Measure 49: the truth about its opponents

The Yes on 49 campaign has a new ad out -- that reveals the truth about most of the major opponents of Measure 49: they're self-interested land developers.

Discuss.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    I saw the ad tonight. I thought it was a pretty good ad and was the type of thing voters need to hear right now.

    There was a LTE in the Gresham Outlook on Wednesday from a couple about M49. They complained about how they want to build a house and had started the M37 process with Multnomah County. But the County put their case on hold. They're worried about having to start again if M49 passes.

    As two people have already pointed out to them, they should fall under the part of M49 that says they can indeed build their home there, without having to go through the whole process.

    Too many people are buying into the opponents' claims that your home will be taken away, that you can't build a home, that the government is taking your land, etc. It's great to hear some of the truth.

  • Daniel Eisenbeis (unverified)
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    Here's Lane Shetterly's (Director, Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development) testimony to Ways & Means Subcommittee on Natural Resources on May 31, 2007:

    "There is nothing in HB 3540 that requires that a claim that has been filed be refiled. We’re prepared to act on pending claims based on the claim that has been filed, so that when we send notice to claimants who have already filed claims, either already approved or pending, what we will be asking them would be to make a choice between either the express path relief or whether they intend to pursue the conditional path. We will not be asking them to file a new claim. We will have enough information for most claim review, to the extent that their choice for one path or the other in a specific instance requires information that is not in the claim that they have submitted, we would request additional claims information so that we can process that, but no one will have to refile a claim who has already filed."

  • ws (unverified)
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    I got a blurb in the mail today "From the Personal Desk of: Professor James Huffman Former Dean of Lewis and Clark Law School."

    It's a discombobulated blurb, citing '92 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allegedly allows the government to take 95% of the use and value of your land without compensation(505 U.S. 1003, 1019 fin8 (1992). It's a stretch from there to his claim that some unspecified Oregon law protects you from the fed law that he claims M49 will effectively repeal. He wants to warn people like me, that M49 is dangerous and misleading.

    Well, I'm tired from writing the above, but he goes on to offer 5 more warnings about M49, none of which seems to imply a very clear understanding of land ownership rights in Oregon or Oregon land use planning present and future. There's an attached Albany Democrat-herald anti-M49 fear inspiring article too.

    What a swell guy to have been associated with L&C College Law School. Developers must love this guy.

    I don't own property. I feel like, if I'm lucky, with concerted help from a lot of well informed fellow Oregonians, Oregon lands will receive some protection from inadequately regulated, livabilty destroying development, in part through efforts like M49. The fundamental principles underlying concept of land ownership and rights therein desperately need consideration and understanding if fair and responsible land use planning shall ever be devised at some point in future. For all his academic experience and credentials, Prof James Huffman, apparent friend of developers, offers no helpful advice in this respect, but instead, leaves the recipients of his anti-M49 blurb with only fear and hysteria to guide them.

  • Joel H (unverified)
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    Why do you use "self-interested" as a slur, without acknowledging that in addition to opponents of Measure 49, the supporters of Measure 49, and also people who have never heard of Measure 49, are all self-interested and are doing things for their own purposes? If certain developers are opposing 49 because doing so is in their interests, I think that's fantastic. In fact, you can generally assume that when any person is doing anything, that person feels the thing is in their interest. If you have an actual argument in favor of this bill, please just make it instead of using these worthless, emotionally manipulative smears.

  • James X. (unverified)
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    Joel, some people actually limit their self interest out of concern for the public good.

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
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    Joel:

    The M49 opponents are hiding their own self-interest. Apparently they think it's shameful. I haven't seen any ads that say "Hi. I'm a rich developer. I think the easiest way to get richer is to neuter Oregon's land use laws so I can build anywhere I want or receive tax dollars as compensation. That's why my cronies and I need you to vote no on 49." And I doubt I will see such an ad. Most people find that sort of self-interest revolting.

    Instead, the M49 opponents are resorting to, well, plain old fashioned deception. "M49 will allow the government to take your land." "M49 will mean you have pay for a permit to mow your lawn." "If M49 passes, Oregonians will be forced to sell their children to North Korea."

    It's pretty clear that Oregonians as a whole support what M49 actually does. In order to beat it, M49 opponents need to con people into thinking it doesn't something terrible. One way we can undermine the other side's lies is to point out that they stand to make big piles of money if M49 fails. That shows their motive to lie.

  • Joel H (unverified)
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    James:

    I hope not! I'm having trouble imagining something which is in the "public good" but which contradicts the majority of people's self-interest, taking a long-term perspective. I intend to vote yes on M49 for that reason, but certainly not because I know what's best for you.

    Bert:

    Distortion and untruth in a political ad? Say it isn't so. There's no reason to engage in the same behavior in response. Of course most people find rapacious development revolting. That's why caricaturing your opponents as nothing but rapacious developers (do they have claws, and snarl?) is emotionally manipulative.

  • woldwalourn (unverified)
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  • andy (unverified)
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    I'm voting no on M49 and I'm not a developer. My no vote is in response to the a-holes in Salem who refuse to listen to the voters. The land use policies got way out of whack and the Salem crowd refused to fix them. Even with a 60% vote on M37 they refused to fix things. Now they gut M37 and want us to vote once again. I'll vote no even though I don't have a dog in the fight.

    BTW - Huffman is a great guy. He argued the case for M37 in front of the Supreme Court of Oregon and won. Of course, that idiot judge who said M37 was unconstitutional helped set the table with her insane logic but still, Dean Huffman did a super job on that case.

  • (Show?)

    Huffman formerly served on the Board for one of Oregonians In Action's organizations (the OIA Legal Center, I believe). He's not a removed participant.

    And as far as "refusing to listen to the voters" - do you pledge to support strengthening our land use laws if Measure 49 passes? Or are you going to refuse to listen to the voters?

    I think it's extremely ironic that the legislature sending something to the voters is seen as refusing to respect voters.

  • jason (unverified)
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    Why am I hearing all this distaste over classifying claimants as "self-interested" developers? The Yes side is painting an accurate image of the opposition: it is only those large developers - industry-based and private - that will be hurt by M49, not those seeking a few additional houses. M49 allows up to 3 houses on farmland, and up to 10 on non-farm land, why does this point always seem to be omitted? M49 will not hurt legitimate landholders looking to build a couple more houses, but it will put a stop to outrageous development across the state. I looked at that website listed in the ad, measure37watch and found some pretty interesting stuff on who was really behind M37 and who's trying to stop M49.

  • Karl (unverified)
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    As usual, the argument is much more nuanced than greedy developers vs. wonderful planners who protect Oregon against the onslaught of sprawl.

    As easily as M49 proponents show sprawling subdivisions infringing on bountiful field of wheat swaying in the breeze or whatever, M49 opponents could show a nice cabin, set back amongst old fir on a 49 acre forest parcel as opposed to a clearcut being blasted with herbicide to impede the growth of non-commercial tree species and highlight cancer clusters amnong people who live in rural areas characterized by forest land.

    In reality, neither of these scenarios are our only choices.

    Also, nothing in this world is all bad (w/ the exception of the Bush administration). Our firm prepared a M-37 claim for a gentleman, the purpose of which was to obtain development rights so that the property has a substantial value and he could donate that value to a land trust and obtain a valuable tax break. Obviously, that is not the typical Measure 37 situation.

    IMO, Measure 37 is a bad thing for Oregon. As a planner though I know that some of the frustration with Oregon's land use regime is legitimate. The land use rules themselves are in substantial need of revision from an environmental ad development position.

    I would encourage everyone to look at Measure 49 from all sides and ask themselves if the Measure is fair and appropriate.

    I am in favor of neither Measure 37 or Measure 49. The appropriate solution is legislation to repeal Measure 37 and require an overhaul of OAR 660 (Oregon's Admiministrative land use rules). Measure 49 is an attempt to split the baby and will make no one happy.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Andy, I don't think that you and others realize that serious adult discussion means respecting the opposition.

    The Recall Judge James folks sounded a lot like your statement above, "BTW - Huffman is a great guy. He argued the case for M37 in front of the Supreme Court of Oregon and won. Of course, that idiot judge who said M37 was unconstitutional helped set the table with her insane logic but still, Dean Huffman did a super job on that case."

    In any court case, there are going to be 2 sides. But how does it help in "the court of public opinion" (the folks who might actually decide an election) for one side to say "our folks are great, the other side are idiots"?

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
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    Karl makes a lot of sense. He's right that the legislature refused to do anything about the increasingly frustrating land use rules. It took M37 passing and Democrats coming to power to make any real changes.

    While I don't think M49 is perfect in every way, it is substantially better than what we have under M37. I will vote for it.

    I also hope the legislature continues to be responsive to Oregonians' legitimate gripes about land use planning.

  • john (unverified)
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    I'm a "self-interested" developer without apology.

    I'm also voting YES on 49 and am actively campaigning for it among my associates. It protects my investment and future investmments from an overzealous neighbor, who will wring Measure 37 for all he can, and then leave.

  • Nathan Baker (unverified)
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    I am an alum of Lewis & Clark Law School. Yesterday I received the following e-mail from Dean Bob Klonoff:

    <hr/>

    Dear Alumni:

    It has come to my attention that one of our faculty members is publicly taking a political position on a measure appearing on the Oregon ballot in the upcoming election, a measure concerning land-use regulations in the state. Some have concluded that his position represents the official position of Lewis & Clark Law School.

    Lewis & Clark College does not take a position on this or any other political issue. As an academic institution, we strive to provide the finest education and produce students and graduates who engage public issues with a balanced, well-informed approach.

    Warm regards,

    Bob Klonoff Dean of the Law School

    <hr/>

    I sent this e-mail in response:

    Dear Dean Klonoff,

    Thank you for the clarification. I've never had a problem with Jim Huffman taking political views. In fact, I believe that having multiple viewpoints on campus enhances the academic vitality of the law school. My problem isthat in expressing his political views, he often does so as Dean of Lewis & Clark Law School--and now he is doing so as former dean. This can confuse members of the public who may understandably view Professor Huffman's views and the law school's views as one and the same. Such confusion is problematic, counterproductive, and unnecessary. Thank you for taking steps to clarify that Professor Huffman does not represent the official position of the law school.

    Nathan Baker '00

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    The lesser of two evils is still - evil.

    I'm not a developer, homebuilder or have anything in the fight but my own property. I'm voting "NO" on 49 for two very basic reasons

    1. Anything that takes over 1 pages to "explain" to voters isn't a good thing and should have had multiple public hearings. This Measure didn't.
    2. The people spoke on 37 by a 61 percent margin, the legislature should either repeal 37 and start over, or let it be.
  • Steve (unverified)
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    "This can confuse members of the public".

    Oh yes that confused public.

    Who might that be? Do you have a name of a person who was confused? Were you confused?

    Boy if you think that was "problematic, counterproductive, and unnecessary" you have a low threshhold for trouble.

  • alijane (unverified)
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    I am voting No on this measure, I have not vested interest in the outcome, I am just tired of voting on things over and over again. The people have spoken and I don't think government has given Measure 37 a chance. They have fought since the day it passed, through the courts and the legislature and back to the ballot again.

    Enough already, the people vote twice on this issue.

  • James X. (unverified)
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    I'm with alijane. Ballot measures should be permanent. Sort of like one step above a Supreme Court decision.

    We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals. We know now that it is bad economics. -FDR

  • (Show?)

    Steve Who might that be? Do you have a name of a person who was confused?

    Why yes, Steve. If you look in the voter's pamphlet, there are several missives by pro-49 people who say "I voted for Measure 37, but didn't realize all the side effects." Like driving a lot of farms in the State out of business, for example.

    If you don't want Oregon "California-icated" (or some shortened version of the above), then vote for Measure 49 . If you don't care what happens to the state, then vote against it.

  • Ash (unverified)
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    Measure 49 is a mess because it ignores what voters wanted. Voters wanted land rights, so they passed Measure 37. It is hypocritical to pretend otherwise.

    The real issue is that if this ignorance happens once, it will happen everytime our legislators don't like what we have to say. That is why I think 49 is a bad idea, not even touching on land use. Its the principle of it.

  • Evan Manvel (unverified)
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    Unlike hearing-free Measure 37, Measure 49 had nine public hearings and over 300 people testify. Come ON!

    Do you think every last edit of every bill means that we should have a new public hearing? That's not how it works.

    And as far as "the people have spoken on this issue" -- why are you against people speaking on a different version of this issue again, justifying it only by saying that people voted on it? Seems like if you like people voting on issues, you should be glad that the legislature sent it to the voters.

  • andy (unverified)
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    It's been obvious to me since Measure 37 was on the ballot that M37 is just a radical libertarian gutting of land use restrictions. It functions by demanding ransom from cash-strapped county governments, and it boldly allows property owners to ignore almost every type of land use regulation. Essentially, it is Ayn Rand style hyper-capitalism and it's really terrible policy.

    I just don't know how I feel about the initiative process anymore. It's just too easy to buy the vote through a slick ad campaign.

    I'm voting Yes on 49 so we can stop the mad development rush that M37 began.

  • Jeff (unverified)
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    The homepage for Lewis & Clark features this headline, "James Huffman disavows use of Law School name on anti-49 mailing." That's free publicity for the anti-crowd, eh?

    It Googles much better than, "...disavows use of Law School name on political mailing."

    In his own press release Huffman claims, "The envelope in which it was delivered included the name of the law school below my name and above my home address."

    Yes Jim, but the letter says, "From the Personal Desk of: Professor James Huffman, Former Dean of Lewis and Clark Law School." Apparently sent to anyone who owns farmland in Oregon, judging from this guest opinion in the Forest Grove News-Times.

    Plus -- In the Voter's Pamphlet, Jim has staked out the first Argument in Opposition to Measure 50, signed "This information furnished by James L. Huffman, Professor of Law and former Dean, Lewis & Clark Law School." I won't list all the guest columns in the Oregonian signed the same way.

    Jim Huffman is the Lewis & Clark Law School. And if they deny it, be sure the headline includes "anti-50."

  • Jeff (unverified)
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    Here's a frameable quote from The Oregonian circa 2003:

    "I don't think any law school should be an advocate for any particular cause. We should be educating ethical and well-trained lawyers." -- JAMES HUFFMAN, DEAN, LEWIS & CLARK LAW SCHOOL

  • Terri (unverified)
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    INRE Prof Huffman's references to Lucas vs SC's Coastal Council. If your eyes start glazing over, click on the Syllabus and read that first for an easier to read summary.

    I had to go look up the Supreme's opinion to see what the heck he was talking about. There are very few instances of eminent domain that do not include fair and just compensation for the property owner. Afterall the "taking clause" is historic all the way back to the Mayflower Compact, fer heavens sake.

    It seems to me after reading - and I'm no lawyer, mind you - that Lucas was a beach front developer, & picked up a few more lots for SFRs. A couple of years later, SC came in with an act designating some waterfront lands, including Lucas' development lots, as protected. Lucas immediately filed a "takings clause" lawsuit and the state's lower courts level agreed, awarding a $1.2mil settlement.

    However the SC State Supremes disagreed, classifying the taking justified for reasons of "harmful and noxious uses", which do not require compensation to owners.

    The US Supremes reversed and remanded it back to the states to sort out because - and this happens often in our judicial system - Lucas did not pursue his remedies challenging the "noxious/harmful" claim by the state. In a court of law, if you don't know your rights, you can lose your rights.

    In fact, the Supremes said they thought it unlikely he could not obtain either a special permit, or question this law. But this was all part of the state's job and not in the federal juridiction. They basically spanked everyone, and sent the plaintiff back to the state to challenge the states definition of the background principles used.

    Whether or not Lucas continued to battle the state over validation of the wrongfully applied (per the US Supremes) takings I don't know. But as Huffman has implied with this law suit - I believe erroneously - the US Supremes did not merely grant the states the right to take without compensation.

    Now, if any of you are legal eagles out there, let me know if I read this incorrectly. But it specifically states, even in the Syllabus, that:

    "(c) ... snip... Because it is not consistent with the historical compact embodied in the Takings Clause that title to real estate is held subject to the State's subsequent decision to eliminate all economically beneficial use, a regulation having that effect cannot be newly decreed, and sustained, without compensation's being paid the owner. ... snip

    The above alone nullifies Huffman's claim that property can not be taken (except in rare background principles settings) without fair compensation. Measure 49 changes nothing with respect to federal property rights laws, and is unable to usurp it when they conflict.

  • NNN (unverified)
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    L&C has officially asked OIA to correct the record regarding Huffman’s use of the schools’ name to advance OIA’s political agenda. Today the school issued the following press release:

    Lewis & Clark Law Dean Calls on Anti-Measure 49 Group to Correct Misuse of School Name

    PORTLAND, Ore. (October 24, 2007) — Robert Klonoff, dean of Lewis & Clark Law School, today demanded that the anti-Measure 49 group Oregonians in Action take measures to correct the misimpression that the group’s recent statewide mailing came from the law school.

    The demand was made in a formal letter to David Hunnicutt, president of Oregonians in Action, from the college’s general counsel, David Ellis. A copy of the letter was sent to the Election Division of the office of the Oregon Secretary of State.

    The organization’s mailing, sent to many thousands of Oregon voters, was signed by former Lewis & Clark law dean and current professor James Huffman. The envelope used Huffman’s and the law school’s name on the return address, giving the impression that it was a mailing from the law school and that Huffman’s anti-49 message represented the official position of the school.

    Klonoff demanded that Oregonians in Action send a letter of correction to all households that received the previous mailing and clarify that the anti-49 message did not represent any official position of Lewis & Clark.

    “Oregonians in Action at no time sought my authorization to use the Lewis & Clark name on the envelopes for their mailing,” Klonoff said. “Nor did they seek the authorization of the college’s president, general counsel, or any other current member of the administration with authority to bind the college. Lewis & Clark Law School had no knowledge of any such mailing and did not learn of it, and Professor Huffman’s involvement with it, until concerned constituents began to contact us after receiving it in the mail.”

    Judging from the large number of voters who have contacted the law school to express their concerns, Klonoff said it is clear that Oregonians in Action has given the impression that the letter was an official mailing from Lewis & Clark. “It’s disappointing that Oregonians in Action would misuse the school’s good name for a partisan political purpose, in what many of our concerned constituents regard as fraud against the voters,” Klonoff said.

    “In the spirit of academic freedom and our commitment to sound jurisprudence, Lewis & Clark Law School upholds the right of our faculty members to engage in political debates no matter their stance on a particular issue,” Klonoff added. “However, as an academic institution we do not take official positions on ballot measures or any other political issue. Rather, it is our mission to educate lawyers and citizens who can enter such debates with critical thinking, a sound legal foundation, and a commitment to healthy public discourse.

    “Fair debate requires that all participants represent their ideas with integrity and sincerity. The misuse of our name by Oregonians in Action violates that fundamental principle. It is deeply troublesome that the group would mislead voters in an attempt to garner support on this controversial issue. They must correct the record immediately.”

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