Two Anti-Sprawl Initiatives Fail in California

In other, less eco-friendly initiative news, two separate measures intended to limit sprawl were defeated in California yesterday. In San Diego County, voters bucked statewide trends by rejecting the Rural Lands Initiative, which would have put a 20-year ban on development in 1,000 acres of the county’s “backcountry.” And in Contra Costa County, voters rejected Measure L, which would have prohibited the building of large discount/grocery outlets (read: Wal-Mart Supercenters) on unincorporated land. The hotly contested election saw Wal-Mart — widely criticized for, among many other things, encouraging sprawl — pour $1 million into the campaign, grossly outspending opponents. County supervisor and initiative-backer Mark DeSaulnier told supporters, “Whatever happens, we did the right thing. We all know that this is one battle in a nationwide war against a predatory company that is all about profit.”