2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 5 Nov 2002 16:30:53 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Los Angeles lawfirm files NTC Tidelands Trust lawsuit
[POSTED BY John McNab <saveourntc@yahoo.com>]

On Friday, November 1 2002, a complaint was filed in Sacramento Superior
Court alleging illegal termination of Tidelands Trust protection at
Naval Training Center (NTC).  Los Angeles environmental public interest
law firm Chatten-Brown and Associates filed this action on behalf of
Save Our NTC, Inc.

Tidelands are land that are below the 1879 high mean tide line, or all
bay fill in San Diego Harbor and Mission Bay Park.  Appropriate uses of
Tidelands are parks, commercial maritime, airports and hotels.   The
most inappropriate use of tidelands is residential housing.

Tidelands Trust is part of 4 million acres of protected public land
overseen by the State Lands Commission yet under the protection of the
judicial system.  Tidelands are lands that under the State Constitution
and by legal precedent cannot be legislated out of existence except in
rare cases, where small parcels of land are valueless for trust

Chatten-Brown states: The state?s common law public trust doctrine and
California Constitution Article 10, Section 3, prohibits the abandonment
of the public trust when lands remain valuable for trust purposes.  The
Constitution and common law allow the Legislature to transfer tidelands
to municipalities, but not to abandon the public trust on large parcels
of land that remain valuable to the public trust, with certain narrow
exceptions that are not applicable in this case

The California Constitution also contains a more specific prohibition on
the transfer of public tidelands to private parties.  California
 Constitution, Article X section 3, prohibits the sale or grant of
tidelands within two miles of an incorporated city or town which were
subject to the ebb and flow of the tide in 1879.   (City of Long Beach
v. Mansell (1970) 3 Cal.3d 462, 479.)  The delegates to the California
Constitutional Convention in 1879 added provisions to the California
Constitution forbidding the alienation of public trust
 lands for private use because they were mindful of instances where
private developers took public land for private purposes. (City of Long
Beach v. Mansell (1970) 3 Cal.3d 462, 504-506.)  Thus, the
constitutional prohibition was adopted to prevent exactly the sort of
acquisition of public trust lands by a private company like Corky
McMillin which the City appears to be contemplating approving.

Governor Gray Davis signed the extermination of Tidelands Trust at Naval
Training Center, Steve Peace Senate Bill 698, in November 2001 despite a
flood of calls protesting. Citizens consistently since have addressed in
testimony and by letter the illegality of
this action to the City and State.  Former City Attorney John Witt also
wrote before leaving office that Tidelands at NTC were protected lands.
Like the 30-foot height limit law, current City Attorney Casey Gwinn has
reinterpreted law to favor commercial

McMillin purchased about 70 acres of extinguished Tidelands for less
than four dollars for uses prohibited by Tidelands ? residential housing
and office buildings.

Save Our NTC, Inc.  also contests the land taken out of Tidelands Trust
for the Public Safety Training Institute. This property was conveyed to
the City under an economic benefit conveyance. This means the City can
do whatever they want with it at any time.
 If the purpose was to keep the Public Safety Training Institute at
Naval Training Center, the land would have been transferred under a
public benefit conveyance and Tidelands Trust would still be retained
with the Training Institute either receiving a waiver (like the day care
center in the NTC park area) or modified to emphasize maritime police
?fire users. Instead, the city used title transfer to make it
 available for future residential and non-maritime commercial

The City action taken at Naval Training Center opens up a Pandoras Box
of implications statewide if allowed to stand.  Dedicated public land
environmentalists assumed are safe potentially could now come into
play.  In San Diego MCRD, the airport and North Island all substantially
sit on Tidelands.   Whether public purpose will continue at these sites
rides greatly on this Tidelands action at NTC.

Naval Training Center still has the opportunity to become a waterside
Balboa Park, rebuilt for public use by citizens. Public use always has
promised the benefit of the required highest long-term economic return
and also the fastest financial return to the
City of San Diego General Tax Fund.

Your support of Tidelands legal action will enable a reclaimed public
vision to be realized.

To view the case or letter briefing precedent:  www.ntcsd.org

John McNab
Save Our NTC
1333 29th St
San Diego, CA  92102

 Save OUR NTC--http://www.ntcsd.org -a 501(c)(3) NON-PROFIT**
 4295 Voltaire St. S.D.,CA 92107 #27 - saveourntc@yahoo.com
 Help us to preserve all of the Naval Training Center for all
 citizens who have paid their tax dollars to equip the center
 for public/government use. **WE ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLE**
 Now, more than ever, NTC is needed by our country to preserve and
protect our democracy.

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