Thursday, November 12, 2009

End of one error - beginning of another

From the Institute for Justice:

(November 9) - Pfizer, Inc., announced today that the company will be closing its former research and development headquarters in New London, Conn. This was a project that involved massive corporate welfare and led to the abuse of eminent domain that ultimately bulldozed the home of Susette Kelo and her neighbors in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Kelo v. City of New London.

This was the same bogus development plan that five justices of the U.S. Supreme Court refused to question when the property owners of New London pleaded to have their homes spared from the wrecking ball. Justices mentioned that there was a plan in place, and that so long as lawmakers who are looking to use eminent domain for someone’s private gain had a plan, the courts would wash their hands. Now, more than four years after the redevelopment scheme passed constitutional muster—allowing government to take land from one private owner only to hand that land over to another private party who happens to have more political influence—the plant that had been the magnet for the development is closing its doors and the very land where Susette Kelo’s home once stood remains barren to all but feral cats, seagulls and weeds.

Scott Bullock, who argued the Kelo case for the Institute for Justice on behalf of the New London homeowners, said, “Today’s announcement that Pfizer is closing its research facility in New London demonstrates the folly of government plans that involve massive corporate welfare and that abuse eminent domain for private development. The majority opinion in Kelo v. New London described the Fort Trumbull project as a ‘carefully considered’ plan, but it has been an unmitigated disaster from start—and now—to finish.”

Bullock continued, “Project supporters blame the economic downturn for this turn of events. That is all the more reason why taxpayer dollars should not be put at risk in speculative and risky development schemes.”

From the Wall Street Journal:

If there is a lesson from Connecticut's misfortune, it is that economic development that relies on the strong arm of government will never be the kind to create sustainable growth.

Yeah? Don't tell that to Mike Bloonmberg!

From Neighborhood Retail Alliance:

Which brings us to the Willets Point project-projected to cost billions that NYC simply doesn't have. Willets Point United is now in the middle of trying to determine whether the Van Wyck ramps will actually alleviate the traffic mess that the development will generate; and what the cost of all this will mean for the city's already over burdened tax payers.

Unfortunately, EDC is stonewalling handing over the information-and we are planning to present this refusal, as well as its implications, to the residents of the nearby communities that will be impacted by the mess. As it stands now, the cost of remediation is unclear, with the city planning to figure this all out (according to the EIS) after the project is built. A blatant act of malfeasance in our view.


Steve Behar said...

Maybe I'm too much of a legal wonk, but I've been screaming about the Kelo decision since it was handed down. It was a horrible decision and ignored the rights of communities across the country.

Eminent Domain has traditionally been used for public projects such as the building of bridges, tunnels, parks, schools, etc. The Kelo decision basically allows the government to take private property from hardworking people in a community and give that property to corporate interests that don't give a damn about that community. This is done under the guise of economic development.

If you actually read the decision, the court believes it would be OK if New York decided to bulldoze homes in Bayside or Whitestone and build a Wal-Mart in their place.

Claire said...

Did someone mention my name?

Anonymous said...

Steve, I couldn't agree with you more.

Although it was just one more example of the needs of the people being ignored by corrupt government, for me personally this was the dividing line where I totally lost faith in our government to be "for the people."