Remember Keelo v. New London and the eminent domain travesty?
Yesterday I sent an email to the CT Governor expressing my disgust with the situation. I got a response this morning via an office staff member who I'm guessing was designated to handle damage control. Yes, it's canned, but it is interesting in that it seems to indicate that the state of CT is opposed to New London's use of the Supreme Court ruling. I am always wary of governemental propensity to "CYA" so I'm not 100% sold on where the truth lies, but take a look for yourself:
Dear Mr. (edited out):
Thank your for your recent email to Governor Rell regarding eminent domain and a recent decision on this topic by the United States Supreme Court. The Governor appreciates the time you took to write and share your concerns. Governor Rell has asked that I respond to you on her behalf.
Governor Rell knows that this is an issue that has been controversial not just in Connecticut but around the country. Governor Rell supports Representative Ward’s efforts of calling the General Assembly back into special session to address the concerns raised by the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on eminent domain and she supports the legislature holding public hearings on this matter. The Governor made the following statement on this issue, “Defining the right reasons for using eminent domain is properly the task of the Legislature. That is one reason why I have supported Representative Ward’s call for the General Assembly to convene a special session to discuss this issue. Public hearings are the first step to establishing those critical definitions. We should do this right – but we should not let the matter drag on for months.” Governor Rell promises to keep your comments in mind as she makes decisions that are in the best interest of all Connecticut citizens.
I would also suggest that you contact your legislative representatives to voice your concerns on this important issue. Please find enclosed a copy of Governor Rell’s press release regarding eminent domain. Please do not hesitate to contact our office in the future, should the need arise.
Again, thank you for contacting Governor Rell.
Jeff (edited out)
Office of Governor M. Jodi Rell
The attached word doc. statement, dated 2005 July 11:
Statement of Governor M. Jodi Rell on Call for Legislative Hearings on Eminent Domain
Governor M. Jodi Rell today issued the following statement after legislative leaders announced a plan to hold public hearings on the use of eminent domain for economic development projects:
“This issue is the 21st century equivalent of the Boston Tea Party: the government taking away the rights and liberties of property owners without giving them a voice. But this time it is not a monarch wearing robes in England we are fighting – it is five robed justices at the Supreme Court in Washington. (edit - actually it's 5 robed justices AND the New London municipal government)
“I support the idea of public hearings on how and when eminent domain should be used, especially for projects when blight is not an issue. I believe firmly that the rights of property owners come first.
“The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Fort Trumbull redevelopment case has rightly created enormous concern among homeowners. I have heard from people who worry that their rights might be superseded by a municipality’s desire – however well-intentioned – to create new opportunities for growth and revenue.
“Home ownership is often referred to as ‘the American Dream.’ Our homes are the places where we raise our families and build our lives. When government intrudes on our homes, it must have a defensible reason. In the New London case, the reason was not defensible.
“Defining the right reasons for using eminent domain is properly the task of the Legislature. That is one reason why I have supported Representative Ward’s call for the General Assembly to convene a special session to discuss this issue. Public hearings are the first step to establishing those critical definitions. We should do this right – but we should not let the matter drag on for months.”
The Governor also said she supported asking municipalities to forestall any eminent domain proceedings until the Legislature has acted.
That last line "The Governor also said she supported asking municipalities to forestall any eminent domain proceedings until the Legislature has acted." seems to indicate New London has tossed the Governor the bird and pressed forward. I wonder if this is how the behind the scenes actually went down.