Friday, October 23, 2009

VA Footprint Suit - Hearing Today in CDC

As we've been noting, there's a hearing today before Judge Ethel Julien on whether Mayor Nagin violated the City Charter in agreeing to clear the proposed VA hospital footprint.

I plan to stop in at the hearing, if at all possible, for a bit.

Today's Times-Pic article on the hearing summarizes a few of the parties' arguments, including standing arguments by the city.  Of the four plaintiffs, the city objections toward two of the plaintiffs make sense - they don't live in the affected area, even if they do use the streets.  The city's objections to the other two, however - people who live in the footprint - seem borderline absurd.

Their homes stand to be razed if the agreement is followed.  That seems like a pretty clear "special interest" of potential harm to me.

UPDATE:  Arriving at 11:30, I found that the 10:30 a.m. start was but a hoped for starting point.  The hearing had not yet begun as of 12:10 p.m.  I did sit in on the oral arguments that precede the matter in Judge Julien's courtroom, though - a case involving the creation of a port in Nicaragua, the laying of fiber optic cables, res judicata, allegations of "fanciful" arguments, and a man named Mr. Wheelock.

Outside, in the hallway, a representative from the Committee to Re-open Charity chatted with supporters and speculated as to when the hearing on the demolition would actually get underway.

UPDATE 2Judge Julien permits the suit to go forward. 

UPDATE 3:  The city's attorney gives the post-hearing spin - an injunction was not granted freezing the footprint site.  Thus, in theory, the city can proceed with making the area "construction ready."  However, part of today's hearing, from what I understood, involved an attempt by the city to have the suit as a whole thrown out - and that did not happen.

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