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California Eminent Domain Law Group, APC Receives “AV” Peer Review Rating from LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell: 10/24/08

Glendale, CA –  California Eminent Domain Law Group, APC today announced it has received notification from LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell that their firm has received a Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating.


California Eminent Domain Law Group was given an “AV” rating from its peers, which means that it was deemed to have very high professional ethics and pre-eminent legal ability. Only law firms with the highest ethical standards and exceptional qualifications receive a Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating.


Martindale-Hubbell’s exclusive Peer Review Lawyer Rating System evaluates attorneys and law firms in the U.S. and Canada with its independent peer review process. To establish a rating, Martindale-Hubbell sends confidential questionnaires to other lawyers and from judges within the same geographic location as the attorney or law firm under evaluation. Martindale-Hubbell staff also participates in the review process by conducting personal interviews with members of the bar who may be able to shed some light on the credentials of a specific attorney or law firm.


“We are honored to be recognized as an “AV” rated firm,” said A.J. Hazarabedian, Managing Partner of California Eminent Domain Law Group. “We work diligently to maintain a very high level of ethics and legal ability, and are pleased to be acknowledged by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell and our peers for our work.”

Construction expected to start by end of year on El Cerrito Sports Park in Corona; The Press-Enterprise, 10/20/08

By Alicia Robinson

In tough economic times, some people count themselves fortunate to have a home. Corona National Little League is about to join the fortunate.

Construction is expected to start in December on El Cerrito Sports Park, a collaboration between Riverside County and the city of Corona. When finished, it will become Corona National Little League’s official home.

Besides four baseball/softball fields, the $13.5 million park will offer three fields for soccer and football, two courts each for basketball and tennis, a tot lot and a building for indoor activities.

“The demand is extremely high. In Corona, youth sports is a major part of this community,” Corona Parks and Community Services Director Gabe Garcia said.

The county will pay to build the park and oversee its construction, and the city will maintain it and will handle park programs and schedule field use. County supervisors voted this month to approve the park budget, which was about $4.5 million less than expected, and to hire a contractor to do the work.

The park will serve young athletes from the city of Corona as well as unincorporated El Cerrito, which is east of south Corona.

“It’s a great joint use between the county and the city and it’s been several years in the making,” Garcia said.

One cause of delay was an eminent domain battle with property owner Roger E. Bacon, who owns a 5.65-acre parcel the county needed for the 26-acre park. Bacon turned down several offers from the county, including one to pay him $6.5 million, because he said he was being low-balled.

The county proceeded to take the property by eminent domain. Though the court case is still pending, a judge this summer allowed the county to take possession of the parcel so work can begin on the park.

“That doesn’t mean the issue has been resolved — it just means the county’s going to end up with (the land),” said John Field, chief of staff for Riverside County Supervisor John Tavaglione. The supervisor helped push for the park, which is in his district.

Field said the park is a win-win project because the limited growth in El Cerrito couldn’t fund a park of the magnitude officials have planned, and youth from around the region desperately need more places to practice and play.

But the new sports park may mean the most to Corona National Little League. The league hasn’t had an official home in a decade, and its teams, which include 600 to 700 children, now play at parks scattered around Corona, league President Kurt Gairing said.

“We’ve kind of been bumped from park to park in anticipation of this park finally going through,” Gairing said. “It will be the first time in approximately 10 years that I can have our entire league playing at one facility.”

The new park also will allow for larger crowds of spectators at games, and Gairing hopes to host Little League all-star tournaments there. He said his players plan to hold fundraisers to pay for scoreboards and other extras at the park.

The Press-Enterprise:

Eminent domain approved for Kibbe Road work; Appeal Democrat, 10/21/08

By Andrea Koskey

Lawyer for property owners says concept is ‘shaky’

Improvements to the Highway 20 and Kibbe Road intersection that would create a private haul road for Teichert Aggregates Inc.’s Hallwood plant were approved despite an appellate court ruling that said the project does not comply with the California Environmental Quality Act.

Yuba County supervisors voted 4-1 on Tuesday morning to acquire slivers of land from 10 property owners through eminent domain.

Gary Livaich, an attorney with Desmond, Nolan, Livaich and Cunningham of Sacramento, which is representing several property owners, said a 3rd District Court of Appeal ruling sided with the residents in that not everything was considered before using eminent domain.

Livaich also represented some of the 3,000 Yuba County residents who sued the state over damages from the 1986 flood, according to Appeal-Democrat archives.

Planning on the haul road project, nine miles east of Marysville, began in 2003. It is designed to alleviate gravel truck traffic in the residential Hallwood area. Teichert representatives have said the location is the least disruptive to neighbors and surrounding agriculture.

The project would create wider turning lanes for trucks and realign Kibbe Road north and south of the highway.

Among Livaich’s arguments is that eminent domain can only be used if the project is for public good. Livaich said the road will only benefit a private company because it was “bought and paid for by Teichert.”

“The right to take property here is a bit shaky,” Livaich told supervisors, “and the court will not allow you to move forward if you approve these resolutions today.”

Although permits were granted for the project, Livaich said he and property owners are still waiting on a ruling from Yuba County Superior Court that will determine whether an environmental impact report complies with the CEQA. If the court finds it does not, he said, the project cannot move forward unless certain requirements and mandates are met.

Property owner Forest Tull, who is among those represented by Livaich, said he does not disagree with the project, only its location.

He said if Kibbe Road intersected with the highway farther west, the new intersection would be taken off a curve and eliminate residents’ safety concerns about trucks blocking driveways.

Supervisor Hal Stocker was the lone dissenting vote, saying the project would be better if it were located farther west.

“I think its a good idea to have a haul road,” Stocker said. “But I think there is a better alternative.”

 Appeal Democrat:

New fire station coming to Creston; The Tribune, 10/11/08

Supervisors OK eminent domain action to acquire parcel of land north of town

By Bob Cuddy

 The tiny North County community of Creston will get a new fire station, thanks to an eminent domain action taken by the Board of Supervisors Tuesday.

Through a “resolution of intent,” supervisors gave the go-ahead to buy three acres of a 138-acre parcel, three-quarters of a mile southeast of the intersection of Highways 41 and 229.

The county will now begin eminent domain proceedings to buy the parcel for $190,000.

The owners, Roger and Cheryl Janakus, who live in Illinois, agreed to sell, but Hal Holzinger, who owns the note on the property, would not go along.

“Nobody likes to use eminent domain,” said chairman Jim Patterson.

But, he added, the fire station is in the public interest.

Eminent domain, enshrined in the U. S. Constitution, allows a government to take a property— with just compensation — when it is for the general good.

The current fire station is on one acre and cannot be expanded because the site is too small.

Supervisors also were reluctant to take agricultural land out of production.

Organic vegetables are grown on the land. But they said the need for fire protection justified the exception.

Cal Fire looked at a dozen sites in the area over the course of a year, according to Deputy Chief Pat Kershen.

All had one defect or another, from unwilling sellers to oil pipelines running through the property.

Kershen described the new site as the hub of a wheel, with spokes going outward to the areas firefighters would serve.

Several Creston locals spoke in favor of the proposal, which has “great support in the community,” according to area resident Judy Blankenship.

The Tribune:

Riverside council OKs use of eminent domain for underpass project; The Press-Enterprise, 10/7/08

By Doug Haberman

RIVERSIDE – The Riverside City Council on Tuesday authorized the use of eminent domain to buy 4 acres of private property needed for the proposed Magnolia Avenue railroad-crossing underpass near the Riverside Plaza.

The action affects 11 property owners.

Public agencies usually use eminent domain to acquire private property from owners unwilling to sell. They normally employ it to buy land for public uses, such as parks, libraries and street-widening projects.

The underpass project affected 18 property owners. The city has bought parcels from seven of the owners and estimates at $10 million the cost to buy the remaining properties.

Adding the cost of fixtures and equipment the city must buy as well as escrow costs and the cost of relocating businesses on the properties, the total outstanding acquisition price tag is going to be close to $12 million, interim Development Director Conrad Guzkowski estimated in a report to the council.

Paul Pensig, who owns a strip center on Magnolia that includes Elliotts’ for Pets, told the council he objects to the city’s property valuation.

Pensig asked that the city buy the property sooner rather than later so that he doesn’t make costly repairs only to have to sell the property soon thereafter for the city to demolish it.

The city identified 26 businesses that needed to move to make way for the underpass and 17 have relocated, leaving nine, including Elliotts’ and Center Lumber.

In interviews last summer, some of the remaining business owners said it has been difficult dealing with the city and many expressed concerns they would not be fairly compensated for the forced relocations.

City officials at the time said the city would do its best to be fair to the business owners while being prudent with taxpayer money.

Deputy Public Works Director Tom Boyd said the city is estimating the total underpass project cost at $52 million.

The city’s goal is to start construction in June, he said. It should take 18 months to complete.

As part of its vote, the council authorized the city’s chief financial officer to borrow $5 million toward the property acquisitions from a city fund he designates.

The loan would be for no longer than five years with interest at the city’s cash pool rate, which was 4.2 percent at the end of September, Chief Financial Officer Paul Sundeen said.

The city expects $5 million from the state Public Utilities Commission for the underpass but the city must sign an agreement with Union Pacific Railroad before it can receive the money.

The city and railroad are still working on the deal.

The Press-Enterprise:

Eminent domain may become issue in conflict over site of Eastvale bar; The Press-Enterprise, 10/2/08

By Laurie Lucas

Riverside County is closer to seizing a bar owner’s land in Eastvale, the missing link needed to build community facilities.

The Board of Supervisors took the first step last month when it agreed that use of eminent domain might be necessary to acquire the property. The decision could come at a public hearing at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 21.

The tug of war is over 1.16 acres owned by Al Assink on a main thoroughfare at the corner of Hamner Road and Schleisman Avenue.

It is the site of Al’s Corner, the run-down bar adored by longtime patrons and loathed as an “eyesore” by newer residents. It is Assink’s home.

When reached by phone Thursday, Assink, 80, said h e had no comment.

The hotly contested property at 7010 Hamner Road is the last holdout of three contiguous properties, totaling 3.68 acres, on which the county plans to build a firehouse, a community center and a child care center.

The county bought 1.92 vacant acres for $998,000 from the city of Norco and purchased the middle property, 0.6 acre, from a private owner.

Last March, Assink said he was baffled why his corner was prime real estate in this former dairy community of 35,000 where tract homes have supplanted farms.

“There must have been 10,000 other locations,” he said, “land that was open for all ages.”

But Robert Field, the county’s facilities management director, said the trio of parcels has been deemed crucial for these services.

The county is proceeding “with an abundance of caution and a sense of urgency,” in regard to eminent domain, he said.

His brother, John Field, chief of staff for county Supervisor John Tavaglione, whose 2nd District includes Eastvale, said he’s not sure about the status of negotiations with Assink, but considers eminent domain “a last resort.”

Assink, who paid $30,000 for the land in 1969, wants the county to pony up $2 million, the amount he said a private buyer offered him months ago.

The county has authorized $1,872,978 to buy Assink’s property.

That sum includes $340,800 for cleaning up any environmental hazards on the parcel, such as oil and radiator fluid that might have seeped into the ground from abandoned cars around Assink’s house.

The Press-Enterprise:

COPYRIGHT © 2010 Arthur J. Hazarabedian, Esq.