Wednesday, July 06, 2005

In Defense Of Private Property

Hundreds In New London (Connecticut) Oppose Seizure Of Homes For Development
July 6, 2005 By LAUREN PHILLIPS, Hartford Courant Staff Writer

MITCHELL MARTIN, of Houston, Texas, said he came to New London to participate in Tuesday�s protest against eminent domain because he was "infuriated by the Supreme Court decision.�
Copyright 2005, Hartford Courant
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Susette Kelo, a New London homeowner whose case was decided two weeks ago by the U.S. Supreme Court., attended the protest. The court ruled in favor of the city of New London, saying it can use eminent domain to seize property for economic purposes.
Copyright 2005, Hartford Courant

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Fort Trumbell residents and their attorneys and representatives show a range of emotions on the steps of the New London City Hall.

Jul. 5, 2005
Copyright 2005, Hartford Courant
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Former state senator Tom Scott holds up his son, Thomas, 4, on the steps of New London City Hall Tuesday.

Jul. 5, 2005
Copyright 2005, Hartford Courant

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If ‘Fair Market’ prices were locked in before the
trials for those having their properties taken under Eminent Domain, then the
prices being offered are 5 years out of whack and the New London Connecticut
homeowners are getting the shaft.

Home prices have skyrocketed and
there is very little inventory for sale. The residents might not even be able to
afford getting a comparable house in another town.

This latest
round in the Supreme Court tells all Americans what the power structure is
about- the rich, corporations, and screwing the little guy in court.

-Steven G. Erickson aka Vikingas

James Findley, of Storrs, became interested in the issue of eminent domain and Fort Trumbull when he came to New London for OpSail 2000 and toured the neighborhood.

Jul. 5, 2005
Copyright 2005, Hartford Courant
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Protesters hold signs showing their opposition to New London�s eminent domain decision, which was held up by the U.S. Supreme court in June.

Jul. 5, 2005
Copyright 2005, Hartford Courant
Posted by Picasa

NEW LONDON -- Hundreds of people - some from as far away as Texas - rallied Tuesday on the steps of city hall to oppose the U.S. Supreme Court decision affirming government's right to take private property for economic development purposes.

The outcry follows a national vein of opposition to the 5-4 decision two weeks ago siding with city officials who plan to use their eminent domain power to take 15 homes in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood, making way for a private waterfront development.

At the state Capitol, support is also building for a bill proposed late last week that would forbid the use of eminent domain power for economic development projects.

"Wow," said Michael Cristofaro, beginning a short speech during the rally.

His father owns one of the condemned properties.

"It really does our hearts well to see our nation stand beside us."

Mitchell Martin of Houston said he borrowed frequent flier miles from a friend to make the trip from Texas to Tuesday's rally.

"I heard the Supreme Court made this ruling against private property, and it hit something deep inside of me," Martin said.

"It offended me as an American."

Other protesters came from New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York and towns around Connecticut.

Dissenting justices and critics have said the Supreme Court ruling leaves practically every property owner vulnerable to condemnation proceedings.

The New London Development Corp., the designated development agent for the city, intends to build a riverfront project that the city has said will benefit the public through increased tax revenue and employment.

After a five-year battle against the project, Fort Trumbull homeowner Susette Kelo, the lead plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court case, said Tuesday she hopes the city council will listen to the appeals.

"People in the U.S. are angry," she said.

"I'm sad, but really pleased with the crowd."

With stickers and signs denouncing eminent domain and chants of "Let them stay," those in opposition to the decision listened to appeals that the city council amend the project to allow the homeowners to remain in their homes amid the new development.

"They've never been against the development," said Scott Bullock, a lawyer with the private civil liberties law firm Institute for Justice in Washington, D.C., which represents the Fort Trumbull homeowners.

"They just want to be a part of it."

Bullock said the institute is examining all options for a next step in litigation, including a possible motion to reconsider, or evaluating similar cases currently at the state level that could rise to the Supreme Court level.

He said the firm is also working with legislators and hopes to work with the council.

"Hopefully this sent a message to the city council that they don't need that property to develop there," Bullock said.

He said the homes make up about 1.5 acres of a 90-acre project area.

Tuesday's was the first city council meeting since the landmark decision.Eminent domain was not an item on Tuesday's meeting agenda, but several people from the rally went into the meeting to speak during the public comment time.

Council member Margaret Curtin said the city is working with developers to start the development project.

"It didn't affect anyone," she said of the rally.

"It wasn't on the agenda."Meanwhile, state House Minority Leader Robert Ward, R-North Branford, told the crowd that support is building for a proposed bill he circulated to the legislature that would end the right of municipalities to take private property for economic development purposes. He has gathered support from Republicans and some Democrats, he said.

A vote on the legislation could come during a summer session planned for the coming weeks to consider bills vetoed by the governor.

State Rep. Steven Mikutel, D-Griswold, also attended the rally, telling the protesters that his family lost land to the government through eminent domain. He is among the Democrats in support of amending the state's eminent domain law.

Richard Brown, New London town manager, said city hall and surrounding buildings were evacuated earlier Tuesday after a "suspicious package" - later discovered to contain exercise equipment - was found at about 1:30 p.m. between the hall and Harris Place, where the offices of New London Development Corp. are located.

The state police bomb squad responded and, after determining the nature of the package, allowed the buildings to be re-entered at about 4 p.m.

Brown said the city has received a number of threatening messages in recent weeks.

The homeowners said they have recently experienced an outpouring of support in the form of letters, e-mail and telephone calls.

Kelo, who had tears in her eyes after the rally because of the show of support, said she has yet to hear when she will have to leave her home. She said the U.S. Supreme Court decision has not hampered her resolve to change the city's mind.

"I hope the city council will realize that we are good people and want to keep our homes," Kelo said.

My previous post on Eminent Domain:

5 to 4 in the Supreme Court, THE DAY FREEDOM DIED

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Reasons to Abolish the Connecticut State Police

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The links from above no longer go to intended posts.

Monday, October 08, 2007 8:44:00 PM  

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