California Voters Roundly Defeat Landlord Backed Prop 98 and Pass Environmental Proposition 99 on Eminent Domain


With just under 40% of the day of election precinct ballots counted, Proposition 98, placed on the ballot by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and bankrolled heavily by landlords in California is going down to a resounding defeat. It has the support of 42% of the votes counted and is being rejected by 58% of the vote. A map of the state shows it being defeated in all the major populous counties of California—including Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Clara, and San Francisco—with the possible exception of Orange County where it is leading with just over 50% of the vote.

Voters at the same time have passed Proposition 99, an alternative measure dealing with eminent domain favored by the environmental community, local governments, and other groups. It is receiving over 64% of the vote and passing in all counties with the exception of Colusa County.

The Associated Press has called the election on these initiative measures, the only Propositions on the June California primary election. It appears that turn out at polling places on Election Day was very light and that the vote by mail ballots—for the most part already counted—mean that significantly more than half of all the ballots have already been counted.

In response to voter rejection of Proposition 98 and support of Proposition 99 today, representatives of the No on 98 / Yes on 99 campaign issued the following statements this evening:

Tom Adams, board president, California League of Conservation Voters said: “We’re very, very grateful to the voters. The voters saw that Proposition 98 was a deceptive initiative, in fact, the worst kind of ballot abuse where a populist issue is used to conceal an attack on renters, the environment, homeowners and our communities. The voters have rightfully become very skeptical about the fine print hidden in initiatives.

“By passing Proposition 99, voters have enacted ironclad protections against the misuse of eminent domain. Proposition 99 drives a stake through the heart of devious ballot measures like Proposition 98 and, before that Proposition 90. Thankfully, I don’t think we will see a repeat of those efforts.

“Twice now – with the defeat of Prop. 90 in 2006 and Prop. 98 tonight – voters have rejected fraudulent initiative schemes by special interests. Despite the fact that landlords spent nearly $8 million to fool the voters about Prop 98, the voters once again showed that they see these cheesy schemes for what they are. Hopefully, this will send a strong signal to others that the voters have little tolerance for dishonest tactics.”

Janis Hirohama, president, League of Women Voters of California said: “Voters saw through the deceptive ads. They rejected Prop 98 because it would have been devastating for renters, homeowners, our environment, and our entire state. This should send a strong signal to anyone thinking of using the initiative process to sneak harmful agendas past voters.”

Hirohama continued: “By supporting Prop. 99, voters clearly said they support straightforward and powerful eminent domain reforms that don’t contain hidden agendas.”

The passage of Prop 99, which protects homeowners, and the sound defeat of Proposition 98 may be the end of eminent domain issues on the California ballot. Voters have previously defeated a prior eminent domain measure—Proposition 90– backed by out of state interests and anti-government groups by a more narrow margin.


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