Propostion 1, Is The Sky Falling On The Mat-Su Borough?

Almost every issue of the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman and the Anchorage Daily News for the last few weeks have included opinion pieces and letters to the editor against Proposition One in the upcoming Mat-Su Borough election.

Noticing the sensational language, and repeated terms I recognized it as a coordinated campaign. Someone has been handing out talking points and asking volunteers to write as much as they can on this issue.  I also remembered that both the Mat-Su Assembly and the Palmer City Council had considered spending public funds to fight this propostion. 

I became curious about Propostion 1 but it took a phone call from someone asking how I planned to vote on the issue to actually cause me to read it.  I just read it this morning…you can read it too.  It’s right here on the Mat-Su Borough website.

It protects private property owners from an overzealous government.  That seems like a reasonable thing to do in the old US of A.  No wonders it’s called the Private Property Protection Act. 

The fear mongers make it sound like it will bankrupt the Mat-Su Borough.  Perhaps they haven’t read the ordinance, or perhaps they can’t understand it.  It appears to be very plain English to me. 

Propostion 1 says that if the borough restricts the right of a property owner to use his/her land in such a way that it decreases the value of the property then the borough has a choice.  They can pay the owner just compensation for the decreased value, or they can lift the restriction.  It seems very plain and simple to me.

The only way it would cost the Mat-Su Borough any money at all is if the borough decided that the restriction in land use was important enough that they would reimburse the private property owner for it’s decreased value.

It is really just an extension of the current law which requires government to pay for any land or property that they actually take from a land owner.  For example, the state has paid quite a few people along Trunk Road for land they have taken to straighten the road.  We have worked with at least three of those displaced land owners. 

Will there be a shake-out period as the intricacies of the new law are defined by the courts?  Of course there will be, just like there normally is when any new law is passed.  Only this time it will be the government challenging the new law rather than the private citizen.  The shoe is on the other foot.

I honestly don’t have any idea if Propostion One will pass.  I will certainly vote for it. 

By the way, if you want to know how to vote on local issues but don’t have time to really look into things, just drive by 4–corners.  That’s where the two photos were taken.  The conservative signs are on the North Side of the Palmer-Wasilla Highway, and the Liberal ones are on the South. 

For anyone not local, Four Corners is the intersection of the Palmer-Wasilla Highway and Trunk Road…and the above comment is only partially “tongue-in-cheek”.  That method of choosing your votes is currently very accurate.

Whatever you do…VOTE…Oct 2, 2007.  These local elections generally affect your day to day life more than the big ones do.