Friday, July 14, 2006

Prop 2: Chaos for your town

Call it putting lipstick on a pig or a wolf in sheep's clothing. Nothing, however, conceals the true, disastrous consequences awaiting Idaho communities in the ballot initiative Proposition 2.

This creation with hidden meaning is the brainchild of Laird Maxwell, Idaho's rising star in Far Right schemes and chieftain of "Idahoans For Tax Reform," which is devoted, according to its Web site, to making Idaho "the lowest taxed, least regulated, most free state in the nation."

That gives some hint of the vision of Prop 2's author—to transform Idaho into a state with bare-bones public services in schools, roads, law enforcement and other traditional community services.

This morsel also reveals something of Maxwell's vision: His group hails state Rep. Bill Sali as Idaho's most important conservative, although Sali is a virtual outcast among Republican legislative colleagues for his reprehensible highjinks.

Maxwell is devious. He admitted to being the "John Doe" that the Idaho Statesman reported was responsible for "ordering and paying for phone calls smearing Boise mayoral candidate Chuck Winder on the night before the 2003 election."

So, signers of the Proposition 2 petition probably believe it's all about restricting government's "eminent domain" right to condemn private property because hundreds of words in the proposed new law were devoted to that.

That was sugar coating. The real intent of Prop 2 is in the final few hundred words that restrict the right of communities to zone and rezone property. If cities do re-zone, taxpayers would be asked to pay owners for any alleged economic "losses."

Apply that logic, for example, to a law prohibiting government from regulating the speed of motorists or dictating on which side of the road they drive. Imagine the effects of a law allowing drivers to decide how to use their cars (like Prop 2 would allow landowners to decide their land use), and compensating drivers for "losses" due to speed limits and restricting them to right-lane traffic. Mad chaos would result.

Communities like Blaine County's that take pride in land-use logic and value its protections could become crazy quilts of land uses, not to mention landowner lawsuits for compensation for alleged losses because of zoning decisions.

Fringe Republican conservatives have been trying to foist this "property rights" nightmare on the nation for years—and succeeded recently in Oregon.

Prop 2 would put every property's value at risk from damage by unfettered uses next door. It would destroy communities and drive up taxes.

Defeating Prop 2 is a must.

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