Judge to decide on Blackwater permit Tuesday
Union Tribune (2008-05-30) Ray Huard
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6:35 p.m. May 30, 2008
SAN DIEGO – A federal judge said Friday she won't decide until Tuesday whether to order San Diego City officials to issue a permit that would allow Blackwater Worldwide to open a training center for the Navy on Otay Mesa.
But U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn L. Huff in questions and comments to lawyers for the city and Blackwater indicated she was inclined to grant the company's request for a temporary restraining order.
The order could allow Blackwater to begin operating the training center in a former warehouse on Siempre Viva Road near Brown Field as soon as Wednesday.
Blackwater's lawyer, Michael Neil, told the judge that the company was scheduled to being operations Monday under its contract with the Navy, but that a delay of a few days would not cause serious harm.
Executive Assistant City Attorney Donald Mcgrath said outside the courtroom that city officials would regroup over the next few days to consider their options. He indicated that he would file a motion asking the judge to step aside and leave the issue for a state court to decide.
Mcgrath argued in court that the federal court did not have authority to order a city to issue land-use permits, but Huff ruled that it was within her jurisdiction.
The judge said that it appeared that Blackwater had met all the city's requirements until officials on May 19 said further review was needed before they would issue an occupancy permit, the final hurdle for Blackwater to open the training center.