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Half Moon Bay to fight judgment of nearly $37 million
SFGate.com-San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 12-19-2007 | AP

Posted on 12/19/2007 9:00:53 AM PST by Navy Patriot

(12-19) 05:46 PST Half Moon Bay, Calif. (AP) --

Officials in Half Moon Bay will fight a court ruling that would have the city pay a judgment of nearly $37 million.

The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to hire a San Francisco law firm to appeal a ruling by a federal judge ordering the city to pay $36.8 million to Palo Alto-based developer Charles Keenan.

The judgment is nearly four times the city's annual budget. City council members said in a joint statement the order threatens the "very existence of our city government."

The ruling against Half Moon Bay involves a dispute over the purchase of coastal property in 1993 by Keenan.

Keenan had intended on building a subdivsion, but was blocked when it was determined the property was a protected wetlands area.

He sued, successfully arguing that drainage work by the city had created the wetlands.

(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Government
KEYWORDS: eminentdomain; enviromment; judgement; wetlands
The Mayor and City Council members worked in concert to get a dry area classified as wetlands to prevent the owner from building homes on the property that was zoned for residential homes. They got caught, and the city is in serious trouble.

Of course, they opt to make it worse.

1 posted on 12/19/2007 9:00:54 AM PST by Navy Patriot
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To: Enterprise; Jim Robinson

ping

Perhaps the City of Fresno had better take notice of this story.


2 posted on 12/19/2007 9:12:17 AM PST by notpoliticallycorewrecked (Get the U.S. out of the U.N. and get the U.N. out of the U.S.)
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To: notpoliticallycorewrecked

“Gentlemen, gentlemen. We must do something to protect our phoney baloney jobs. Hurrumph Hurrumph!” - Hedley lamaar


3 posted on 12/19/2007 9:19:14 AM PST by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: Navy Patriot
Previously posted/discussed here.
4 posted on 12/19/2007 9:21:10 AM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: massgopguy

You sure that wasn’t the Hon. William J. Lepetomaine that said that?


5 posted on 12/19/2007 9:22:57 AM PST by Night Hides Not (Chuck Hagel makes Joe Biden look like a statesman!)
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To: notpoliticallycorewrecked
I was wondering the same. The potential for being sued and getting an adverse judgment must be on the minds of a lot of officials in California who might be considering eminent domain issues.

I would like to have seen this project go forward. I know that there are people who have been ruined financially. However, I could not support taking the land by force and turning it over to a private developer. That being said, Mr. Ho has as much right to buy and sell at a profit as anyone else. However, he is unlikely to get a better deal than the city offered anytime soon.

6 posted on 12/19/2007 9:36:01 AM PST by Enterprise (Those who "betray us" also "Betray U.S." They're called DEMOCRATS!)
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To: DuncanWaring
Posted for the decision to appeal.

Ninth circus may overturn, and SCOTUS may uphold.

The increase in costs will certainly doom HMB as a city if they lose this appeal.

Admitting wrongdoing, and negotiating with the property owner would certainly save the city, but not their jobs.

7 posted on 12/19/2007 9:36:05 AM PST by Navy Patriot (The hyphen American with the loudest whine gets the grease.)
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To: Navy Patriot

It’s a good start. More governments in California need to be put out of business.


8 posted on 12/19/2007 9:52:11 AM PST by EricT. (The tree of liberty needs to be watered...)
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To: Enterprise
As I understood the history from the previous thread, the property owner bought the property back in the 90s at a distressed price. He then planned to develop it.

The court found that the City actively interfered with his ownership by first getting the property declared a wetland (or similar protected status) by the State when previously it had not been listed as such, and then proposed modest relief of buying it from him at a price similar to what he paid but one twentieth of its current market value as development property.

I have a friend that lives in a housing development there that I understand is on the ocean side of the highway and this is on the non-ocean side of the same highway.

9 posted on 12/19/2007 9:59:55 AM PST by KC Burke (Men of intemperate minds can never be free...their passions forge their fetters.)
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To: KC Burke
I had read the prior thread, but I missed the part where they offered him a payment much smaller than what it was worth. Still, on a prior thread I wrote something to the effect that they probably wanted to wait until he caved and they would rezone it and let their family and friends in on the bonanza.

I looked at the map that was posted and it shows that as you drive north, the property is east of the highway, separated from the ocean. It is bounded on the north and south by other developed sections. It was amazing that this particular piece of property could miraculously be a wetlands when the property on either side of it could not! (I'm sure the judge noticed that too!)

Let the city go bankrupt as a warning to other petty jackasses in other city governments.

10 posted on 12/19/2007 10:08:20 AM PST by Enterprise (Those who "betray us" also "Betray U.S." They're called DEMOCRATS!)
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To: Enterprise

If you have the time, the other thread as a link to the entire court decision which I just skimmed.

It appears that HMB was very crude and manipulative in the view of the Judge in all the mechanizations they attemped after they had done their damage.


11 posted on 12/19/2007 10:25:30 AM PST by KC Burke (Men of intemperate minds can never be free...their passions forge their fetters.)
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To: EricT.
The ex-mayor, who is a "slow growther" (that's code for "I've got mine, screw you") has actively conspired with left of communist environmentalists to deny property owners the right to build even single private homes on their own property already zoned residential.

The actions of the city and environmentalists conspiracy are egregious examples of fraud and theft.

The citizens of HMB may (and should) revolt and put these criminals out of office with a recall. There is a case to be made for removing sovereign immunity from politicians to control these cabals.

12 posted on 12/19/2007 10:29:01 AM PST by Navy Patriot (The hyphen American with the loudest whine gets the grease.)
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To: Navy Patriot

Finally, a judge ruling correctly on land use issues.


13 posted on 12/19/2007 10:42:29 AM PST by taxesareforever (Never forget Matt Maupin)
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To: Enterprise; KC Burke
The property was originally high and dry.

After the developer purchased it, the city implemented a "drainage" project for this and adjoining properties.

The city removed a large amount of fill from this man's property and left a closed ended trench on it. The fill went raise other property that the city wanted higher (one wonders why). As soon as the winter rains came and the trench puddled, the city moved to have it declared a "wetland" and sent the HMB police to prevent the owner's attempts to drain the city created trench.

The city literally stole this man's property (the fill) so they could steal his property.

14 posted on 12/19/2007 10:45:25 AM PST by Navy Patriot (The hyphen American with the loudest whine gets the grease.)
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To: Navy Patriot
That was pretty stupid of them. Make sure the property is wet, and then declare it a wetland. What clowns. If the developer didn’t have the money to fight them it might have worked too! As in many things, they are not contrite about what they did, they are defiant because they got caught.
15 posted on 12/19/2007 10:51:54 AM PST by Enterprise (Those who "betray us" also "Betray U.S." They're called DEMOCRATS!)
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To: Enterprise
Maybe more arrogant than stupid.

They couldn't avoid the perception of impropriety here, but probably thought they could get away with it because environazis caught planting evidence in the past have been given a pass when caught. Just use a bulldozer to "reveal" a wetland.

You're right about the money, it enabled the judge to see the facts, and he didn't buy the envirolies this time.

16 posted on 12/19/2007 11:04:21 AM PST by Navy Patriot (The hyphen American with the loudest whine gets the grease.)
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To: Navy Patriot

Is there much hand-wringing going on in HMB or do they think that the 9th Circuit will simply throw out the award and save their bacon?


17 posted on 12/19/2007 2:49:24 PM PST by KC Burke (Men of intemperate minds can never be free...their passions forge their fetters.)
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To: KC Burke
Is there much hand-wringing going on in HMB

HMB is an older seaside community primarily formed by hardworking immigrant families building farms, ranches, fishing (commercial and sport) on a larger seaside stretch that also supports logging, quarrying, and small amounts of mining.

Originally invaluable producers, there were hopes of a bedroom community for San Francisco, but geographic problems throttled speedy commute access. The early envirowackos obstructed road construction and much suburban expansion bypassed HBM. Still 60's leftie yuppies moved in and eventually outvoted the bluecollar/semi-rural locals.

Coming from the big cities, and knowing how to chisel and cheat, the locals were easy pickings for the leftie manipulators. They turned the city government into what the left always does, a device to remove wealth from the pockets of the citizens and deliver it to insider cronies of the city officeholders and bureaucrats. Not many of the originals who built the value of the community remain, and their children are more technologically educated, and have left the area.

Mrs. Patriot was born and raised there, was an unimproved property owner, but sold before the wackos could devalue the property. The current owner lives on the property with his family in a trailer home, and cannot get a permit to build his dream home under any circumstances. In a draw, a small stream that runs only in winter, makes the 130 acre parcel a wetland that cannot tolerate one R1 home.

It is hard to say exactly how many of the citizens would demand a recall. Certainly most of the Johnnie come lately envirowackos would not, they would lose dictatorial power and insider benefits. The few remaining good guys can't win whether or not they kick out the city council, the city still has to pay the judgment and the new lawyers to appeal.

The council undoubtedly thinks the Ninth Circus will overturn, but there's a new SCOTUS in town and the property owner will probably take it there, (he has threatened to enforce the full judgment if the city appealed instead of negotiating with him, and they appealed). SCOTUS may uphold (probably), but the environazis will just move their obstruction to county levels as all the wacko envirolaws still remain. The only improvement is the city fathers will be out of work and have to start spending their graft.

18 posted on 12/19/2007 4:35:13 PM PST by Navy Patriot (The hyphen American with the loudest whine gets the grease.)
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To: Navy Patriot

Ya know if an employee of a company were to improperly package a DOT hazmat shipment that company AND THE EMPLOYEE CAN BE FINED.

I think it’s high time that if a polidiot breaks the law the taxpayer should NOT have to bear the burden of all costs.

If one wants to be a seditious polidiot and pander to a paying pc populace vs following the law ?

Pay up out of their own pockets......


19 posted on 12/19/2007 4:42:20 PM PST by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to kill everyone you meet. )
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To: Squantos
To a large extent, government entities have maneuvered the law to insulate themselves from liability, even regarding criminal acts, while burdening the citizens with onerous zero tolerance class laws that protect the most asinine things.

The goal is Ayn Rands observation that "the government has no power over an honest man". So let's make everybody a criminal as defined by the criminals themselves.

Republicans are no less guilty of this than DemoRats.

Don't be holdin' your breath watin' for an improvement.

20 posted on 12/19/2007 5:33:03 PM PST by Navy Patriot (The hyphen American with the loudest whine gets the grease.)
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To: Navy Patriot

Yep ...... a given........yet a shame.

Stay safe !


21 posted on 12/19/2007 7:40:25 PM PST by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to kill everyone you meet. )
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To: Navy Patriot

Subsiquent to my post to you, I had an e-mail exchange with one of my best friends who has lived there for about twenty years. His acessement of the political climate has been similar to yours, but he does add that the current city council is a vast improvement over what they have had in the past.

His feeling is that they are paying for the “sins of the fathers” and that the envirnmental excess and anti-property rights procedures are now so ingrained and formally fixed that it will take decades to correct from the problems.


22 posted on 12/20/2007 10:39:59 AM PST by KC Burke (Men of intemperate minds can never be free...their passions forge their fetters.)
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To: KC Burke
Your friend is correct, I tried to abbreviate the length of my post, and did not point out that several councils and mayors have come and gone in the 40 year period that I roughly chronicled.

Regarding: environmental excess and anti-property rights procedures are now so ingrained and formally fixed that it will take decades to correct

Again, accurate, and the reason these sneaky back door environazi bushwhackers are so dangerous and vile. The damage to the citizens (screw the environment) is so great, costly, and permanent that the only cure is to repeal, in it's entirety the act and the EPA.

23 posted on 12/20/2007 1:06:35 PM PST by Navy Patriot (The hyphen American with the loudest whine gets the grease.)
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To: KC Burke
Also, it is interesting to note, that the current mayor and city council, while they may be an improvement, refused to negotiate with the property owner after he had won the judgment. Not an indication that they are willing to examine the strong possibility that the previous administrations were incompetent, unethical or even criminal in their actions.

Reasonable officeholders or environazi accessories after the fact?

24 posted on 12/20/2007 1:34:58 PM PST by Navy Patriot (The hyphen American with the loudest whine gets the grease.)
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