Thursday, August 25, 2005
Eminent Domain Restrictions Pass (but is it a hoax?)
I worked until 9:30 last night so I missed the city council meeting. Anyone out there go?
The council passed Jerome Stock's eminent domain ordinance 5-0.
Jerome, big night for you. This will really help your run for higher office. I would like to think that this blog inspired this whole thing. No need to thank me bro, it's all good. Now read this:
I would like to share what I told the Council. First I said (except what is in parentheses), "When this item was put on the agenda a few weeks ago I gave a presentation that pointed out that the governments here in San Diego have been doing similar things as occurred in New London. (where was Council's outrage then?) My examples included the Top Gun House, Del Mar Highlands Shopping Center, and the Petco Park district. Council avoided discussing these projects. The use of eminent domain in those places occurred in redevelopment districts. (then I put up one of those anti-redevelopment posters that were everywhere in Leucadia, I think JP has one on this blog)This poster went up all throughout Leucadia when this Council, led by Councilmember Stocks, attempted to push a redevelopment district on this City. If you read the third whereas in the ordinance you will find an apparent admission that this ordinance does not protect the Citizens from what happened in New London (we already have some state laws that protect us). Is it true that a redevelopment district won't be constrained by this ordinance? If so, this ordinance is there, but it is useless (flaccid keeps coming to mind) . I would go so far as to say it is deceptive (Jerome would be happy that people think he added some security) . Fortunately for Leucadia, your plan to tie the redevelopment agency to the storm drain problems backfired. The public began asking too many questions that Council did not want to address with regards to the $5 million dollar storm drain fiasco (Council gets a scrunchy face when you bring this up... later Stocks made some comments about how they dropped the redev. idea but that he wanted credit for exploring all the options. I don't give credit because it was a waste of the City's money and a HUGE waste of a lot of Citizen's time and effort.).Along with many other citizens I requested that you come up with an ordinance that outlaws forced transfer of private property (at the previous meeting). This ordinance doesn't do that. It instead puts it to a vote. Just outlaw it! If this law is just a gesture, make a good one (Christy seemed to admit that it was just a gesture in the last meeting).I will again try to guide this council into a discussion of this City's policies regarding the legal use of eminent domain. The City and the agencies you sit on have the power of eminent domain to gain property for public uses. Roads (for instance). When is it okay to force someone into an offer they can't refuse to sell their property? What restrictions or policies does this City have? None I assume (except this new ordinance, but it is just a gesture). Lets make some. I think the use of eminent domain should be strongly incorporated into all planning processes. The use and threat of eminent domain should not be allowed when alternatives have not been thoroughly weighed. I also think there should be a lengthy notice of intent to use eminent domain prior to its use. Lastly, there should be safeguards so that this City can not use eminent domain to support private enterprise, even if the direct use is public. What if the Ecke rezone will have a significant impact on the traffic on Saxony and widening the street is required. Would it be okay for the City to use eminent domain then?I can't tell you if this scenario is realistic because this council put the cart before the horse and is putting that rezone to a vote before the environmental impact report is out (I keep hearing that this might be realistic).These are my three questions:1) Is it true that a redevelopment district won't be constrained by this ordinance? (I think the answer is no because Christy told me that I should lobby my state representatives... you should see the proposed bills ACA 22 and SCA 15) 2) Why not just outlaw the New London approach to eminent domain? (The response was something like... we could get sued or this unusable ordinance won't stand up in court if we outlaw it straight up. I can't image a scenario where an outside party could sue the City for NOT using eminent domain to give them someone else's land BECAUSE of an ordinance outlawing it. Can you? The ordinance would restrict the City and the City would have to sue itself????? I missed something) 3) Does this City have any guidelines or policies that constrain the otherwise legal use of eminent domain? If not, spend your time here starting an ordinance that provides useful protections, instead of wasting your time on an empty gesture. (I suggested this last time too, no one wants to go there because it is a little less SAFE than proclaiming they are against New London style attacks on property rights... kinda like in redevelopment districts. The citizens have missed out an opportunity to gains some protections)