit, highways and water resource projects — a critical tool
if California is to address its $500 billion infrastructure needs," said Gary
Toebben, president and CEO of the chamber.

A second measure, Proposition
99, also addresses eminent domain. The constitutional amendment would prohibit
government from using eminent domain to take a single-family house
for the purpose of transferring it to another private party.

The measure
would not apply if the government can show that taking the home, among other
things, will protect public health and safety, prevent criminal activity, enable
responses to emergencies and remedy environmental contamination.

prohibition would not apply if the property owner did not live in the home or
had lived there for less than one year.

Proposition 99 is backed by the
League of California Homeowners, League of Women Voters of California,
California Police Chiefs Association, CaliforniaAlliance for Retired Americans and Consumer
Federation of California. It is opposed by supporters of Proposition

Voters in a handful of Los AngelesCounty cities and school districts will
cast ballots on a variety of measures, including a school property tax in the
CentinelaValley district and a sales tax hike in South Gate.

Gate Measure P would create a 1 percent city sales tax to pay for more police
officers, maintain anti-gang and anti-drug programs and fund services such as
graffiti removal and street repairs, city officials said.

According to a
statement posted on the city’s Web site, the city is "operating paycheck to
paycheck," and without a new influx of revenue, services cuts will have to be
made. The need for more revenue was created by "factors such as our growing
population and years of `state money grabs,"’ according to the city statements.

The measure needs approval from a simple majority of voters for passage.

Voters in Covina will be asked to decide on Measure C,
which would extend for 10 years the city’s 6 percent utility tax, which funds
services such as police, fire, street maintenance, parks and
senior services.

A similar measure was rejected by voters last year, and
city officials said it is essential to prevent service cuts. Measure C requires
a simple majority to pass.

Torrance voters will decide on Measure T, which
would extend a 6.5 percent tax on land-line phone users to wireless phone users.
The funds would be used for police and fire service, libraries, parks and
recreation programs. The measure requires a simple majority for approval.

Elsewhere, voters will decide on various school funding issues.

— Centinela Valley Union High School District voters will decide on
Measure A, a property tax with a rate of 4 cents per square foot. The tax would
remain in effect for nine years, but senior citizens would be
exempted. District officials said the funds will be used to attract teachers and
reduce class sizes, maintain libraries and upgrade computer and science labs.
The measure requires approval by two-thirds of voters.

HawthorneSchool District residents will cast
ballots on Measure H, a $20 million bond issue for the acquisition of school
sites and construction of facilities. The funds would also be used to make
security improvements and fund the construction of gymnasiums for student and
community use. The measure requires the approval of 55 percent of voters.

CitySchool District
voters will
decide on Measure E, a $257 parcel tax that will remain in effect for five years
and increase at a rate of 5 percent a year. Senior citizens and disabled
residents would be exempted. The funds would be used to hire teachers and reduce
class sizes. The measure must be approved by two-thirds of voters.

voters will decide on Measure M, a $31.14
million bond issue to upgrade classrooms and bolster campus security. The
measure requires approval by two-thirds of voters.