Property rights victims address MORR/CURE conference

 Assembly Member Chris Norby, MORR founder


On Saturday I attended the 16th Annual Southern California Conference on Redevelopment Abuse that was held at the Elks Lodge in Glendale, CA. My only disappointment is that Huell Howser did not show up to video the dark side of this cancer that we are on the verge of eradicating in CA as we seek one crucial vote on AB 101/SB77 from a Republican legislator. For those wondering why I mention Huell he was paid a six figure sum to televise the positive side of redevelopment but refused my direct request to mention that every RDA is not a success. His excuse. They’re paying me to do this 14 segment series. Paraphrased.
Although I have participated in these conference since 1997 and recognize several victims of eminent domain the CRA tells you that they are not taking private property in CA.when owners have no desire to sell. Not true. That statement is simply as bogus as their blight “findings.”
While I will not name the 33 speakers, who represented bogus redevelopment activity from Carson and Desert Hot Springs to Los Angeles, Riverside and Sacramento, we even had a speaker fly in overnight from New Smyrna Beach (Daytona area) of Florida to speak to our group as evidence that this is a national issue.
The biggest surprise for me was when I arrived  was being told by one of our members that an eminent domain victim from Fresno whom I met in Sacramento was attending this years conference. Not being able to reach him for the past dozen years I have told his personal story at almost every one of my property rights speaking engagements.
A group of us representing MORR/CURE traveled to Sacramento where we met Ralph Cato as he testified at an Assembly Housing and Community Development hearing on behalf of Tom McClintock to abolish redevelopment agencies. That January 14, 1998 meeting was on AB 923. In fact, since that hearing Congressman Tom McClintock often shared Ralph’s story when discussing this topic.
The following quotes are taken from the testimony of Alan Rudehouse, Sr. V.P., Fairlawn Development Services, San Francisco. As I carry this page in one of my RDA binders I read it to the 65 attendees on Saturday.
“If you get over three or four properties, that you have to assemble, the mechanics of it are such that you’re almost guaranteed at least one, and maybe more parties, who simply won’t deal with you. They don’t want to sell, and under our laws and property ownership rights, they don’t have to.”
“Implicit in redevelopment law is the notion that there are circumstances where the public good justifies violating that rule.”
“If you don’t have the power of eminent domain at your disposal, it isn’t going to happen in the private sector. That’s just a fact.”
“It’s not a confiscation as they get fair market value.”
In my notes from that hearing it reads:
Yet Ralph Cato, who testified that his home was taken for a turkey  processing farm in Fresno, stated that he was offered $1.10 per square foot due to the devaluation. Ralph said he was familiar with land values in his area and adjacent properties were getting $10. to $20. per square foot.
As we sat together Ralph handed me an article “written about his personal experiences as a victim of redevelopment abuse.”  He also handed me a cover page where he writes. “When I was  uprooted from my place of residence, redevelopment did many negative things to my life and there was no accounting for it. No  value could be put on what being up-rooted does. Some may see good in redevelopment, but there is no good. The redevelopment Agency should not be able to carry out missions with foul purposes.”
Where did the Republican Assembly member go? They supported Tom McClintock when Ralph testified on AB923 in Jan and again when I testified on behalf of Tom in April, 1998 on AB1677.
While I have heard from some Republican legislators on their opposition to governor Brown’s support of AB101/SB77, its time to walk the talk. If you support the rights of citizens to own private property I urge my friends serving in Sacramento today to search their hearts and support our efforts on behalf of current and future victims, many they will never meet yet whose lives are forever turned upside down when getting their Resolution of Necessity

 Let me urge readers to contact members of the CA Legislature to cast an AYE vote on AB101 and or SB77 

My next post will be Ralph’s story entitled “Abuse of the Redevelopment agency by Ralph Sidney Cato.”
Larry Gilbert, Orange County Co-Director, CURE
CAPPPR, California Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights,  Director

About Larry Gilbert