Steve Anthony’s Fight Against Phony Eminent Domain Revisited

One  of the old, classic California right to take cases is County of Los Angeles v. Anthony, 224 Cal.App.2d 103 (1964). Ostensibly, it was a taking for a site for a new motion picture museum. In reality it was at best a botched up mess, and at worst, and underhanded way of glomming on to some land which the county wanted in order to expand parking at the Hollywood Bowl. The case gained notoriety when Steve Anthony, a homeowner whose house was the subject property resisted the taking both in court and physically: he confronted the Sheriff’s Deputies who came to take possession, with a shotgun.

Steven Anthony, aiming a shotgun, refuses to vacate his home


 As you can imagine, this made for a lot of publicity but did not do poor Steve any good. He was arrested and prosecuted.

And the museum? Was it built? Don’t be silly. Of course not. The subject land became part of the Hollywood Bowl parking lot. Rather than giving you our version, we offer the dispatch from  the Central Library blog, which is linked to this post.  It will give you the essential facts compleat with the names of show business personalities behind this caper.

The court of appeal opinion which we cite above was wretched. It held that a taking for a private, profit-making museum was OK when incidental to a valid taking. But in the Anthony case, as you can see by reading the opinion cited above and the background facts, there was nothing in this taking to be “incidental” to — no public works, no blight, no redevelopment to improve the community — nothing like that. It was purely a private caper, that didn’t even accomplish its stated purpose. Rather than us giving you our version, here is the story, pictures and all, as presented by the Central Library Blog. Here it is:

Afterthought. We note that the subject of this post ties in with the recent spate of stuff in the blogosphere, reflecting on the aftermath of the wretched  2005 Kelo case, where a 92-acre waterfront tract of land was taken supposedly to create a spiffy new neighborhood that would cater to the wants of high-class employees of the nearby Pfizer Pharmaceuticals facility. But it didn’t happen. After displacing a well kept lower middle class neighborhood, and razing the land, nothing, absolutely nothing, has been built on those 92-acres after the waste of millions — over $100 mil, as we recall. And instead of expanding and providing new employment, as represented to the Supreme Court, Pfizer packed up its bags and moved out of New London, taking some 1400 jobs with it.

Follow-up. For a full, detailed story of Anthony’s doomed fight to protect his home for the taking, click on

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