In California’s June 3 primary election, voters rejected Proposition 98, which was widely regarded as abolishing rent control in California, by a wide margin, and Fran Pavley won the Democratic primary in the 23rd State Senate District by a 2 to 1 margin.
The competing Propositions 98 and 99 were both designed to prohibit the public taking of private property by eminent domain under circumstances where the taken property would be used not for a public use (such as roads, schools, or public works) but rather for private development (such as shopping centers or business parks) that might build a tax base for local government.
But Proposition 98 went much further and, in essence, defined a wide range of government restrictions on the use of private property, including rent control and many zoning and land use regulations, as a “taking.” A variety of groups had opposed the proposition, including the League of Women Voters of California, AARP, the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Teachers Association, the California Police Chiefs Association, and the Santa Monica City Council.
Santa Monica City Councilmember Kevin McKeown, speaking after the returns came in, said, “Beyond being a clear victory for renters, the successful NO 98/YES 99 campaign showed how homeowners and renters can work together to protect our families and our housing. Tenants can sleep better knowing rent control remains the law. Homeowners now have real protection against eminent domain. The big-money deceit behind Prop. 98 succeeded only in creating a newly energized coalition against greed.”
Proposition 98 was supported by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. Its president, Jon Coupal, said, “By placing a second eminent domain measure on the ballot, opponents of private property rights created enough confusion between the ballot measures to defeat Proposition 98. Proposition 99’s loopholes will allow eminent domain abuse to continue.” Opponents of Proposition 98 charged that the measure was sold as eminent domain reform when its real purpose was to eliminate rent control.
Proposition 98 failed at the poles with 61 percent of the voters saying “no” and only 39 percent voting in favor of the measure. The more moderate Proposition 99 was approved by a margin of 62.5 percent to 37.5 percent.
In contested primary races in the 23rd State Senate District to fill the seat vacated by termed-out Sen. Sheila Kuehl, Democrat Fran Pavley defeated Lloyd Levine by a 2 to 1 margin, gathering 66.4 percent of the vote to Levine’s 33.6 percent. On the Republican side, Rick Montaine defeated Leonard M. Lanzi by almost as large a margin, with Montaine getting 61.8 percent of the vote to Lanzi’s 38.2 percent.
Tuesday’s primary election had a markedly low turnout, probably as a result of the decision to split off the state’s presidential primary and hold it in February.