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Eminent Domain Law Upsets Californians

California has been fighting over eminent domain laws since the Supreme Court's Kelo case resolved that a city could seize private homes for economic development projects.

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  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    Bernard's Luggage is in an historic neighborhood that declined in the '90s and, according to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, needed a major facelift.

    LERON GUBLER, President, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce: When we hit rock bottom, there were numerous boarded-up buildings along Hollywood Boulevard, panhandlers, homeless everywhere. There were prostitutes, as well.

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    With the chamber's support, the city's Redevelopment Agency invoked eminent domain on Blue's store so it can replace it and 30 other small businesses with a luxury hotel, housing units, upscale shops and restaurants.

  • LERON GUBLER:

    The Redevelopment Agency had the ability to make things happen, including the eminent domain tool. You need that because, once an area starts spiraling downward, there's no way to bring it back unless people start investing in the community.

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    But Blue doesn't want to sell or move. He has posted a huge movie-style billboard over his store to gain public support.

  • BOB BLUE:

    I think this fight is about big business versus small business and existing business. We have people, out-of-town developers coming in, wanting to put in a luxury hotel. And they want to kick out the people that have struggled through the years and survived.

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    What bothers Blue the most is that his private property is being condemned and sold, not for a road or a school, but to private developers and at a price authorities set, not what the owner thinks its worth.

  • BOB BLUE:

    I didn't even know that they could use eminent domain for private use, so it got thrust upon me.

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