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As widely predicted, U.S. District Judge Marilyn Huff today (June 4) granted military mercenary firm Blackwater Worldwide a temporary restraining order that enjoins the City from refusing to allow the controversial firm to occupy a shooting range training facility near the border. The City had issued a routine permit, but then had withdrawn it for more intensive review. Blackwater sued, saying its rights had been trampled upon Among several things, the City had argued that Blackwater had not applied for a permit in its own name, such a facility had not been deemed consistent with Otay Mesa plan zoning, and there may have been building code violations. After the decision, City Attorney Mike Aguirre stated that under this precedent, any company that disagrees with local land use regulations can go to federal court for relief in violation of the California Constitution and federal case law. Huff said the federal government could rule on the matter. The City is considering its legal options.

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Comments

JohnnyVegas June 4, 2008 @ 4:20 p.m.

It would be a good case for appeal because the fact of the matter is, no matter who's side you're on, Huff did NOT have the jurisdiction to hear this case at this point in time. She had no leagl authority to rule at this stage of the process, not until the state had a chance to go thru their process. BW may have won at the state level.

This is purely a states right's issue-land use. It should be allowed to go thru the state system FIRST, and only then should BW be allowed to go to federal court on due process issues.

Having said all of this I think the ruling by Huff was correct (albeit early) and would prevailed in the long run anyway.

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Burwell June 4, 2008 @ 7:09 p.m.

The corruption has spread to the Federal bench. The judge was foaming at the mouth to discredit Aguirre because she's entrenched in the power elite that runs San Diego. She is likely aiming for a seat on the 9th Circuit, or a lucrative "Of Counsel" post-retirement position with a major law firm. Federal judges who render decisions that favor large corporations always wind up with $500,000 a year do nothing positions with prestige law firms after they leave the bench. I know this exists because Justice Sandra O'Connor publically exposed these arrangements. The developers who are trying to terrace the hillsides of Mission Valley for real estate development will now be encouraged to file a similar lawsuit challenging the city's decision to deny their rezoning request.

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stevegrossca June 5, 2008 @ 7:24 a.m.

as a long time otay mesa businesss owner and constituent and understanding very well the industrial land use zoning codes as long as they followed the proper procedures and they obtained a permit as a "given right" under the applicable zoning then they city has no authority in not allowing them to proceed. It does not matter who's name the permit is in, what matters is the use that is being allowed under the current zoning. from what i know they are under an acceptable use in the "omdd" which is the otay mesa development district. This takes out the politics of the situation no matter what side you are on or not. That is not a legal basis for not allowing them to operate as long as they are operating a facility that is allowable under the zoning code. though some might not want them there for political reasons the land use argument that is being used is not the appropriate way to fight them.

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Don Bauder June 5, 2008 @ 7:54 a.m.

Response to post #1: I agree. This is a local land use issue. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 5, 2008 @ 7:58 a.m.

Response to post #2: Yes, I am afraid you are right. Developers will use the federal courts to block local land use initiatives. Of course, the city's developer services department is already in the pockets of the developers. San Diego's federal judiciary has historically been more balanced than the state judiciary (superior court). Tragically, that is changing. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 5, 2008 @ 8 a.m.

Response to post #3: If the Blackwater facility is within the zoning code, why didn't Blackwater go to state court? Best, Don Bauder

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mythusmage June 5, 2008 @ 10:59 p.m.

Don, #6

Probably fearing a decision against them in state court. The whole affair makes me wonder what would be revealed if an in-depth investigation of Judge Huff was conducted.

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Don Bauder June 6, 2008 @ 8:21 a.m.

Response to post #7: A probe of the judiciary, beginning with superior court but extending to federal court, is in order. Will it happen? Don't bet on it. Best, Don Bauder

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Fred Williams June 10, 2008 @ 6:33 a.m.

Wow.

After reading the Manuel Real story, and finding out that Judge Huff wanted to exonerate this creep, there are only a two reasonable conclusions:

A.) Judge Huff is incompetent, doesn't understand the law, and should be taken off the bench.

B.) Judge Huff is corrupt, willingly breaks the law, and should be taken off the bench.

Please vote for your choice.

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Don Bauder June 10, 2008 @ 7:12 a.m.

Response to poset #10: Interesting. Best, Don Bauder

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JohnnyVegas June 9, 2008 @ 8:53 p.m.

You wont get any probe or discipline out of the judiciary. Not in the federal system, and very little in the state system.

Since the Judiciary is a co equal branch of government they would be forced to investigate themselves. Therein is the problem.

In state court judges get reviewed thru the Commission n Judicial Performance, and in federal courts thru the 9th Circuit.

I have been involved with numerous complaints in both systems, and it is a flat out joke.

In the state system there are over 1,600 judges and you might get 4 or 5 judges facing discipline per year, or less than 1%, and rarely do you have judges removed for bad conduct. Maybe one, two max are removed for misconduct in any given year.

Federal court is even worse. There is basically no discipline there. In fact the Senate got so PO's about federal LA judge Manuel L. Real, and lack of disciplining him, that the Senate almost IMPEACHED him. He got lucky.

"More than 99% of the complaints filed against federal judges around the country are dismissed out of hand. The 9th Circuit council has reprimanded only two jurists in the last decade, while rejecting hundreds of complaints, according to official records. "

http://www.clr.org/Real-Manuel-L.html

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JohnnyVegas June 9, 2008 @ 9:06 p.m.

From the Manual real case, Judge Marilyn Huff covering for a bad judge Real:

The council is made up of five appeals court judges and five trial court judges. All five appellate judges on the council — Arthur L. Alarcon, William A. Fletcher, Alex Kozinski, M. Margaret McKeown and Sidney R. Thomas — joined the majority. They were joined by Marilyn H. Patel, the chief federal trial judge in San Francisco.

Four of the trial court judges — John Coughenour of Seattle, Terry J. Hatter Jr. of Los Angeles, **Marilyn L. Huff* of San Diego and Jack D. Shanstrom of Billings, Mont. — sided with Real. They did not write an opinion explaining their dissent.

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Don Bauder June 10, 2008 @ 7:10 a.m.

Response to post #9: That is a very depressing observation indeed. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 10, 2008 @ 7:14 a.m.

Response to post #11: Those are two unpleasant choices. Maybe somebody will come forth to speak in favor of Judge Huff. Best, Don Bauder

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JohnnyVegas June 12, 2008 @ 11:49 a.m.

Huff's ruling on a major issue in a case I am working on, in front of her, came down. She jerked my chain big time.

I have lost credibility in her.

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Don Bauder June 12, 2008 @ 9:22 p.m.

Response to post #15: Sorry to hear that. Best, Don Bauder

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