Eminent Domain Stuff
New London Update (2/24/06)
Coverage of the Rally at New London's City Hall (w/ pics)
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
NEW LONDON, CT. (AP) - The New London city council has voted to sever ties with the quasi-public development authority at the center of a national debate over eminent domain powers.Woa, woa, woa. Hold on just a second. Let's review real quick.
The council voted 6-to-nothing last night to revoke the designation of the New London Development Corporation as the city's "implementing agency" for its Fort Trumbull development. The agency has guided the 73 (m) million dollar state-funded project since its inception in 1998.
Council members said they could no longer deal with an agency that disregarded the city's rights as a development partner and the wishes of the community.
This whole mess got started because the New London City Counsel wanted to 'revitalize' the Fort Trumble waterfront (at the behest of Pfizer, perhaps?*), so they decided to designate the NLDC to head the redevelopment. They offered to buy out the residents and business owners in the area, some agreed and sold. Others said no, so the City Counsel decided to claim the power of eminent domain in order to force out the resistant homeowners and businesses. The latter two groups then sued and had their case make it all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States of America, who ruled against them. Now, the NLDC decides to go forward with the plan (and this is important) as originally instructed by the New London City Counsel.
In the mean time debates rage across not just the state of Connecticut, but across the entire country as well. In the end, the CT State Legislature (this is also important) asks the NLDC to hold off with evections for a while so they can take the matter under consideration. The NLDC agrees but eventually goes back on their word and sends out eviction notices. Everyone gets pissed and the New London City Counsel dumps the NLDC.
If you read this blog regularly, you'll know that I'm no fan of the NLDC. However, I tend to see them as the means in this particular situation (means, that is, to the end of redeveloping the Fort Trumble waterfront area). However, the real (and I use the term quite loosely) "brains" behind the operation was the New London City Counsel in the first place. So, let me put the question to you: Who should be taking the blame here?
I think this move by the New London City Counsel absolutely reeks like week-old fish left out in the sun. The NLDC was doing what any automon would do, they were carrying out their mission to the letter. They were under no legal obligation to refrain from sending those eviction notices. Should they have sent the eviction notices? In my opinion, no. Where they within their legal rights to do so? Absolutely.
So now we have a New London City Counsel who started this whole ball rolling in the first place, and a CT State Legislature who failed miserably to do their jobs and stop the NLDC with the rule of law, and who takes the fall? The NLDC. I don't particularly care that they take a fall, I just don't want them to take the only fall. I think that the New London City Counsel and certain members of the State Legislature deserve to bear the full brunt of the People's anger.
The reason for this is simple. The NLDC is a problem for a few people in New London. Getting rid of the former is definitely in the latter's best interests and I fully support the move. However, City Counsels like the one in New London and State Legislators who are willing to take my property to put up a new high rent district are the real problem and absolutely cannot be allowed to slink away from this unscathed.
If you'd like to know who enjoys power more than your Rights, take a look at the side bar under the heading "Enemies of the People". On the other side of the issue, you might want to check out this article to find the names of a few State Legislatures willing to stand up and (here's a novel idea) represent the interests of their constituents. If you happen to have a vote that might affect anyone who has taken sides against the citizens of CT and/or New London let them know that there are alternatives to their own reelection.