San Bernardino County voters OK tamer version of eminent domain measure: Los Angeles CA Times, 11/9/06

By Jonathan Abrams and Sara Lin

California voters rejected a statewide proposition to restrict the government's ability to seize private property, but voters in San Bernardino County approved a scaled-down version of the measure Tuesday.

Measure O, which prohibits the county from using eminent domain to take private land and transfer it to a private developer or other entity, passed by a wide margin.

"This isn't going to impede the county from improving streets and roads in any way," said Supervisor Dennis Hansberger, who supported the county initiative. "But it's also not going to allow people's land to be taken away and given to developers and, frankly, just making them richer."

Had state Proposition 90 also been approved, the sweeping state initiative on eminent domain would have taken precedence, and significantly increased government compensation to property owners, San Bernardino County officials said.

Instead, the new measure will apply in unincorporated areas of the county. Supervisors were concerned that the state proposition was too broad and would raise the price of land seized by eminent domain, thus limiting growth and revitalization projects.

Los Angeles CA Times: http://www.latimes.com