CA: Street Widening Project Threatens Karate Kid’s Dojo and 7 Other Businesses

UPDATE: IJ Releases Coalition Letter on March 20, 2014—Read it Here

Eminent domain is for public use, things like roads—but can’t be used to take property a city simply doesn’t need. The City of Santa Ana’s plan to widen Bristol Street threatens eight small businesses, including a 47-year-old karate studio run by the real Mr. Miyagi. Karate legend Fumio Demura has worked as as the stunt double for Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid franchise, as well as Mortal Combat, Rising Sun and The Island of Dr. Moreau — and he’s trained Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris and Steven Seagal. He’s a local legend with one goal: “All I want is to teach.”

But the city won’t leave him and seven other small businesses alone. The Bristol Street Widening Project originally called for a 120-foot expansion of the road. In November, the plan was enlarged to 150 feet, and this additional 30 feet would require the condemnation of eight businesses on North Bristol Street. Why? For 30 feet of unneeded greenery.

Click here to tell the City of Santa Ana “NO:  Hands Off the Bristol Street Businesses.”

Eminent domain is supposed to be for public uses that are actually needed by the public. The 30 feet of extra greenery is not needed. The city council should adopt its original 120-foot plan that would allow the businesses to continue serving the community.

The Bristol Street Business Owners Coalition, comprised of the threatened eight small business owners, is working to minimize the impact of the Bristol Street Widening Project on their businesses.

To date, the Coalition has collected more than 1,200 signatures urging the city to find a development plan that would keep their businesses in place. It also started a Twitter feed to educate the public and gather support.

Are you threatened by eminent domain abuse? Contact, and check out our Eminent Domain Abuse Survival Guide.

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