Eminent Domain


Senate Bill

From: Christina Walsh
To: IJ Distribution
Sent: Friday, September 29, 2006 2:04 PM
Subject: ONE LAST CHANCE for Federal Eminent Domain Reform!


THE CLOCK HAS RUN OUT - the U.S. Senate has failed to enact federal eminent domain reform to protect your homes, small businesses, farms and churches. After H.R. 4128 - which was passed overwhelmingly by the House last October by a vote of 376-38 - languished in the Senate Judiciary Committee for over ten months, Senator James Inhofe introduced S. 3873, an identical piece of legislation that bypassed committee and was sent to the full Senate. Regardless, Senator Bill Frist refused to listen to the American people and allow a vote on the bill - even though ending eminent domain abuse is one of the most popular issues nationwide (see http://www.castlecoalition.org/resources/kelo_polls.html), and even though 30 states have passed legislation countering the Kelo decision (see http://www.castlecoalition.org/legislation/passed/index.html).

However, the Senate has a second chance to do what the U.S. Supreme Court failed to do last year and finally protect your property from tax-hungry governments and land-hungry developers. Congress' lame duck session is scheduled to run from Monday, November 13 through Wednesday, November 22. During this time, H.R. 4128/S. 3873 can be brought up for a vote. It is essential that we do everything we can before November 13 to ensure that the Senate knows how important this issue is to citizens across the country.

We will be contacting you in the coming weeks to make your voices heard, but here's what you can do in the meantime:

1. Sign up your neighbors, friends and family for the Castle Coalition. This is essential - there is strength in numbers. Every new Castle Coalition member is one more voice that can make their support for federal eminent domain reform heard. Membership is free, we don't share your information and you can unsubscribe at any time. Tell your friends they can sign up here: http://www.castlecoalition.org/join/.

2. Contact your senators and urge them to support H.R. 4128 and S. 3873. Their phone numbers are listed here: http://castlecoalition.org/legislation/senators.html, or you can e-mail them through this link: https://action.popuvox.com/default.aspx?actionID=286

Remember: even though the clock has run out, there's still a chance for overtime. This legislation will not pass without your help, so get ready and stay tuned for one final push in November!


Christina Walsh
Assistant Castle Coalition Coordinator
Institute for Justice
901 N. Glebe Road, Suite 900
Arlington, VA 22203
(703) 682-9320

P.S. HELP THE CASTLE COALITION GROW! Forward this message to your friends. They can sign-up here: http://www.castlecoalition.org/join/.

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TCRA/LA City Council "blink"

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 by MV Gilbert
CRA/LA and LA City Council "blink"

After issuing a Resolution of Necessity on March 2, 2006, a precursor to taking of private property under the powers of "eminent domain," the LA Community Redevelopment Agency "blinked."

I attended today's Press Conference held in front of Bernard Luggage which is just off the world renown intersection of Hollywood and Vine.

LA City Council President Eric Garcetti's press release headline reads "Agreement Reached With the Blue Family Trust on Hollywood & Vine Project."

The press release reads "this is a great day for Hollywood." It goes on to say that "by bringing all the different parties together, we united behind our redevelopment goals of joining local businesses with transformative new energy, creating permanent living wage jobs and new housing at every income level." Each of this morning's speakers had the same message. They had several artist renditions of the project on display. Note: My photos to follow.

What is not said is the amount of time and effort put forth by Bob Blue, his office manager Ziggy Kruse, his attorney's, the Castle Coalition of the Institute for Justice, along with numerous MORR and CURE volunteers who on two occasions protested in front of his store with signs reading "Hands off my Business."

The Hollywood and Vine project is a joint effort by Legacy Partners and Gatehouse Capital Corp. It encompasses an entire city block from Argyle to Vine and Hollywood to Selma streets.
In addition to a W hotel this $500 million project will include condos and apartments including 75 affordable units.

Bernard Luggage was founded by Betty and Bernard Blue in 1946. They began by making custom cases for the Air Force. They moved to the present location in 1955 and have been a fixture at this location ever since. The original occupant of the building was the Bank of Hollywood which opened in 1928. We all know what happened in 1929.

In the Settlement Agreement Bernard Luggage will be retained and become part of the new development. Councilman Garcetti said that "Bob is part of the development project--he was standing up for his business--the building will be built around him."

Plans are to break ground in the next two months starting with an underground parking garage which will be the platform for the new building.

In his remarks to the press Councilman Garcetti stated that "it took a lot of midnight oil to make this happen." Having been involved with Bob and Ziggy for the past few months I can share with you that Bob Blue accomplished what many felt could not be done. He is the David that stood up to Goliath by simply repeating his business was "not for sale." Apparently the CRA/LA finally got the message as evidenced by their remarks today.

Prior to the Press Conference Bob told me that he will continue to promote Prop 90, the Protect Our Homes Initiative. Note: Bob Blue is one of the three co-signers in support of that Ballot Measure. He told me that "Prop 90 protects the little guy."

Since the Kelo decision June 2005-June 2006 there were 5,429 threatened condemnations. Source: Institute for Justice.

What outsiders cannot comprehend is the human toll that the victims endure through the process. Four years ago Bob had a clue that his business was not to be included in the Hollywood/Vine project. You cannot compensate victims and their families for their grief and the intimidation which many are exposed to when our government declares your home, business or farm "blighted" solely to transfer it to a private developer as was the case in Kelo v. New London.
Today's unanimous decision by the Los Angeles city council should be precedent setting for future eminent domain activities.

Larry Gilbert, Orange County Co-Director, Californians United for Redevelopment Education (CURE)
I urge you to vote YES on Prop 90

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Eminent Domain Abuse is an insidious process that is not too well understood by most people. It can; cause undo fear, wreck havoc in a neighborhood, occur with 15 days notice to move out of your home, or cause untold legal fees if it is implemented in an abusive way.

There are no acknowledged plans for this type of action in the city of Laguna Woods. In fact, the city is passing an ordinance stating that they have no such plans (see City Ordinance) in the future. Unfortunately, many of the same people who were on the Laguna Woods Village Boards that stated they had no plans for selling our property (the Old Administration Building) or the building of a new Clubhouse (Clubhouse 6) are in the current city government and now expect us to believe them when they say, "The City shall not be permitted to acquire Residential Property by eminent domain for the sole purpose of transferring ownership of that Residential Property to a private party for use in a private Commercial, Retail, Industrial, and/or Residential Property development."

Some of the plans for Laguna Woods can be seen in a few slides from a city presentation on the status of Eminent Domain in Laguna Woods.

Most ordinances can be revoked by the City Council in a single meeting and without a vote of the residents of the city, we have little assurance that this will NOT be done in the future.

See Power Point Presentation on this subject of Eminent Domain.

The following e-mails provide an update on the comments that were made at the United Board meeting on 9-12-06. Hopefully this will help clarify the Moulton Pkwy references to Eminent Domain.

The linked website is a "MUST READ" for anyone wanting to understand Eminent Domain and how it is working in California. This is written by legislators who have firsthand knowledge of what is is and how it is used.

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