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Breaking News

Sacramento Superior Court Upholds QW Bay State Lands Exchange Agreement ("land swap")

(May 9, 2002, updated 6:20 p.m. and 8:20 p.m.) -- A Sacramento Superior Court judge has issued a ruling (we post it verbatim on a link below) upholding the actions of the State Lands Commission and the City of LB in connection with the Queensway Bay "land swap" (in the case of California Earth Corps v. State Lands Commission and City of Long Beach (with Developers Diversified Realty as a Real Party in Interest).

The court effectively ruled that the state agency and City Hall were legally entitled to do what they did: the State Lands Commission gave up state tidelands designation on certain commercial footprints within the QW Bay tidelands areas in exchange for receiving from the City of LB land along the L.A. river that will now carry tidelands designation.

We post the court's nine page opinion verbatim in pdf form on a link, below.

In a memo to the Mayor and City Councilmembers, LB City Attorney Robert Shannon advised that "the decision of the court upholds the position of the City on every legal point raised by Earth Corps. Put another way, this is a complete victory for the City."

[8: 20 p.m. update] Mr. Shannon added in separately issued written release, "The Court agreed that both the City and the State acted appropriately in approving this agreement, and we are gratified that this cooperative effort between the two governments has been vindicated." [end 8:20 p.m. update]

California Earth president Don May told this afternoon, "I'm deeply disappointed. We'll meet with our attorneys tomorrow on what our options are."

[6:20 p.m. update] Mr. May opined that although the court ruled City Hall had met minimum legal requirements, "the ruling effectively puts the entire burden on the Governor. We believe he now has to decide whether to sign a document transfering the "patent" to the land from the state of CA to the City of LB. Although the court may be narrow in recognizing a loophole, in our view the Governor has to abide by a higher standard and determine that the exchange is truly in the best interest of the state." [end 6:20 p.m. update]

[8:20 p.m. further update] As part of City Hall's written release, Mayor Beverly O'Neill said, "I couldn't be happier with the news regarding the decision on the Queensway Bay lawsuit. With all the legal issues behind us, we can now move forward with the largest and most vibrant waterfrot development in Southern California."

The release also quotes City Manager Henry Taboada as saying, "This ruling validates the City's original stance that the Pike at Rainbow Harbor has always been environmentally sound. This project will add value to the entire community." [end further 8:20 p.m. update]

To view the court's opinion in pdf form, click on Sacramento Superior Court ruling, CA Earth Corps v. State Lands Comm'n & City of LB

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