Constitutional amendment poll

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The Annoyed Man
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Re: Constitutional amendment poll

Postby The Annoyed Man » Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:50 pm

seamusTX wrote:Proposition 9 effectively made the Texas Open Beaches Act part of the Constitution, so a future legislature cannot change it by a simple majority.

The TOBA has been law for 40 years and survived challenges in the Texas Supreme Court.

It is based on Spanish-Mexican common law, which made access to beaches a right.

People who own beachfront property can still own the beach (and pay taxes on it), but they cannot build a structure or limit public access to it.

I have mixed feelings about it myself, but if the majority of Texans accepted it for 25 years before I moved here, I can't complain.

- Jim

I'm not complaining. I just have an opinion about it because I've already seen how toxic that can become. Perhaps the fact that it is now part of the state's constitution will keep abuses of it from occuring. But like you, TOBA doesn't affect me personally. However, the California Coastal Commission does affect me personally, and I am most definitely complaining about that. That house and land represents the principal value of my mother's estate, and thus whatever insane rulings the CCC wants to inflict on that estate when my mother dies will affect me personally in a very measurable financial way. The CCC has assumed powers that were not within the original scope of its charter and which are extra-constitutional within the scope of the state's constitution. But the California state government, being run by a bunch of commie liberal spendthrifts as it is, is spiritually in lockstep with what the CCC does, so it will never be reformed.

Since TOBA passed 37 years before I moved here, I have no say in it, although I'm certainly entitled to my opinion about it. But as a current resident, I did have a say in Proposition 9, and I voted against it. My view is that if the state has a compelling interest in making sure that the public has access to beaches, then let the state designate already state-owned coastal land as public beach, or buy coastal land for that purpose. That then represents the public's right of access, and the state discharges its duty to service that compelling interest. In California, prior to the creation of the CCC, that is exactly what happened. It was a case of the state saying, "what's mine is mine, and what's yours is yours." But come the CCC (and in Texas, the TOBA), the state now says, "what's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine too."

That ain't right, no matter how you cut it.

But again, that's just my opinion.

I'm curious about what the rest of you thought about Proposition 4, the "national research university fund" amendment.
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Re: Constitutional amendment poll

Postby Pete92FS » Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:50 pm

seamusTX wrote: low turnout has resulted in some kooks and incompetents being elected.

- Jim


So has high turn out if you take last years elections as an example.
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chabouk
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Re: Constitutional amendment poll

Postby chabouk » Wed Nov 04, 2009 1:20 pm

I wasn't surprised by the results. The amendments I supported passed overwhelmingly. Those I opposed passed by smaller margins, with a couple of exceptions.

I was amused that both the eminent domain and beach amendments passed, since they seem to contradict each other when it comes to private property rights.

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seamusTX
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Re: Constitutional amendment poll

Postby seamusTX » Wed Nov 04, 2009 1:35 pm

The Annoyed Man wrote:My view is that if the state has a compelling interest in making sure that the public has access to beaches, then let the state designate already state-owned coastal land as public beach, or buy coastal land for that purpose.

I think the difference between Texas and other coastal states is that beaches have always been considered open to the public, ab origine.

When Texas won its independence from Mexico, it was sparsely populated. The new government of the Republic parceled out land to investors, but it retained the old common law of public beach access.

Another critical difference is that the Gulf Coast of Texas is low, soft land (Galveston Island is nothing but a sand dune). The Gulf can advance 100 feet in one day, as it did in some places after Ike. The state needs a rational way to deal with structures that formerly were on dry land and now are halfway in the water.

FWIW, the current Land Commissioner, Jerry Patterson, fully supports TOBA and supported Prop. 9. He is a libertarian conservative and also as strong a supporter of the right to keep and bear arms as anyone in Texas government.

- Jim

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Re: Constitutional amendment poll

Postby ELB » Wed Nov 04, 2009 1:43 pm

seamusTX wrote:
ELB wrote:All of Texas voters decided. Most, through inattention or apathy, just decided to let someone else decide. ;-)

IMHO, "I don't care" is not a morally acceptable choice.

- Jim


Oh I think so too, but the same can be said for jury duty, for example, which I think people should do as a moral duty. And even with jury "conscription," lots of people do whatever they can to avoid "deciding." (And lawyers help by trying to cherry pick the members).

In a free society, people are free to make bad choices. One of the costs. Remember, Cuba, USSR, and the NorKs have amazing voter turnout... :mrgreen:

As to whether the right decisions get made, with the small turn out...YMMV. As I pointed out the General Election was a complete disaster, and we will be paying for that mistake for a long, long time.

Also while talking about const. amendments and small turnouts...makes me wonder what TSRA could do with certain issues and a good turnout of TSRA members... ;-)
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seamusTX
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Re: Constitutional amendment poll

Postby seamusTX » Wed Nov 04, 2009 2:00 pm

ELB wrote:Also while talking about const. amendments and small turnouts...makes me wonder what TSRA could do with certain issues and a good turnout of TSRA members... ;-)

Interesting thought.

We could put "shall issue" into the Constitution. The strategy would have to be worked out by someone smarter than I.

The existence of CHL is almost an open secret now. I remember the furor when it passed in 1995 (and I lived in another state at the time); but when blood failed to flood the streets, people largely forgot about it.

Drawing attention to CHL issues attracts opponents as well as proponents.

- Jim


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Re: Constitutional amendment poll

Postby Zee » Wed Nov 04, 2009 2:46 pm

seamusTX wrote:Early voting begins today. Every voter in Texas can make a choice on the proposed constitutional amendments that the legislature sent to us.

Here is a guide that seems reliable, IMHO: http://www.lwvtexas.org/2009VG/2009CAVG%5BFINAL%5D.pdf

I have opinions on the following proposition:
  • Proposition 2 will require homesteads to be appraised for taxation based only on the value of the property as a residence. This means that the appraisal district cannot decide that your home would be worth more as a gas station and set the value accordingly.
  • Proposition 11 solidifies the prevention of abuse of eminent domain.

- Jim

Proposition 11 was pushed due to the state wanting to gobble up land for the big toll road, the Trans-Texas Corridor. When its time to vote, don't forget the need to enact legislation to protect landowners from this current governor's plan. Who would have thought there really needed to be a vote and a new law to stop Perry from taking private property.
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seamusTX
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Re: Constitutional amendment poll

Postby seamusTX » Wed Nov 04, 2009 2:50 pm

Zee wrote:Who would have thought there really needed to be a vote and a new law to stop Perry from taking private property.

I think when Gov. Perry is retired and looks back on his career, he is going to realize that the TTC was his worst mistake.

- Jim


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Re: Constitutional amendment poll

Postby srothstein » Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:01 pm

Jim,

I agree about Gov. perry and TTC being his biggest mistake. It almost did cost him office once, and set the stage for the upcoming election against Kay. While I agree on needing better highways in Texas, and I like the idea of the TTC, the way he went about it was so wrong I would fight it too.

On the argument about the TOBA, I have to say I voted against it. It has very little to do with access and all to do with ownership. If I buy a plot of land now, they would want to write the deed from the "vegetation line" back. In case of floods, the vegetation line changes. In some of the cases after Ike, the beach water line did not move, but the vegetation line did. Some people could not rebuild their houses, and there were a couple that the house only needed small repairs. I am a firm believer that all deeds should be for a fixed plot of land. Movable boundaries like water or vegetation lines should never be allowed in a deed. TOBA seems to me like a way to take property without compensation, at least as it was just applied. It seems wrong to me.

Zee,

Just for technical accuracy, the amendment would have done nothing at all to stop Perry from taking land for TTC. Many think like that, but that would still have been for a public purpose and allowable. It was specifically written in response to the New London SCOTUS case. It will stop a city from condemning land to give to someone to develop a shopping center or something like that. Combined with the law on appraising property as residential if it is being used that way, I see it as better support for property owners deciding on the best use for their property.
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seamusTX
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Re: Constitutional amendment poll

Postby seamusTX » Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:36 pm

srothstein wrote:I am a firm believer that all deeds should be for a fixed plot of land. Movable boundaries like water or vegetation lines should never be allowed in a deed. TOBA seems to me like a way to take property without compensation, at least as it was just applied. It seems wrong to me.

In the interest of beating a dead horse, TOBA does not affect ownership. Your square footage, as measured by latitude and longitude, can become completely submerged. You still own it.

TOBA says that the property owner cannot restrict public access to the beach between the vegetation line and the water.

You can't fight nature. On the Gulf Coast, property gets submerged by erosion. Deviation of rivers has submerged property in other places. The borders of states have moved because rivers changed course. What happens when a landslide dumps a parcel of land into a valley?

- Jim


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