Message from the Mayor : Prop 98 is bad for the economy

mike-headshot.jpgA priority of the Signal Hill City Council is to ensure that the best interests of the city are protected. That’s why, on April 22, 2008, the City Council took formal action and joined homeowners groups, environmentalists, public safety organizations and others to oppose Proposition 98.
Proposition 98 is on the June 3 California Primary ballot and is a deceptive measure claiming it will protect property owners against the use of eminent domain by state and local governments.
What Proposition 98 really does is eliminate rent control and other renter protections that help provide affordable housing to seniors, veterans, and working families and is being supported by apartment and mobile home park owners.
Prop 98 would also harm Signal Hill’s land-use planning, jeopardize laws that protect the environment and our communities, and hurt efforts to ensure a reliable supply of clean, safe drinking water.
The City of Signal Hill and the Signal Hill Redevelopment Agency has used eminent domain as a tool to buy contaminated and decaying properties and clean up the mess left behind by extinct oil production and industrial companies. These properties have been turned into parks, affordable housing, and businesses that generate revenue. The city uses this revenue to operate its library, fix streets, provide recreation programs for kids and seniors, and add police officers to the police department. For example, Signal Hill purchased and cleaned up contaminated properties that were former oil production, industrial, and refinery sites. These sites are now businesses creating 675 new jobs and helping Signal Hill become one of only a few financially sound cities in California.
Signal Hill also used eminent domain to purchase run-down apartments in the crime-plagued Las Brisas neighborhood. These properties have been revitalized into the award-winning Las Brisas affordable housing development and Calbrisas Park. Las Brisas now provides 152 homes and a safe environment to low-income families. None of this would be possible under Proposition 98.
Additionally, Prop 98 would cripple Signal Hill’s building safety and zoning regulations that are designed to protect the health safety and welfare of the community. Provisions in Prop 98 would prohibit laws and regulations that “transfer an economic benefit to one or more private persons at the expense of the property owner.” Since the courts have ruled that almost all land use decisions transfer economic benefit at the expense of some property owner, the reach of this definition is limitless. For instance, a developer could sue the city because he wants to build a four-story house in an existing neighborhood where the city only allows two-story homes. A court could rule that the city has devalued the developer’s property by limiting the height of his development and order the city to pay for the lost property value.
As you can see, Proposition 98 is not good for property owners, the residents of Signal Hill, or the citizens of California. Signal Hill has joined groups opposing Proposition 98 including:
• League of California
• Mobile Home Owners
• Sierra Club of
• California Teachers
• Association of California
Water Agencies
• League of Women

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