California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Friday that he is opposing Proposition 98, one of two eminent domain-related measures appearing on the state’s June ballot.
Backers of the ballot measure say it is a response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo v. the City of New London, Conn., and that the measure would bar the seizure of private property by eminent domain to be turned over to a private party.
The measure, which was placed on the ballot through a petition campaign financed largely by landlords’ groups, would also eliminate local rent control laws for apartments and mobile home communities.
Opponents also say it contains ambiguous language that would threaten the ability to construct water conveyance projects, and that appears to have moved the governor — who has been working on a major water bond proposal — to oppose the measure.
“Eminent domain is an issue worth addressing; however, Proposition 98 would undermine California’s ability to improve our infrastructure, including our water delivery and storage,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement. “California voters strongly support rebuilding our transportation, housing, education, and water infrastructure, so it would be irresponsible to support a measure that would prevent the state from accomplishing our goals.”
The other referendum, Proposition 99, which was placed on the ballot with the support of many city and agency officials, is a much more narrowly written proposal, which would limit the use of eminent domain to seize owner-occupied homes for transfer to private parties.