Civil Liberties

Eminent Domain Abuse in National City, California


In 2007,'s Drew Carey Project told the infuriating story of National City, California's shameful use of eminent domain against a local community center that gets at-risk-youths off the streets, away from gangs, and into the boxing ring. Thanks to the notorious example set by the Supreme Court's 2005 decision in Kelo v. City of New London, officials in National City realized they could put the property to more profitable use—and therefore collect more tax revenue—by handing the land over to private developers. As San Diego's reports today, the property owners are now finally getting their day in court:

A trial began on Monday to settle a dispute between the Community Youth Athletic Center and National City about the center's "blighted" label.

For the past decade, the CYAC has helped hundreds of young men and women stay off National City streets by giving them a place to work out and study.

"It's not just boxing. It's education and a lot of other positive things," said CYAC spokesman Salvador Rivera.

Rivera said National City designated the center and dozens of other properties along National City Boulevard as blighted about seven years ago. That designation gives the city the ability to redevelop those properties through eminent domain proceedings.

"They want to take the property and give it to a developer… and have them put up big condos that will generate some taxes for the city," said Rivera.

Read the whole story here. For more on the case, check out's "National City: Eminent Domain Gone Wild" followed by the Institute for Justice's new video "Epic Eminent Domain Battle: Inner-City Kids, Boxing Gym Fight Back."