Eminent Domain and America
By Kevin Anthony Stoda
I have just heard of Pfizer Pharmaceutical's decision to leave New London, Connecticut. The state of Connecticut has done nothing to protect the citizens of New London abused by local usage of eminent domain for decades. Many other states have been concerned about run amok real estate and city planning practices in Connecticut, New York and other places in America. Americans are growing wary, but more must be done.
I would suggest all reader write the following emails: "Dear, Connecticut Government Leaders, Why not use Eminent Domain and take over Pfizer and all those big bad insurance companies that misuse America's total landscape?"
According to DEMOCRACY NOW, "Homeowners in New London, Connecticut [had taken] . . . on the city's leaders after they announced plans to condemn all of the homes in one neighborhood to make way for a private development project for pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. The city said it would bring in thousands of jobs. After a 2005 Supreme Court ruling against the homeowners, the entire neighborhood was bulldozed. This week Pfizer announced it is shutting down its research center."
Dana Berliner is senior attorney at the Institute of Justice, and she had "represented the homeowners in Kelo v. New London, in which the US Supreme Court ruled that cities could condemn property because other uses may produce an increase in tax dollars and jobs."
Berliner noted that the Supreme Court, in its outrageous 2005 decision, refused to look at the facts on the ground that the ill-thought-out development-scheme involving Pfizer's expected commitment to the city of New London was absolutely not going to work.
The Supreme Court decision was so outrageous that over 20 US states immediately rewrote their own eminent domain laws to try to stop the horribly bad decision-making seen in New London "would and could not happen here".
DN's Juan Gonzalez explained, "The proposed $75 million [New London] project was part of the city's efforts to spruce up the area for pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which had agreed to construct a $300 million research facility adjacent to FortTrumbull. The city claimed the project would create 3,000 jobs. Several homeowners refused to give up their homes, and their case made it all the way to the Supreme Court. In June, 2005, the court ruled by a 5-4 majority that New London's seizure of the homes for private development was a permissible 'public purpose.' The decision, Kelo v. New London, infuriated millions of property rights advocates across the country. After the decision, the neighborhood was bulldozed."
From ZIMBABWE to Small TownAmerica--STERLING, KANSAS
Whenever I hear the words "eminent domain", I almost always recall talks I have had with many white (and black) citizens from Zimbabwe who have had their properties seized over the past two or three decades under the Mugabe regime. For example, a judge in Zimbabwe had his farm taken personally by Robert Mugabe's wife early in 2009.
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