Comments: Otherwise Noted

I worked briefly as a contract archaeologist in both Connecticut and New York. It was always disheartening to see what was being destroyed in favor of extending a highway or building a new golf course for Trump: things residents of the community would not benefit from as much as the ecosystem already there. This article regarding New London is not only disheartening, it's downright horrifying. What kind of recourse will private home and business owners have should this go into effect? With property values in this part of the country already at a premium, these homeowners have little chance of finding a new home on par with their current residence for the same cost. And we KNOW the value of their homes and businesses will be highly undervalued for their "compensation." My guess is that Pfizer is the real motivating factor here. Smells too fishy to me to be purely for so-called revitalization.

Posted by Emily Louise at June 23, 2005 05:36 PM

With Halliburton building the prisons, I would think that a file would be overkill.

I'm worried about the eminent domain case. We have a local CRA and have managed to keep people in check by organizing a legal fund. With the Supremes blocking court relief this is going to get nasty and someone is going to get hurt.

Posted by Bryan at June 23, 2005 07:47 PM

What might help is if governments were forced to pay "replacement value" for the property they snatch, instead of "fair market value." Since most of this happens in poorer neighborhoods, "market value" isn't much. Paying people what it would cost them to actually replace their homes might make some governments think twice.

(Don't get me wrong...I know governments don't like to have to exercise eminient domain.)

(They especially don't like to do it with reporters watching.)

What also tends to infuriate me is that when property gets annexed by a government, you almost never hear about them doing some good for the people they're displacing. You never hear about them building affordable housing, for instance. It's always "luxury condos" or (George Bush's) baseball stadium.

Also? In terms of the "public good" a research facility for Pfizer doesn't impress me. There aren't going to be a lot of jobs for ordinary people there.

Of course, once New London recoups the tax breaks they undoubtedly offered Pfizer as inducement to settle in the area, the city will get a bit of tax revenue from them. That will be nice. They can use it for social services to assist the people kicked out of their homes.

Eminent domain allows a government to take property to be used for the public good. Maybe what we need to do is redefine "public good"?

Posted by Anne at June 24, 2005 10:18 AM