On Taking Private Property for Public "Purpose"

Discussion in 'Off-topic' started by Malum Prohibitum, Feb 1, 2006.

  1. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, I know the Constitution does not use the word inquote marks, but the U.S. Supreme Court does.

    Here is an excellent article by Walter Williams in which:

    (1) BB&T states that it will not lend money to developers who use eminent domain (wow, that took guts), and

    (2) Williams calls for the impeachment of Judges who issue decisions like Kelo.

    It's a good read. Link: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/artic ... E_ID=48608
     
  2. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    Does anybody get tarred and feathered anymore?

    I gotta hand it to the 81 year old, as it sounds like he has some guts . . .

    story post

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    New London — And then there were two.
    The City Council voted late Monday night to proceed with efforts to take possession of the former properties of two remaining plaintiffs in the Fort Trumbull eminent domain case.

    The vote came just hours after William Von Winkle, one of seven original plaintiffs in Kelo v. City of New London, the case the U.S. Supreme Court decided last June, reached a financial settlement with the city.

    Susette Kelo and Pasquale Cristofaro remain.

    The motion, which instructed city Law Director Thomas Londregan “to proceed with the process to obtain possession of the properties,†also instructed him to “obtain past due taxes and rents collected from third parties and/or reasonable use and occupancy fees.â€

    Mayor Beth A. Sabilia, Deputy Mayor Jane Glover and Councilors Rob Pero, Kevin J. Cavanagh and Margaret M. Curtin voted in favor of the motion. Councilors William Cornish and Charles W. Frink opposed it.

    “It is my strong belief that the previous City Council and this City Council have been exceedingly fair and forthright in seeking accommodations in order to move the Municipal Development Plan for Fort Trumbull forward,†Cavanagh, who made the motion, said. “We have made our intentions known, set a deadline which has expired and this is the next step that needs to take place.â€

    “In my own mind, in my own heart, I have a lot of difficulty doing what we're doing,†Pero said. “But ultimately, down the road, I think we're doing what's best for New London.â€

    Pero defended the Municipal Development Plan, which has been reviewed by numerous state agencies and upheld by the courts.

    “This plan has seen more scrutiny than I think any plan anywhere has ever seen,†he said.

    Frink, who called the motion “morally abhorrent,†called on the other councilors to change their minds.

    “If throwing our neighbors out of their houses is immoral, and I think it's the bottom of the pit of public morality, and throwing them out of their houses with no money is unreasonable, why are these people sticking to their position?†he said. “On this issue they are stuck, and it's a mystery.â€

    The vote ignored the recommendation last week of Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who recommended that the council allow those plaintiffs who decline settlements to be relocated together onto a portion of the parcel known as 4A and be given titles to their homes at their new locations.

    The deeds would be transferable but would carry restrictions giving the city the first opportunity to buy the properties at fair market value if their owners wished to transfer or sell them to anyone other than immediate family.

    The council voted in February to allow lifetime tenancy on Parcel 4A without returning transferable deeds.

    “How come we can't give a little more?†Cornish said.

    The council's vote, witnessed by an audience overflowing into the hallways and by at least seven video cameras, was preceded by two hours of public comment.

    Michael Cristofaro and his brother, Franco Cristofaro, sons of Pasquale Cristofaro, said their family will not settle with the city for the second property it has seized from them by eminent domain.

    “If you want to see an 81-year-old man who loves this country and has never been arrested be handcuffed and hauled away along with every member of the Cristofaro family, continue along the path you are going. We won't be leaving,†Michael Cristofaro said.

    “We are not going to give up. We will stand our ground,†Franco Cristofaro said. “You are here of the people, by the people and for the people. We are the people. Do your job.â€

    Kelo, the lead plaintiff in the suit against the city that the U.S. Supreme Court decided 5-4 against the plaintiffs last year, spoke quietly before the vote from the hallway.

    “I really want the best for all my neighbors. The fact they settled, I'm very grateful for all of them for standing by me,†Kelo said.

    “Eminent domain is wrong. It was wrong seven or eight years ago when they started this, and it's still wrong today,†she said.

    Asked about her next step, Kelo said she didn't know what the council, then in executive session, was going to do.

    “I'm assuming I'm going to have to get some boxes, if things keep going the way they're going,†Kelo said.

    “Do the right thing, the ethically right thing. Go beyond the law, give back the deeds,†Sandra Beachy, a city resident, said.

    She was one of 18 people from around the state who spoke in favor of Rell's proposal and in support of the former property owners at Fort Trumbull during the public comment portion of the meeting. Three said they supported the city's Fort Trumbull redevelopment plan.

    “I am here tonight to give vocal support to those councilors who have been working so hard to find a resolution,†said Margo Bernier of Ocean Avenue. “Once the Supreme Court made its decision, we considered it an accomplished fact, a done deal. The highest court in the land made its decision, and whether one agreed with it or not, it was time to move on.â€

    “Some of us have waited many years for New London to turn a corner,†Bernier said. “That opportunity is here. We don't want to lose it.â€

    “It's time for New London to take the land, take the rent, take the taxes and get economic development going,†said Audrey Merrill.

    Word of a financial settlement with Von Winkle came minutes before the start of the council meeting.

    NLDC President Michael Joplin declined to reveal the settlement amount, as he has with settlements last week between the city and plaintiffs Charles Dery, Thelma Brelesky and Richard Beyer's Pataya Construction Limited Partnership. Laura and James Guretsky settled with the city last fall.

    Von Winkle's settlement includes all three houses he formerly owned at Fort Trumbull, Joplin said. In addition, the city purchased 216 Howard St., a property owned by Von Winkle and approved earlier this year by the Planning and Zoning Commission for a used car dealership.
     

  3. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    Susette Kelo is still hanging in there . . .

    Suzette Kelo speaks about the Kelo decision

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    http://www.projo.com/opinion/contrib...o.184b368.html



    Kelo on Kelo: I'll keep my illusions

    01:00 AM EDT on Tuesday, June 27, 2006

    NEW LONDON

    A YEAR AGO last Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that my home can be taken by the government and handed over to another private party for its private use. The only requirements are that the city must have some plan in place that says another owner can create more jobs and pay more taxes than I do.

    There went my property rights -- and yours, too.

    Hardly a day goes by as I work in my garden or have a cup of coffee in my kitchen, both of which overlook the Thames River and Long Island Sound, that I don't ask myself, "If I had to do it all over again, would I?" Even on my worst days, and there are many, my answer is the same: "Absolutely yes."

    It was in February 1998 that I first heard that Pfizer Inc. was coming to New London. I remember thinking that this was going to be trouble for us in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood, right next door to where the company was coming. Little did I know just how prophetic that thought was.

    I immediately phoned Lloyd Beachy, the mayor then, who said he shared my concern and would take the side of the homeowners. He suggested that I call a local activist to see what I could do to defend my home.

    Since that day, Lloyd and thousands of other people have become my sounding boards, my comrades in arms, and my best friends. Over 500 came to New London from as far away as Kentucky and Texas for a rally last July 5 to protest the notorious Supreme Court decision that carries my name. Without their support and that of the Institute for Justice, my fight would have been over years ago.

    Where do I stand at this point? I think what I have thought from the very beginning: This is my home, and no one has the right to take it from me, especially for the vague concept of "economic development." I tell you honestly, and from my heart, that nothing will cause me to change my goals or my values.

    Mark Twain wrote, "Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live." My illusion has been, and will continue to be, that my home is mine.

    Had the City of New London needed our homes for a school or a fire station, we would have understood that it was truly a "public use" and we would have complied. But there is no public use here. Building a hotel or upscale condominiums so someone else can live here is not a public use or even a public purpose. And in fact there are no specific plans for the land where our homes stand.

    What do I think should happen now? What I thought should happen eight years ago: I and the Cristofaro family, who are also holdouts, should be allowed to keep our homes and live in peace. We should be able to pass these homes on to our children and grandchildren. This is America, isn't it?

    [Editor's note: On June 5, the New London City Council voted 5 to 2 to authorize the city attorney to obtain a court order to seize and demolish the homes of Susette Kelo and Michael Cristofaro.]

    Doesn't that simple desire define the safety and security of the American Dream? That is the dream that U.S. Justices Kennedy and Stevens and Souter and Ginsberg and Breyer gave away.

    Last September, when we again received eviction notices, our governor, Jodi Rell, intervened on our behalf, asking the New London Development Corporation to rescind those notices and declare a moratorium on eminent domain until the legislature had had time to consider a bill to protect Connecticut property owners. An informal moratorium is in place to protect those whose homes were condemned after mine, but it is not retroactive.

    But in any case, the legislature failed to act, so all Connecticut property owners are now in the same boat as I.

    This has been a stressful eight years. More often than not, I wake up exhausted and wonder if it is all worth it. But though I've lost my rights and my property, I cannot quit.

    The threat of eminent domain continues even though Governor Rell asked that our homes be incorporated in the redevelopment project; the City Council rejected that request, choosing instead to evict us. We now face the prospect that when the wrecking crew is trundling down the road, the city councilors -- my own city officials, who are supposed to protect my rights -- will have us dragged from our homes.

    Nevertheless, I and the others who remain, who are outraged at this gross violation of our basic civil rights, still plan to keep our homes. That's how much they mean to us. We plan to keep fighting.

    At some point, a day of reckoning will come for all. We will all have to answer for things we've done or failed to do. On that day, I would much rather be me than be the people trying to take my home.

    Susette Kelo was the lead plaintiff in Kelo v. City of New London, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that private property could be taken for private economic development.