Initiative 933 would endanger our future

The national right wing effort to destroy land use and community protection regulations spread into Washington State late last year when the state Farm Bureau announced its plans to run its own Measure 37 clone in 2006.

Measure 37 was a statewide ballot measure passed by Oregonian voters in 2004. Put simply, the measure created a “pay or waive” system which allows landowners to demand compensation for any reduction in their land value. If the government (local or state) can’t pay, the rules are waived.

I-933 would create mayhem by stealthily wiping out our state’s carefully crafted growth management laws. If it isn’t defeated, it will have significant, immediate, and devastating consequences. Not just in Puget Sound, but statewide. I-933 means the end of growth management and careful urban or rural land use planning.

The following are answers to a few commonly asked questions about Initiative 933.

Why does the ballot title sound reasonable?
Because Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna’s office drafted language that conveys what the Farm Bureau (the sponsors of I-933) want you to believe. This is deceptive. I-933 is a dangerous proposal with cataclysmic consequences. It will effectively put an end to zoning. It will put an end to smart growth regulations. It creates a chaotic, “every man for himself” environment and shuns a thoughtful approach to working out land use issues.

Who is sponsoring the initiative? Who’s really behind this?
While the state Farm Bureau is sponsoring the initiative, much of the financial resources contributed so far for the signature drive have come from out of state. The Illinois based “Americans for Limited Government” group has donated at least $200,000 to the Farm Bureau’s political action committee.

The money trail, however, doesn’t end at “Americans for Limited Government”. The real sugar daddy is Howard Rich, a New York real estate mogul who chairs the organization. Rich isn’t just rich; he’s extremely rich.

His “Americans for Limited Government” and “Fund for Democracy” fronts have contributed at least $2.4 million to right wing initiatives assaulting land use protections in California, Idaho, Arizona, Oklahoma and now – Washington.

Proponents claim this will protect property rights – is this true?
NO. Initiative 933 is not about protecting your rights; it’s about taking them away. It’s about denying you a voice in your community’s future. It’s an underhanded effort by special interests to get you to sell out without your knowing. That’s why it’s so dangerous. Under I-933, your neighbors can file a “damage claim” asserting that government regulations have harmed them, and request that the rules be waived.

And you, as an adjacent property owner, won’t even know it’s happening – you won’t be notified when a claim is filed, nor will you be notified when the rules are waived and protections are removed. And even if you were notified, you would have no way of defending your own interests other than hiring lawyers and filing lawsuits!

This sounds like a disaster! What can I about it?
It is a disaster. That’s why you need to vote NO on Initiative 933 and urge all of your family and friends to vote NO as well.

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