The eminent domain measure on the June ballot would also phase out some rent control laws, potentially resulting in a $15 million windfall for Sam Zell's Equity Lifestyle Properties Inc., Capitol Weekly reports. Zell's firm owns a dozen rent-controlled mobile home parks among its 28 California properties (as well as 112,000 residential units across the United States and Canada; Zell also says he's the biggest builder of affordable housing in Mexico.) Zell's firm has contributed $50,000 to the Proposition 98 campaign. At the Times, editorial page editor Jim Newton says the crusty boss's backing won't color the paper's endorsement.
"We do intend to make an endorsement in the Proposition 98 race, and we will come to our position as we do with other ballot propositions. The decision will be made by the editorial board," he said, "but we will not include Zell in that conversation. We will not consider his role in the campaign or any of his financial interests."