- This Week
The horror stories in the Prop. 90 ballot arguments aren't quite what they appear to be
10.31.06 - 7:29 pm | G.W. Schulz |
When supporters of Prop. 90 submitted their ballot argument for the state voters handbook, they made sure to list off the poignant tales of some eminent domain victims.
But perhaps the stories of these victims could have included a little more detail.
The owner of a luggage store in Los Angeles, Bob Blue, did indeed have his 5,500 square-foot building threatened by a multimillion-dollar redevelopment project. But the city of Hollywood backed off recently following a wave of opposition and the condominiums and apartments planned for the location will now be literally built around him.
A redevelopment board in Long Beach offered the pastor of a small Filipino church there $850,000, 13 possible alternative locations and moving expenses before giving up earlier this year in exasperation on Roem Agustin and his congregation, which didn't want to go. The city had hoped to build an affordable housing complex where the church was located.
Manny Romero's restaurant was targeted by the apparently not-so-bright city of Arcadia that wanted to help a nearby Mercedes dealership expand its parking lot, but officials have since backed away fearing retribution from angry residents and what most certainly would have been an enormous amount of bad press.
The fourth "eminent domain victim" cited by Prop. 90 supporters is actually the best one as far as politically charged case studies go. John Revelli was truly screwed by the city of Oakland when in the summer of 2005 he was forced to give up his tire shop for a real-estate development paid for in part by public funds. The area has been designated as a redevelopment zone for 20 years. The city offered about $650,000 plus relocation expenses to move, but Revelli and the owner of the land, Tony Fung, believed they'd never manage to afford a new location. Revelli has since become a part-time national spokesperson for the fight against eminent domain.