Don Bauder 7:49 p.m., May 22
Federal Judge Says Blackwater Can Go Ahead with Shooting Range; City Attorney Protests Decision
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 The City had issued a routine permit, but then had withdrawn it for more intensive review.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.