In brief legal news this week:
- The State Supreme Court confirmed a victory for high-speed rail by declining to review the Third District's ruling in California High-Speed Rail Authority v. Superior Court (Tos). The case upheld the High-Speed Rail Authority's authorization to issue bonds for the project. The Sacramento Bee had details on immediate reactions. For details of the ruling see http://www.cp-dr.com/articles/node-3546. Planetizen has more context at http://www.planetizen.com/articles/node-71723.
- Prominent developer-side firms had asked the State Supreme Court to order publication of Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) v. County of San Diego, but the high court refused. What remains on the record is only the Fourth Appellate District's unpublished ruling in favor of the EIR to replace a city-owned historic warehouse building with mixed-use development.
- The State Supreme Court denied requests for both review and depublication of the Fifth District's ruling in North Coast Rivers Alliance v. Westlands Water District. That ruling upheld the application of a grandfathering rule to exempt a two-year interim water contract from CEQA review because its predecessor contract was set up in 1963, before CEQA was invented. For details of the Fifth District decision see http://www.cp-dr.com/articles/node-3539. (And in separate news, the LA Times' Bettina Boxall wrote a stemwinder of a water feature on a proposed deal to let the Westlands Water District off from a $360 million debt to the Bureau of Reclamation for its part in the extension of the Central Valley Project.)
- Judge Timothy Frawley confirmed his rejection of both of the CEQA lawsuits against the Sacramento Kings basketball arena project. For prior recent moves in the case see http://www.cp-dr.com/articles/node-3599.
- Local coverage in the Willits News celebrated the North Coast Rail Authority's CEQA exemption victory last month over two environmental groups who opposed increased use of an existing rail system. The paper reports the First District appellate decision (see http://www.cp-dr.com/articles/node-3584) may allow lumber to be shipped from Willits by rail for the first time since the 1990s.
- Encinitas homeowners Thomas Frick and Barbara Lynch, whose effort to build a seawall has been blocked by the Coastal Commission and the Fourth District state appellate court, have now requested review from the California Supreme Court. The attorney filing their appeal was Paul J. Beard of the Pacific Legal Foundation. Beard told the San Diego Union-Tribune, "We are asking the California Supreme Court to hear this case so that these homeowners, and all property owners along the coast, can be protected from the Coastal Commission's obsessive crusade against seawalls." For detailed coverage of the Fourth District's decision, see http://www.cp-dr.com/articles/node-3572. The Fourth District's online docket shows it denied a request for rehearing in September.
- The landlord of the "Friendly Village" mobile home park in Milpitas has appealed the city's federal court victory (see http://www.cp-dr.com/articles/node-3567), which blocked it from raising rents by 50 to 90 percent. The Mercury News reported the city has already approved $30,000 for attorneys' fees to fight the appeal before the Ninth Circuit. (Item via League of CA Cities.)