In the ongoing billboard wars that have taken place up and down the state in recent years, the advertisers have won the latest legal battle.
In Hill v. San Jose Family Housing Partners, the Court of Appeal for the Sixth Appellate District held: (1) that a written easement for a billboard was enforceable, even if the billboard was constructed in an illegal manner; and (2) that the servient owners of a development that unreasonably interfered with the visibility of the billboard could owe the billboard owner damages for lost profits.
As with most things in life, one person's gain is another person's loss, and public-private partnerships are not exempt from these types of tradeoffs. To the state engineers and their representative union, the contracting out to private engineering firms of engineering services traditionally performed by Caltrans engineering staff represents one of those zero-sum games. This becomes the backdrop to a challenge to the Phase II improvement work on Doyle Drive, the highway approach to the southern terminus of the Golden Gate Bridge.
This month – October 10, to be exact – marks the 100th anniversary of initiative and referendum in California. It's hard to imagine that Gov. Hiram Johnson, the godfather of the constitutional amendment, could have imagined all the different ways that the initiative process would be used – especially by the moneyed interests that were his target in 1911. But it's equally hard to imagine that Johnson could have foreseen the way the initiative and referendum process would transform planning and development in California.
Jim Kennedy may have taken the most thankless job in all of California planning. The former planning director of Contra Costa County and longtime board member of the California Redevelopment Association, Kennedy succeeds former executive director John Shirey, who recently became city manager for the City of Sacramento.
There was a time when the biggest opponents to infill development were the interstate highway, the barbeque grill, and the American dream. Following the failure of Assembly Bill 710, you might be able to add advocates of affordable housing to the list.