As you may remember, Measure 37 in Oregon was billed as a way to help property owners get around regulations that kept them from building that extra house or two on their rural land. The past year has demonstrated to the voters the need to beware the law of unintended consequences as thousands of claims were filed upon thousands of acres, and instead of that one house next door, 300-home subdivisions and geothermal plants were proposed.
The fact that Oregon is poised to reform the flawed Measure 37 this November hasn’t stopped others from trying to export the measure to other areas. Several were defeated last fall, with Arizona the lone passage. Just last week, an initiative copied nearly exactly from Measure 37 was defeated in a landslide in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough of Alaska, which is a large area north of Anchorage the size of West Virginia. Mat-Su voters rejected Proposition 1 in every single precinct. The final tally was 71.4 percent against Proposition 1, and only 28.6 percent in favor. Read about it in The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman.
The quote from the measure’s sponsor in the article was shocking to say the least, demonstrating how out-of-touch he is with his fellow voters and residents. He called the outcome was “a stunning victory for socialism.”
“Yikes. This is not the sentiment of a guy who believes in community, or even the basic tenets of local democracy. It’s the ranting of an ideology that is wildly out of step with American life. In light of the Mat-Su vote, it’s becoming abundantly clear that no matter what a handful of “property rights” activists like to believe, Americans really and truly like having a say in their communities. It’s not that local government is perfect, or that zoning is uncontroversial, or that everyone always gets what that want. It’s just this: Americans believe in democracy.”
Campaign manager Kevin Brown responded to Eric’s post with a summation of his own, viewable in the comments below Eric’s post:
“People want to have a say in their communities and how they grow. People want to know that when the community establishes a rule, it applies to everyone. People want to know that their homes and their property aren’t open to wild devaluation by their neighbor’s actions. People also want to know that when the community needs a new rule to deal with a new situation, the government can respond without fear of being sued by those who don’t want to follow the law. These aren’t Socialist ideas, they are fundamentally American ones. I’m proud of Mat-Su voters, and am proud to be a part of the great state of Alaska.”