California Finally Seems Ready to Reign in Eminent Domain Abuse

Tags: property, national, california, eminent, domain, blight, public, private, records, center

The California courts seem to be stepping up to the plate to provide property rights protections to homeowners and business owners threatened by eminent domain abuse. On April 21, 2011, a California Superior Court judge ruled against National City, California is its efforts to seize a successful youth center serving underprivileged kids under the state's so-called urban blight provisions. The City wanted to give the property to a private developer so he could build luxury condos. According to the Institute for Justice, the nonprofit public interest law firm defending the youth center,

"The Court struck down National City’s entire 692-property eminent domain zone in the first decision to apply the legal reforms that California enacted to counter the disastrous U.S. Supreme Court Kelo decision in 2005.  This ruling, which found that National City lacked a legal basis for its blight declaration, reinforces vital protections for property owners across the state, and underscores why redevelopment agencies should be abolished.

"The Court also ruled that National City violated the Due Process clause of the U.S. Constitution in failing to provide the CYAC with statutorily required information prior to an important public hearing.

"Finally, in a holding with implications well beyond redevelopment law, the Court also held that when the government retains a private consultant to perform government functions—in this case, documenting the existence of alleged “blight” in National City—documents that the private consultant produces are public records subject to disclosure under the California Public Records Act.  The Court also set a clear standard for what government agencies have to do in searching the records of their private consultants in response to a Public Records Act request."

This is a very important case because courts have traditionally given cities vast discretion and lattitude over designating properties blighted. Often, the process for determining blight is so vague that the procedures are little more than legal formalities used to justify seizing property for redevelopment. In the case of the Community Youth Athletic Center in National City, the property and business was thriving, but the city wanted to see luxury condos replace it (and other businesses).

Reason has been critical of blight designations to seize property via eminent domain and published one of the most extensive policy analyses to date on the subject. Our complete work on eminent domain can be found here.

Also, an excellent new book edited by economist Bruce L. Benson and published by the Independent Institute takes a hard, critical look at how eminent domain has been used and abused by governments along with recommendations for constraining its use and protecting property rights.



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Lolenso said... Rating: 0   Vote +   Vote -  

Really, and those scientists aren't being motliarniy compensated for coming to that conclusion? , as you know nobody wants to listen to research saying it isn't so. They said well it's science and they believe in science, apparently even corrupted science. So I go to sleep thinking like you were, when is it going to change? I'm upset and terrified that if they're going to kidnap kids from their home for just being fat, where things will lead. The fact that people still believe offering clothing to fat people, is supporting them in being unhealthy is disturbing.I guess this is just a difficult time, I don't know what will come of this. However, people have been pointing out that the more they poison kids with the obesity hysteria, the more likely they are to have starvation eating disorders. I want to say, Well duh! You think that if children can't even watch a family movie, without being preached to about how bad fat is, they're not going to fear their life over it. Now they have to fear being taken from their homes? I'm guessing if this happens, there will be thousands of children in pediatric eating disorder wards. What then? Will that even be reported? Or will people still harp on about how obesity is killing kids, while the obesity hysteria is causing fat kids to kill themselves.I just want to be able to go to the *bleep*ing mall, and be able to find some cute clothes. Why is that so much to ask for? I'm a fan of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic, and they released the shirts for it. Now either they think the only fans of the show are:A. Anorexic teenagersB. 2 year oldsSince the shirts they provided would only fit those in the above categories. What the hell, how many fat and healthy people do there need to be before someone finally realizes we're a market for clothing? It's unreasonable to suggest that clothing for thin people is supposed to motivate fat people to get thin. It's simply not going to happen, unless people continue thinking self starvation is the norm. Now they have the children beliving that, the children who have been denied a childhood by this. The children who will probably suffer some sort of growth problems, because they refuse to eat, because the media tells them eating is bad. Will people be happy then? When will everyone be satsified? Oh and this crap that well fabric costs money, and it takes more fabric to make clothing for fat people. That's okay, that justified while children are killing themselves to be thin?

8/23/2012 1:12:37 PM 

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2/14/2013 12:24:59 PM