Tuesday, February 22, 2005

New (Eminent Domain) London

Hometown of Connecticut College, my alma mater.

I don't often get interested in the details of supreme court cases, usually the constitutional principles are sufficient to grab my attention. In this case, both the constitutional argument and the particulars are of interest to me.

The court will be hearing today whether or not a local government can use eminent domain to remove residential and commercial property owners to allow for the redevelopment of land. This is not a highway or a railroad, this is the City of New London taking the land and then transferring it to another private entity for re-development so the city can increase its tax base.

The New Lodon Development Corporation (NLDC) is the entity to which the Fort Trumbull part of town will be transferred. NLDC was created to help the town transition from economic despair and urban rot to a new economy.

I was in New London when this all started and can only add to the news coverage that the NLDC was viewed by many as an outside group, and that the (now former) President of Connecticut College spent an awful lot of time trying to convince the world that the NLDC was a community-centered agent of change that would allow the people of New London to make decision affecting the future of New London. I hope she was able to do so after I left town.

Since Dr. Gaudiani is still on the board I have to assume that she is at least tacitly okay with the eminent domain argument for the greater good, that public use includes the authority of the public body to take from one private owner and give to another private owner with the express purpose of increasing the tax base.

Me, I'm not such a fan.

No comments: