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Judge Halts Razing of L.A. Urban Garden

March 17, 2004

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A judge granted a preliminary injunction Tuesday to about 360 low-income families who are trying to prevent a developer from razing a 14-acre garden in the inner city.

The injunction from Judge David Yaffe means the families can continue to farm the land until a lawsuit they filed against the city and the developer, Ralph Horowitz, has been settled, said Dan Stormer, an attorney for South Central Farmers Feeding Families.

The injunction, which stated that the city did not follow proper procedure when selling public property, could be lifted earlier if the City Council agrees to examine the property sale.

``Our clients are very excited. This land means everything to them,″ Stormer said.

Mark Borenstein, Horowitz’s attorney, said Yaffe’s ruling did not mean the gardeners have a right to stay on the land. He said he will file an appeal.

James Kapel, attorney for the city, did not immediately return calls for comment.

For 12 years, the mostly Spanish-speaking families have grown cactuses, peppers, cilantro and sugar cane. The farmers say the garden is a safe haven for their families in a poor, gang-infested area and supplements their diet with exotic fruits and vegetables that they can’t afford in supermarkets.

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On the Net:

South Central Farmers Feeding Families: http://www.saveourgarden.com

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