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California's radical land use proposal

Paul Taylor

The pending California State Senate Bill 1 would grant government that capacity to take private property if government officials decide it’s being used “inefficiently.” SB 1 is authored by California Senate Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento.

Two years ago Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature abolished local redevelopment funding in California in order to transfer $1.5 billion from local governments to the state and cover some of its chronic billion-dollar budget deficit.

SB 1 would reintroduce property redevelopment that would only apply to land uses that would comply with the 2008 “sustainable communities strategy” of SB 375.

SB 1 is really the financing and zoning vehicle for creating the new high-density “sustainable communities” lifestyle. SB 1’s “sustainable communities” would have to be high-density housing with restrictive parking, and buildings would have to be located within one-half mile of public transit ( “walkable communities”) or be green (solar or wind) energy manufacturing sites.

SB 1 would require counties and cities to create Sustainable Community Investment Authorities (SCIAs), which would be new government agencies separate from the governments that created them. The SCIAs would be established without citizen approvals or vote, and would be beyond direct citizen control. The SCIAs would also wield the authority of eminent domain property taking, and establish taxing districts and bond issuance for building such projects within SCIA jurisdiction. Such projects would have other specifications, including construction under prevailing union wages, and funding for subsidized housing.

In order to take private property for high-density sustainable development, SB1 expands the definition of “blight” to include a new concept of “inefficient use.” Under SB 1, “inefficiency” becomes the criteria for government control of private property rights. However, “inefficiency” is not clearly defined in the bill, nor are its alleged ill effects substantiated. Unfortunately, SCIAs would rely on the ill-defined concept of “inefficiency” to acquire property under eminent domain. (Cal Watchdog, August 2013)

It should be noted the UN's Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 produced a radical green policy initiative called “Agenda 21.” Agenda 21 outlines, in detail, the UN's vision for a centrally-managed and progressive global society. This initiative was signed by previous US presidents, and binds governments around the world to the UN's plan for controlling the way we live, eat, learn, move and communicate - all under the green banner of saving the earth. If fully implemented, Agenda 21 would have the government involved in every aspect of life of every human on earth.

SB 1 would be “California’s Agenda 21.” SB 1 has been placed on “inactive” status to be heard again in 2014.

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