LWV League of Women Voters of California
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Los Angeles County, CA November 5, 2002 Election
Measure N
Adoption of ordinance to amend General Plan
City of Lawndale

Majority Approval Required

1,419 / 39.78% Yes votes ...... 2,148 / 60.22% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Nov 26 10:38am, 100.00% of Precincts Reporting ( 11/ 11)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

(1) Shall Ordinance No. 920-02 be adopted, to do the following: repeal in its entirety Chapter 2.74 of the Lawndale Municipal Code, which prohibits the redevelopment agency from using its power of eminent domain to acquire property which is zoned for residential purposes or developed with residential structures of 4 units or less? And (2) Shall the City Council be directed to amend the General Plan to permit the use of eminent domain to eliminate blight only in commercial and industrial, but not residential zones, within the redevelopment project area?

Impartial Analysis from William W. Wynder, City Attorney
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The Council placed Measure "N" before the voters asking whether the City should be directed to amend the General Plan, and whether Chapter 2.74 should be repealed, to add the authority called "eminent domain."

"Eminent domain" is a constitutional power to acquire private property for a public use provided the government pays "just compensation" for the land. "Just compensation" includes its "fair market value, including fixtures, equipment, and loss of business good will."

The law requires payment of "relocation benefits to guarantee that [no person] will be displaced from a home until comparable decent, safe and sanitary replacement housing is accessible." In most cases, "moving expenses and a replacement housing" payments must also be made.

Measure "N" would limit eminent domain only to property in the redevelopment project area. This power would be further limited only to property zoned commercial or industrial.

There are around 5,000 individual parcels of land in the redevelopment project area. Of these, 643 parcels are zoned commercial or industrial (about 13% of the total number of parcels). Of these, 155 parcels (or about 24% of the 13% of parcels zoned commercial or industrial) have legal non-conforming dwellings (with around 565 dwelling units).

A Yes vote means you agree to direct the Council to amend the General Plan, and to repeal Chapter 2.74, to add eminent domain authority, but only in the redevelopment project area and only for property zoned commercial or industrial. Your No vote means you do not want the General Plan amended or Chapter 2.74 repealed.

The California Redevelopment Association says eminent domain is "a necessary tool" for "revitalizing a dilapidated area." These legal experts say that, "at times, the public good must take precedence over private property rights, so long as just compensation is paid."

These experts also say "eminent domain [may be used primarily] to condemn blighted and dilapidated structures located in economically weak areas." Before using eminent domain, the City or Redevelopment Agency must "make every reasonable effort to acquire private property through negotiation and must not pay less than fair market value."

To exercise this power, the City or Redevelopment Agency must adopt a "resolution of necessity by a two-thirds vote" (meaning 4 of 5 members of the Council or Agency must agree). The City or Redevelopment Agency must also determine that use of eminent domain is necessary for a "public purpose," and is being used "in a manner that is most compatible with the greatest public good and the least private injury."

In summary, a Yes vote means you agree to direct the Council to amend the General Plan to add eminent domain authority, but only in the redevelopment project area, and only for land zoned commercial or industrial, and to repeal Chapter 2.74. A No vote means you do not want the City to have the power of eminent domain or to repeal Chapter 2.74.

This measure imposes no new taxes or fees on City residents, property owners, or businesses.

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Arguments For Measure N Arguments Against Measure N

To attract business, improve our Downtown and create local jobs, Lawndale residents strongly support amending our general plan. It allows the use of eminent domain in commercial and industrial areas only # Not Residential areas.

With no increase in taxes, this measure will raise revenue for Lawndale and improve our quality of life. Improving our economic base is essential to city services like:
Repairing local streets and potholes
Expanding public safety programs
Cleaning up local parks and making them safer
Creating local jobs
Attracting business to downtown Lawndale
Expanding recreation programs and services for youth
Expanding anti-drug, anti gang programs
Expanding senior programs

Lawndale residents rely on quality City services to provide public safety, create jobs and economic development, and ensure our quality of life. Our City is well managed. It has received a prestigious award for leadership and vision from the League of California Cities.

However, changes in our economy and the state/federal budgets mean that Lawndale must take action to improve our own local base. Eminent domain will be permitted only in commercial and industrial areas, and generous compensation if any residents are impacted.

Under state law, property owners are guaranteed fair, market value, and renters will receive moving reimbursement and rent assistance for up to four years.

If we don't act now to improve our commercial/industrial areas and attract business and jobs to our city, Lawndale residents will miss this opportunity and our quality of life will suffer.

Without increasing taxes, we can take action to improve our community and our economy.

Working together, we will keep Lawndale a great place to live, work and play- for today's residents and future generations.

Vote Yes on Measure N to help our City's economic future move forward.

Mayor Pro Tem Lawndale

Council Member

Council Member

Senior Citizen Advisory Chairperson

Pastor, Centinela Baptist Church

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Proponents say "residents strongly support amending our General Plan" to allow the use of eminent domain to take our homes and businesses. How arrogant? Isn't that yet to be determined by this ballot measure?

They state that this measure "allows the use of eminent domain in commercial and industrial areas only # Not Residential areas." But then they say that "compensation" will be provided if any "residents are impacted." Did they forget to mention that of the 5,000 individual parcels of land in the redevelopment project area that will be subject to eminent domain, residents occupy over 550 homes on land now zoned for commercial or industrial use?

Proponents promise there will be no increase in taxes, but they don't tell you how many millions of dollars the City's Redevelopment Agency already owes, or how many millions of dollars more it will cost to fulfill their promises to you. Councilmembers may come and go. They don't tell you who's ultimately responsible for paying this debt.

Proponents' Argument contains the same promises and tactics used successfully to gain your support in the past. It worked then, and they're counting on it to work again.

Don't be fooled by proponents' promises. Protect your property rights! Vote SMART! Vote NO on Measure N.

Mayor of Lawndale

Former Lawndale Councilmember

Former Lawndale Councilmember

In 1992 Lawndale citizens voted against this or any other Lawndale City Council's use of Eminent Domain to take our property from us. This prohibition against the use of Eminent Domain was so strongly felt that language forbidding its use was included in the voter approved City's General Plan. Now the Council is at it again. What is it about the word NO that they don't understand? It would be unscrupulous of the Council to force our families & their children and our long-time, loyal business owners to relocate. And it is unconscionable to consider "taking" our property and selling it to some "private" developer to serve the Council's definition of the greater good.

The use of Eminent Domain by the Council would result in extreme hardships experienced by our homeowners, residents and business owners from their forced relocation. As one of the Council's victims, a City paid "independent" appraiser would determine what constitutes "just compensation" for your property. Eminent Domain has the potential to affect 565 homes and businesses in the City.

The advocates of this measure want you to believe that with your support for Eminent Domain the City will be able to expedite development & creation of new revenue for our general fund at no cost to the community. This is absolutely untrue! It is enormously expensive to both the City and to all of us.

We agree and support the responsible development and growth of Lawndale to bring you more and better services. Tell the Council leadership they must consider other options.

If targeted by the Council for Redevelopment, the home or business you save may be your own! Join us in VOTING NO ON MEASURE N!

Mayor of Lawndale

Former Lawndale Councilmember

Former Lawndale Councilmember

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
WHAT'S IT GOING TO BE # Progress, Jobs, and a Lawndale we can be proud of?

Or should our city go back in time and ignore the economic gains other South Bay cities are enjoying?

Why shouldn't our city get the same benefits other cities are getting?

Community leaders, senior citizens, and religious leaders agree #Measure N is our best opportunity to improve Lawndale.

FACT: Residential areas are protected. The Measure applies ONLY to commercial and industrial zones.

FACT: Only one project area has been designated for development. That's the lot at the corner of Hawthorne Blvd. and Manhattan Beach Blvd # the gateway to our community.

FACT: Measure N provides the best opportunity to relocate tenants from substandard housing and improve the appearance of our city. It helps upgrade the quality of our housing supply by removing older units, which may not meet current code requirements.

FACT: Residents are protected by state law and receive fair market value as well as substantial relocation and rent subsidies.

FACT: The City needs the ability to bring in larger revenue producing businesses that will generate the sales tax dollars that will keep the City financially healthy.

We want these services:
# New library, community center
# Anti-gang / anti-drug programs for youth
# Safe, clean streets and parks

In our opinion, without Measure N, our community won't continue to enjoy the quality city services we all rely on.


Council Member

Council Member

Council Member

Pastor, Centinela Baptist Church

Sr. Citizen Advisory Committee

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Created: December 6, 2002 03:14 PST
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