Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Oregonian opposes I-933

The Oregonian editorialized this morning that it opposes Initiative 933, the radical "land rights" initiative. Andrew had a nice post last month about the financial impacts of I-933.

Sensibly, The Oregonian also notes that as bad as Oregon's Measure 37 was, the initiative in Washington is even worse.
Measure 37 has spawned more than 2,000 claims in Oregon, requesting more than $3 billion in compensation. Those are big numbers, but I-933 would surely ring up much, much larger costs for the taxpayers who fund Washington's local and state governments. Washington is dealing with tremendous growth-management problems, and in significant ways I-933 is even more radical than the Oregon law.

For instance, unlike Measure 37, the Washington proposal makes no allowance to enforce federal laws like the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. It also appears to establish a much larger, deeper pool of potential claimants. Further, the Oregon law gives property owners two years to make claims against an existing law, but I-933 sets no deadline. The Washington proposal also is written to force state and local agencies to pick up more of the legal fees and other administrative costs of applying the law.
Hopefully Washington voters will learn from the experience of our neighbor. Oregon has already been victimized by the extremist "property rights" movement, which is pretty much just a cover for wealthy individuals and corporations anyway. As The Oregonian concludes--
It's not worth it. Oregon's property-rights law hasn't led to a sweeping improvement in the fairness of the land-use system. Instead, it's picked new winners and losers, led to substantial legal and bureaucratic expenses, bitter fights among neighboring property owners and a confusing, chaotic system that can no longer ensure careful growth management.

I-933 would bring all this to Washington state.

We don't recommend it.
The result of I-933 passing would clearly be devastating to our state. But the wealthy corporate backers of I-933 don't care about communities nor the environment. To them, the rest of us are just another cost of doing business.

And shame on the Washington Farm Bureau for supporting this destructive initiative. The Farm Bureau doesn't like growth management, we get it. But I-933 is like using an atomic bomb to kill a fly. It's utterly disproportionate and irresponsible.

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