Fox & Hounds (Aug. 9, 2018)

Property Rights Are A Constitutional Cornerstone To Be Protected By Both Republicans And Democrats

By: Tony Krvaric, small business owner in San Diego and the volunteer chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego County

Our government has long granted privately held utilities the authority to seize private property for the public good of providing electricity. However, per the State Constitution Article 1, Section 19, with that authority, the utility – much like government – must provide just compensation to the property holder for any damage caused by their equipment. 

Alas, Governor Brown and key Democrats in the Legislature are poised to take the bait of a crisis manufactured by PG&E, proposing to eliminate California property owners’ Constitutional rights. At a press conference last week, Governor Brown claimed it is unfair and unrealistic to require any utility company, whose equipment causes a wildfire, to be held financially liable – despite the fact that this legal liability is rooted in our Constitution.

Gov. Brown’s proposal would strip this protection for property owners by giving away the Constitutional right to receive compensation for any harm to property caused by a utilities’ equipment.

The Governor and other lawmakers have fallen for PG&E’s threat that compensating wildfire survivors could force them into bankruptcy, even though the company has not filed the required legal notices to the SEC or their investors that such a threat is likely.
— Tony Krvaric for Fox & Hounds