Gonzalez votes for eminent domain confiscation


  Yes, the land in question is currently a small, triangular-shaped
parking lot on busy Columbus Avenue. It's surrounded by streets on all
sides. And I'm sure there would indeed still be a fight to stop the
development and put in a park even if it was a bare-bones development
designed to pack in poor people, because the wealthy neighbors still
wouldn't want to lose their views. Wendy Guthrie is right about that

  This argument about an alleged "deed restriction" was discussed
extensively during the hearings, and it is bogus. What's being referred
to was a condition attached to the permit granting the former owners of
the property the ability to operate their parking lot, not a
restriction on the property deed itself. No evidence was given to show
that this condition applied to future owners of the property or future
uses of the property. IIRC, Brian got an opinion from the city
attorney's office agreeing it didn't apply (Brian, please correct me if
I'm misstating this).

  The bottom line is this -- Wendy Guthrie as much as admits that this
was a back-room deal of political influence-peddling with no due
process, but she is OK with the rule of law being violated in favor of
politicians being allowed to do whatever they can get away with,
because it is her personal opinion, having looked into her crystal ball
and seen what the future rents and charges associated with this
development will be, that we don't "need any more $2500/month condos
with $750 HOA fees in this town."

Yours in liberty,
            <<< Starchild >>>

Thoughts? Is it true that this is just a parking lot?

From: Wendy Guthrie
Date: February 11, 2004 9:31:18 PM PST

is this an attempt to garner sympathy for a condo developer? who gives
a shit about some rich guy who didn't read the fine print. well, I
guess you do, but i don't. from what i read, it looks like there was a
provision in the deed requiring the owner of the property to negotiate
to sell should the funds to expand the park be made available.

  Peskin and the Telegraph Hill Dwellers said that a deed restriction
from the 1980s, which would require the landowners to negotiate for
control of the site if funds were available to convert it into park
space, should have served as a notice to developers that the city
might pursue control over the property.

sure that was probably some fancy maneuvering by the neighborhood
association, and maybe a bit of political pull in city hall. most
likely, some very rich and powerful homeowner (more powerful than
O'Flynn mmwhahahhahha) probably didn't want his view blocked or have a
shadow cast across his living room every day of the year. if i paid
$2.5 mil for my house, i'd fight like hell to keep my view and the
sunlight too. screw the other rich guy. i want what's mine--i had it
first, right? yeah.

the plot of land is currently a parking lot, and the city wants to
turn it into a park. All in all, i'm fine with the fact that we'll
have a larger park to visit in the city instead of some looming high
rise building that neither you, nor me, nor most of our friends would
be able to afford to live in. if he was building affordable housing,
maybe i'd feel a little differently, and i think the supervisors would
too. i certainly don't think we need any more $2500/month condos with
$750 HOA fees in this town. I'd bet there'd still be a fight over the
building if it were affordable housing because the rich guy with his
$2.5 mil view wouldn't watch a bunch of middle to low income folks
mucking up the neighborhood. ew.

it's a parking lot; it's not like O'Flynn is loosing his home:

the sympathy train has left the station, brother, and i ain't on it.


Subject: 701 Lombard Street Eminent Domain Update
From: Starchild <sfdreamer@earthlink.net>

  Bad news -- new Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier voted with Peskin,
Daly, Gonzalez, Maxwell, McGoldrick, Ammiano and Sandoval, giving
the super-majority they needed to enable the city to confiscate the
land belonging to Brian O'Flynn and his partner via eminent domain.

  The proceedings took less than an hour, and the Board acted without
allowing public comment. Now the matter will have to be pursued in
court. I've encouraged Brian to seek help from the libertarian
interest law firm Institute for Justice, and he sounds like he will
follow up with them. He'd already filed an action in Superior Court
today before the decision came down, relating to the permits for the
development. Brian also said my suggestion of starting a local
of IJ's "Castle Coalition," a group formed to fight eminent domain,
"a good idea."

  After a representative from the city attorney's office made some
reference in previous testimony to 12 cases, Brian was able to get
to produce some records for his inspection. He's invited me to go
him to look at them when he makes copies. He says most of them
to people forced out by the expansion of the Moscone Center. If I
understand correctly, they told him that there were no records of
anything more than three years ago; supposedly such records aren't
retained longer than that. It sounds fishy to me. But any records of
eminent domain actions we can get our hands on should yield a group
individuals who are rather disgruntled with local government.

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-- Steve

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If I knew Wendy, I would say to her:

      Brian may not be losing an existing home, but he is losing the
home he dreamed for years of building for himself and his mother. Would
you have preferred that the land remain a parking lot for a few more
decades because everyone was afraid to make plans for it while the city
kept saying it might someday use the land for a park if it ever gets the

      North Beach is vibrant because of the kinds of buildings that
Brian was planning, with multiple apartments on the upper floors and
businesses on the ground floor. And if I recall correctly, some of the
units were to be low-income housing. (Anyway, the supervisors could have
required that instead of killing Brian's dream.) Also, the park
department wants the land so it can build more on the park across the
street, so there will be no net gain in park land even if they do come
up with the funds to change the parking lot to a park.

There is much more to say, but I don't think it would be a good use of
time at this point. I just felt compelled to write this because I am so
angry at the eight supervisors who voted to make Brian sell his land to
the city, at their price, and have caused him to spend weeks, perhaps
months, of his life defending himself.

(Brian, did any of the supervisors who voted against you even talk with