Sen George: Gov and Democrats Partisan on Measure 37

From the Sen. Larry George press release 4/20/07:

Governor, Democrats Take Partisan Road on Ballot Measure 37

SALEM — It is becoming clear that Democrat partisanship this session will be defined by their attempts gut Ballot Measure 37. Staff for Governor Kulongoski on Thursday night offered 36 pages of changes to the brief three page ballot measure passed overwhelmingly by voters in 2004.

Proponents of the property rights measure and Republicans encouraging its implementation say the changes offered by the Governor and Democrats amount to a near repeal. “It has been over two and a half years since Oregonians overwhelming adopted ballot measure 37,” noted Senator Larry George (R-Sherwood). “And the Governor and Democrats still are taking a partisan stance of wanting to repeal it, add pages and pages of bureaucracy, or take way the rights it gave to property owners.”
George says the Governor’s office has come up with cute phrases to “put lipstick on their pig, but underneath it, you still have a pig.” Specifically, George noted that “terms like “˜express lane’ and “˜fast track’ are being used when they are really giving a clear path home to bumper-to-bumper, downtown Portland gridlock at 5:00 pm.”

Senator Roger Beyer (R-Mololla) outlined a plan earlier this month that he says will implement the measure in a way far closer to what voters have twice approved. Democrats on the committee have not yet allowed Beyer to present his proposal to the committee but he hopes he will be afforded the opportunity Tuesday when the committee meets next.

“Other plans have proposed fundamental changes to Measure 37,” said Beyer. “Oregonians recognized that our land use system was broken, and passed Measure 37. We can’t turn a deaf ear to that.”

Beyer’s plan has the following components:
“¢ Protect neighborhoods and local character
Restrict lot size in the Willamette Valley to no less then the median tax lot size or 20 acres, whichever is less, in the surrounding neighborhood. The neighborhoods will consist of all tax lots with in a mile of the affected claim.
“¢ Keep property rights transferable
Allow approved Measure 37 waivers to stay with property through sale or inheritance.
“¢ Establish a reimbursement and compensation fund
Use back taxes generated by Measure 37 development for reimbursing landowners for their costs if a waiver is voided by legislative action and creating a compensation fund to reimburse landowners for regulations not waived.
“¢ Create breathing room for claim review
Extend timeline to process claims by 180 days to allow local governments more time to review claims that came in near the deadline.
“¢ Establish security for surviving spouses
Clarify that surviving spouses have a right to Measure 37 claims, whether or not they are on the property deed and changes in business structure that where not due to “sale” of property — LLC, partnerships, corporations etc.
“¢ Clarification of ambiguous language
Make clear federal exemption and health and human safety language in the original measure.

Voters passed Ballot Measure 37 by wide margins in 2004 after Oregon courts overturned a similar measure, Ballot Measure 7, which passed in 2002.