Notes on the National City Council Meeting of May 15, 2007

ORDINANCES FOR ADOPTION 20. An Ordinance of the City Council of the City of National City describing the previously approved program of the Community Development Commission of the City of National City to acquire real property by eminent domain. (City Attorney). The ordinance, which is the prelude to the June 19 meeting, was passed by unanimous vote. Mayor Ron Morrison and Council Members Louie Natividad, Francisco Parra, Fideles Ungab, Rosalie Zarate voted for it. During the discussion prior to the vote, Mayor Morrison pronounced his doctrine concerning the rights of the City to use eminent domain against a property owner. If the City believes that an owner is not making use of his or her property in a manner that is consistent with the current best use, they City has the right to take it. This means that we hold our properties at the pleasure of the Mayor and City Council and puts a cloud over the titles of all of the properties in the redevelopment areas. The Mayor and City Council can and has taken properties and transferred them to developers and other favored companies. Mayor Morrison also expressed his antipathy to nonresident property owners. Mayor Morrison is to be commended for his honesty in issuing this forewarning to small and medium size investors against purchasing property in National City. Since real estate salespeople must disclose all the relevant information on a property, they need to warn prospective purchasers about the Morrison doctrine, which clouds the title to real property. The Morrison doctrine towards the private property small business combined with the designation of a large area for redevelopment has created uncertainty that has and will greatly reduce the value of properties and the rents charged for their use. The effects of the Morrison doctrine on property values extends beyond the present redevelopment area because the City Government still has the capacity to further extend the boundaries of the eminent domain threatened area. Thus the Mayor and Council will cause the creation of blight, rather than diminishing it. Why should a landlord spend money to maintain a property that will eventually be confiscated? In short, the Government of National City is making the same mistake as occurred in the former Soviet Union. It is substituting a controlled, planned economy for a free market. Admittedly, it has a new twist in that it does this in a manner to reward the developers and other insiders.

Marina Gateway

The subject of gambling at the Marina Gateway was also discussed at the May 15 Council Meeting. There was a disagreement as to the content of Section 206.2 (d) of the Disposition and Development Agreement between the CDC and Marina Gateway Development Co., LLC and Sycuan Tribal Development Corporation (STDC). The paragraph titled No Gaming Intent. States:

"Neither Developer nor STDC has any intent to pursue or operate gaming activities on the Site. The preceding sentence shall not preclude gaming activity in the future on the Site, however, if either (i) gaming activity becomes generally lawful within the City limits of the City, or (ii) pursuant to a vote at a regularly scheduled municipal election of the general electorate of the City, gaming is approved specifically for the Site."

Given the current financial management of the City, it is quite possible in near future, that (ii) the establishment of a casino will be suggested by the City Government as the new cure-all for funding National City. The establishment of gambling in National City will  impoverish many people and increase crime. It will also be a terrible mistake for the Native Americans to participate in off-reservation gambling because it will ultimately open up their major source of revenue, gambling, to competition from the rest of the US population.

Return to main page