Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Second thoughts now the heat is on?

New London Mulls Timing of Property Seizure
Tuesday, September 27, 2005

One of the Supreme Court's most controversial recent decisions is playing out in New London, Conn., where homeowners whose property the city wants to take for commercial use now find themselves on the receiving end of some conflicting signals.

The people who live in the houses set for seizure by the New London Development Corporation have gotten their notices to move, saying residents must vacate by Dec. 8. But now, the mayor of New London says the letter to vacate should not have been sent out.

"They jumped the gun and their attitude has been jumping the gun a lot and this was like the frosting on the cake," said Mayor Jane Glover.

The eviction notices were allowed when the Supreme Court ruled in Kelo et. al. v. City of New London that the city can seize private property for economic development projects like hotels and office space. The decision was heavily criticized.

The New London City Council has also voted "no confidence" in the Development Corporation and has demanded the agency's president be fired. But none of the recent events has changed the city council's decision to seize the property.

Glover said she still wants the tenants and property owners gone, but only after more bargaining.

"There are 90 acres there to be developed, seven people, maybe 15 dwellings are keeping that economic development from going on," Glover said. "The Supreme Court has given us the authority to just go in with a bulldozer, but I don't think the state of Connecticut or us particularly want to do that, not just because of the tenants but it's just not good politics. We were hoping the people would buy out."

But Richard Beyer, who owns two houses, is fuming.

"This hasn't been about money. This has been about them bullying us around and stripping us of our right to own property," he said.

Although the Supreme Court has ruled for the city, Beyer said he would not yield.

"All of America needs to stand up for their constitutional right to hold their property without a private corporation moving in and kicking them out of their homes for private gain," Beyer said.

With the New London Development Corporation now in turmoil, Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell is getting involved to broker a deal in anticipation of what could be a nasty end to this ongoing debate.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


New London homeowners slapped with eviction notices
Despite Connecticut governor's moratorium on eminent domain, city pushes vacate order

Posted: September 12, 2005
10:50 p.m. Eastern

By Joseph Farah
© 2005 WorldNetDaily.com

WASHINGTON – Despite Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell's suggested moratorium on eminent domain cases in the state, pending the consideration of new legislation restriction property seizures by local governments, the city of New London has issued eviction notices to homeowners who lost their case before the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark Kelo v. the City of New London ruling.

"They have sent us eviction letters and have given us 90 days to vacate," homeowner Michael Cristofaro told WND. "As further insult to injury, they are requiring us to send them $600-a-month rent."

He said the city officials are apparently persuaded the Supreme Court ruling last June is all they need to proceed with their plans to transfer the properties to a private party for development of an office complex.

Cristofaro said he has attempted to contact two members of the city council to see if they are aware of the plans and approve of them.

In the highly controversial Supreme Court decision, the justices ruled 5-4 that the economic development and increased tax revenue resulting from the eminent domain action qualified as "public use" under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.

Though the practice of eminent domain is provided for in the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, this case is significant because the seizure is for private development and not for "public use," such as a highway or bridge. The decision has been roundly criticized by property-rights activists and limited-government commentators.

The city has previously threatened the homeowners with demands for back rent dating to 2000. Officials say that since they won the case, the homeowners actually have been living on city property for the last five years since they first began condemnation procedures.

In addition, buyout offers were based on the market rate in 2000, before most of the growth in the current real-estate bubble.

The New London Development Corporation, the semi-public organization hired by the city to facilitate the deal, first addressed the rent issue in a June 2004 letter to residents, calling the alleged debt retroactive "use and occupancy" payments.

The Kelo case, named after Susette Kelo, who owns a single-family house in New London with her husband, has ignited a national uproar.

One Los Angeles advertising entrepreneur, Logan Darrow Clements, has spearheaded a campaign to have the city of Weare, N.H., condemn Souter's property, a modest 200-year-old farmhouse on eight acres, in retaliation for his vote approving the seizure of homes in connection with the case.

Clements plans to create on Souter's land the "Lost Liberty Hotel," a kind of museum commemorating the lost right to private property in America.

Because the Board of Selectmen of Weare has rejected Clements' request to condemn the property, Darrow hopes to use a ballot initiative to do the job.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

RIP Justice Rehnquist

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist died on Saturday at his home in Arlington, Virginia, after battling thyroid cancer since October, a court spokeswoman said.

Rehnquist, 80, had experienced "a precipitous decline in his health in the last couple of days," and died in the evening surrounded by his three children, court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said.

Rehnquist's death creates a second opening on the court, following the announced retirement of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Leaving tonight

Well, ladies and gentlemen - you knew it would happen sometime. I have been activated, and I am deploying to Louisiana in support of efforts to help the victims of the hurricane.

Obviously, I won't be keeping a blog during that time. Hell, I'm not even sure I'll have electricity or cell service.

Keep your chins up.