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Proposition battle heats up

Posted: May 13, 2008 2:12 a.m.
Updated: July 14, 2008 5:01 a.m.
Both sides are gearing up for the June primary during this year of seemingly endless elections, but in the Santa Clarita Valley the hotly contested issue isn't candidates - it's propositions.

In fact, two warring measures involving eminent domain are the only issues that will appear locally on the June 3 ballot. Already, accusations of misleading and dishonest advertising are being leveled in the battle over the statewide measures.

The city of Santa Clarita has taken a firm stand on the issue.

The two competing propositions are Proposition 98, which may limit rent control, and Proposition 99, which would limit the use of eminent domain.

Co-sponsored by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Proposition 98 is widely supported by landlord groups.

According to the language of Proposition 98, state and local governments would be prohibited from "condemning or damaging private property for private uses." If a majority of voters approve Proposition 98, litigation rules would be changed to favor property owners. Also, the government may allow the property's original owner to repurchase the property at the original price if the land or building is used differently than originally stated. Rent control would also be prohibited if the proposition is approved by voters.

Those who oppose Proposition 98, such as tenants' rights group, redevelopment agencies and the city of Santa Clarita, support Proposition 99.

"Proposition 98 has an awful lot of items in it that really don't state what the initiative is really about," said Santa Clarita Councilwoman Marsha McLean. "It is not about eminent domain in its entirety. It is about abolishing rent control.

"On the surface they are saying its eminent domain reform, but underneath it's much deeper than that, and it's a problem for taxpayers."

However, Proposition 99 would be more restrictive of government action in real estate matters. According to the language of the measure, if passed, it would "prohibit state and local governments from using eminent domain to acquire an owner-occupied residence ... for conveyance to a private person or business entity."

Proposition 99 would not, however, prohibit rent control or eminent domain for residences that are not owner-occupied.

"Proposition 98 is the only ballot measure that protects all private property from eminent domain," said Marko Mlikotin of River City Communications, who is also part of the 'Yes on 98" campaign. "It's in stark contrast from Proposition 99, which only purports to protects homes, but has many loopholes.

"It does not protect businesses, places of worship and family farms. It only purports to protect homes."

While local voters are only considering two propositions, there are several local candidates who are running for their respective party's nomination.

County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, running for re-election in the Fifth District, which includes the Santa Clarita Valley, will not face opposition for the Republican nomination in the June primary. However, he will likely face Stephen Mark Hinze, a warehouse worker from Burbank, in the November General Election.

Hinze is running unopposed for the nomination of the Party for Socialism and Liberation.

In the sprawling 25th Congressional District, which includes the SCV, Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, will be running unopposed for the Republican nomination of the Republican primary.

In November's General Election, McKeon will face Jacques Conaway of Barstow, who is running unopposed in the June Primary Election for the Democratic nomination.

At the state level, Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, R-Santa Clarita, and Sen. George Runner, R-Lancaster, also face no opposition for their respective offices in June. In November each will face a local Democratic activist.

Those activists also will go unchallenged in June. They are Carole L. Lutness, who has filed for Smyth's seat, and Bruce McFarland, who filed for Runner's 17th District Senate seat.

There is a small portion of the Santa Clarita Valley, such as Stevenson Ranch, that is not covered in the 17th Senate District, but instead is in the 19th District. The seat is currently held by Tom McClintock, yet the seat is open this year since he cannot run for re-election due to term limits. Running to fill his seat is Tony Strickland, running unopposed in the June primary for the Republican nomination. He will run against Hannah Beth Jackson, who does not have any competition in June for the Democratic nomination.

Competition will make an appearance on the June ballot for Tony Strickland's current seat, California's 37th Assembly District, which includes Castaic. Democrats Ferial Masry (Newbury Park) and David Hare (Camarillo) are both running against each other for the party's nomination. Tony Strickland's wife, Audra Strickland, is running unopposed for the Republican nomination in her efforts to replace her husband in the 37th district.

Competition will also be a factor for each party's County Central Committee seats.

Running for the county's Republican Central Committee seats are: Susan Abato; B.J. Atkins; Bob Haueter; Michael Hildebrand, Jr.; Kevin Korenthal; Jacob Lohr; Steve Lunetta; Joe Messina; L. "Lucy" Tajerian; and Scott Wilk. All nine candidates are vying for seven seats.

For the county's Democratic Central Committee, the following candidates have filed nomination papers: Horacio Francisco Ariza; Jim Hilfenhaus; Dwight Hines; Isaac Lieberman; Carole Lutness; David Lutness; Richard Matthews; Bruce McFarland; Masato Muso; Lynne Plambeck; Diana Shaw; Lyn Shaw; A. Lysa Simon; and Stephen Samuel Winkler. Similar to the Republican Central Committee, the 14 Democratic candidates are seeking seven seats.

Both Central Committees cover the 38th District, which includes the Santa Clarita Valley.


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