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Thomas, Kennedy Seek to Revisit San Remo Ruling

The U.S. Supreme Court declined on April 25 to take a case from Connecticut that would have overturned the 1985 case Williamson County Regional Planning Comm'n v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City, 473 U. S. 172, a pre-First English case in which the court ruled that property owners seeking to a regulatory taking case in federal court have to first ensure that all administrative remedies at the local or state level are exhausted and then seek compensation through whatever mechanism is provided by the state.

However, Justices Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy dissented from the denial of certiorari in Arrigoni Enterprises v. Town of Durham, saying they wanted to use the case to revisit the questions about Williamson County raised in the dissent in the 2005 Supreme Court case, San Remo Hotel v. San Francisco, 545 U.S. 323. That case involving a dispute going back decades over payment of an in-lieu fee or provision of replacement units when a hotel is converted from residential to tourist use.

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Justice Thomas Wants To Go After Nollan/Dolan

The U.S. Supreme Court decided on Monday not take the appeal in California Building Industry Association v. City of San Jose, the case in which the California Supreme Court upheld San Jose's inclusionary housing requirement. But the court was not completely silent. 

In concurring with the decision to pass on the case - a decision that not accompanied by a written opinion by the court -- Justice Clarence Thomas said he believes that the question of whether disproportionate exactions can be imposed on developers in legislative actions - as opposed to quasi-judicial action - is not settled.

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Social Justice, Regional Economics at Odds in Downtown Oakland Plan

Uber has finally arrived in Oakland. Not the ride service - that's been around for a while - but rather the company itself, which recently moved its headquarters from San Francisco to a former Sears department store. What would be a triumph of economic development for many cities is making many Oaklanders nervous. They fear that what Uber has done to the taxi industry, wealthy residents and boutique businesses might do to Oakland's working-class heritage.

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California Needs 'Minimum Housing' to Go Along with Minimum Wage

Sexy-sporty clothing brand American Apparel has long been one of the Los Angeles' most beloved, and most controversial, corporate citizens. It is known for paying decent wages and treating its workers well.
 
When it easily could have outsourced jobs to Asia, it has also resolutely kept its main factory in Los Angeles, occupying a muscular, seven-story industrial building on the southeast edge of downtown since 2000. American Apparel has proudly championed social-justice causes, including immigration reform and gay rights, and assured consumers that they are buying "sweatshop-free" garments made by well treated workers.
 
They're just the sort of workers who might  might benefit from the forthcoming increase in California's minimum wage. If only they - and every other low-wage worker in Los Angeles - had decent roofs over their heads.

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Intellectual Tourism, Near and Far: Review of 'The Geography of Genius'

Steve Jobs. 

That's the only reference to Apple's ubiquitous founder that this review will include. In Geography of Genius, journalist Eric Weiner does the world a favor by reminding us that there are, and have been, other greats who deserve the mantle of genius.

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Fetishizing Families: Review of 'The Human City'

I would like to buy Joel Kotkin a beer. I vote we try a gastropub downtown. Or maybe a rooftop lounge. I'll take the subway, and he can take a taxi. That way, neither of us has to drive.

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County Can't Undermine Dispensary Referendum, Court Rules

In repealing a medical marijuana ordinance that a referendum sought to overturn, the Kern County Board of Supervisors erred in also repealing the underlying ordinance that the referendum's backers were seeking to reinstate, the Fifth District Court of Appeal has ruled. It's the third appellate ruling in a medical marijuana zoning case to be issued in the last month.

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California Cities Join Global Urban Resilience Movement

Coastal California has long been known for harrowing natural hazards: wildfires, drought, floods, the occasional tsunami, and, of course, earthquakes. It has also developed some serious human-made hazards too: chronic poverty, sea level rise, crime, pollution, riots, fragile energy grids, stratospheric housing costs, among others. 

The state is, as urban theorist Mike Davis put it, steeped in "the ecology of fear." Armed with new data and strategies, cities are trying to ease their anxieties. 

"Resilience" refers to cities' ability to weather and recover from discrete "shocks," such as earthquakes, and chronic "stresses," such as poverty and the predicted effects of climate change. California has become Ground Zero in the resilience movement.
 
Four California cities - Berkeley, Los Angeles, Oakland, and San Francisco - have appointed "chief resilience officers" as part of a worldwide experiment in hazard mitigation and bureaucratic reform sponsored by New York-based nonprofit 100 Resilient Cities (100RC), project of the Rockefeller Foundation.

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Insight: Will Upland Ruling Allow Stadiums -- And Others -- Evade Two-Thirds Vote?

So, why does a court ruling on a medical marijuana ban in Upland affect the Chargers ability to build a new stadium in San Diego?

For the same reason that construction of a Wal-Mart in Sonora affects the Rams ability to build a new stadium in Inglewood, which is:

The apparently magical power of the initiative process to end-run two generations of laws that make it more difficult to approve new buildings and adopt new taxes in California.

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State "Incentives" To Charter Cities To Use Prevailing Wage Struck Down

A state law that prohibits charter cities from receiving state funds for a public construction project if it allows the contractors to not pay prevailing wage has been upheld by a split appellate court.

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Upland Mobile Dispensary Ordinance Not Subject to CEQA, Court Rules

In the second medical marijuana ruling out of the City of Upland in the last week, the Fourth District Court of Appeal has ruled that Upland's ban on mobile medical marijuana dispensaries is not subject to the California Environmental Quality Act.

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One Win, One Loss For Cities In Marijuana Cases

Local governments in the Inland Empire won one and lost one in rulings about medical marijuana, both from the same panel of justices on the Fourth District Court of Appeal.

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City Doesn't Inherit Redevelopment Housing Obligations, Appellate Court Rules

In the latest chapter of a long-running legal battle over affordable housing and redevelopment in Fontana, the Fourth District Court of Appeal has ruled that the city is not required to take on the former redevelopment agency's affordable housing obligations.

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Denial of Upzoning Might Create Disparate Impact Under Fair Housing Law, Ninth Circuit Rules

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a trial judge and ruled that the City of Yuma's refusal to approve an upzoning might constitute a disparate racial impact under the federal Fair Housing Act.

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Disputed Redevelopment Funds Can't Be Withheld, Court Rules

Under Proposition 22, neither the state Board of Equalization nor a county auditor-controller can constitutionally withhold tax funds as part of a redevelopment dispute, as called for by AB 1484, the 2012 bill that cleaned up the redevelopment wind-down, the Third District Court of Appeal has ruled.

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Second District Upholds L.A. Billboard Restrictions

The Second District Court of Appeal has ruled that the City of Los Angeles's ban on billboards advertising offsite businesses is not content-based and therefore not subject to the "strict scrutiny" test under free-speech clauses in either the U.S. or California constitution.

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Community Character Under CEQA Limited to Aesthetics, Appellate Court Rules

Resident concerns about the social and psychological impact associated with the conversion of a horse-boarding facility to a 12-lot subdivision do not constitute a "community character" issue requiring an environmental impact report, the Fourth District Court of Appeal has ruled.

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How Scalia Found His Voice

Thirty years ago, in his first big majority opinion -- a land-use case from the California coast -- Antonin Scalia found the colorful and irreverent style that came to distinguish his career on the Supreme Court. And with one clean swipe, he knocked William Brennan out of the box and became the intellectual leader of the court.

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Carlsbad Voters Reject Tuolomne Tactic

In an absurd twist on use of the Tuolomne Tactic, Carlsbad voters have apparently overturned the city council’s decision to adopt a proposed ballot initiative approving a specific plan that would permit developer Rick Caruso to move forward with a shopping center.

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Ballot Initiative Takes Aim at Planning in Los Angeles

On the morning of Wednesday, November 9, while the nation takes stock of its future, its second-largest city will be doing the same. By then, the proposed Hollywood Palladium Residences may be one of two things: a proud testament to a progressive city's embrace of smart growth, or a 28-story symbol of the hubris of Los Angeles' planning and development community.

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