California Voters Show Support for Redevelopment

Election Day provided a big boost for proponents of redevelopment in California. A statewide measure to restrict use of eminent domain lost badly, while voters in San Francisco and Napa County showed support for redevelopment projects.

"Voters' rejection of Proposition 98 on the statewide ballot marked the second time that property rights advocates have failed to capitalize on public backlash to the U.S. Supreme Court's 2005 Kelo decision upholding the use of eminent domain for economic purposes."

"While the 2006 vote on Proposition 90 was close, Tuesday's voting on Proposition 98 was not, as the measure received only 39% support. Instead, a modest alternative backed by the League of California Cities and the California Redevelopment Association - Proposition 99 - won with 62.5% of the vote. Proposition 99 bars the taking of owner-occupied homes for economic development projects."

Meanwhile, voters in San Francisco endorsed a 700-acre redevelopment project that promises up to 10,000 housing units, 2 million square feet of office space and possibly a new football stadium.

In Napa County, voters rejected a slow-growth initiative aimed at crippling reuse of an old industrial site along the Napa River.

Full Story: Redevelopment Wins Big On Election Day



Napa County Measure N

Concerning Measure N, the slow-growth measure on the Napa County ballot:

How about some context?

Measure N's narrow (684 out of 19,292 votes), provisional (5,000 absentee ballots are yet to be counted) defeat reflects something besides intrinsic weaknesses of the measure or Napa voters' attitude toward development--namely, the tons of money spent by the opponents, the would-be developers of the site in question and their out-of-town financial backers.

According to the Napa Register, Napa Redevelopment Partners, bankrolled by the San Francisco-based investment firm Farallon Capital Management, "outspent Measure N supporters by a margin of nearly 16 to 1, with a campaign chest of more than $1.4 million to $88,700, breaking all known Napa County records for local races."

Your informant writes: "The slow-growth Measure N...received only 48.3% of the vote." Forty-eight percent is pretty close in any case, but given the money the locals were up against, it's amazing that their initiative did that well. To characterize this vote as simply a rejection of slow-growth is disingenuous.

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