In late April, the Institute for Justice won a smashing judicial victory on behalf of the Community Youth Athletic Center, a boxing gym and haven for local kids, as well as for other property owners in the neighborhood. They hope it’s a knockout blow.
The California Superior Court ruled that National City had no warrant for declaring the area “blighted,” that the city government had violated due process, and that it had violated California’s Public Records Act by failing to provide a private consultant’s documentation of the alleged blight.
Such studies are often blighted themselves — jargon-ridden fictions concocted to rationalize what the government wants to do solely for other reasons. After the Supreme Court’s egregious Kelo decision, which gave targeted property owners little hope of protecting their property on constitutional grounds from eminent-domain attacks, property owners in California and other states fought for laws to protect themselves from such baseless designations of “blight.”
Of course, politicians continued to do their darnedest, grabbing stuff that doesn’t belong to them. So the status of the legal protections often must be adjudicated.
CYAC president Clemente Casillas says, “I hope National City does the right thing now and throws in the towel so we can get back to focusing all our attention on helping to grow the kids in our community. The city can have redevelopment, but that has to be done through private negotiation, not by government force.”
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.