Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Regular people hurt by government folly

Pfizer abandons site of infamous Kelo eminent domain taking
By: Timothy P. Carney
Washington Examiner Columnist

The private homes that New London, Conn., took away from Suzette Kelo and her neighbors have been torn down. Their former site is a wasteland of fields of weeds, a monument to the power of eminent domain.

But now Pfizer, the drug company whose neighboring research facility had been the original cause of the homes' seizure, has just announced that it is closing up shop in New London.

To lure those jobs to New London a decade ago, the local government promised to demolish the older residential neighborhood adjacent to the land Pfizer was buying for next-to-nothing. Suzette Kelo fought the taking to the Supreme Court, and lost. Five justices found this redevelopment met the constitutional hurdle of "public use."

The Hartford Courant reports:

Pfizer Inc. will shut down its massive New London research and development headquarters and transfer most of the 1,400 people working there to Groton, the pharmaceutical giant said Monday....

Pfizer is now deciding what to do with its giant New London offices, and will consider selling it, leasing it and other options, a company spokeswoman said.

Scott Bullock, Kelo's co-counsel in the case, told me: "This shows the folly of these redevelopment projects that use massive taxpayer subsidies and other forms of corporate welfare and abuse eminent domain."

The government of Connecticut clearly didn't know what was in the best interest of its citizens. They misjudged the benefits of taking people's land to give to a giant company that promised the world but delivered nothing.

The same thing is happening at Atlantic Yards and at Willets Point.

As the Neighborhood Retail Alliance states:

The abandoned New London property should serve as a warning that our vaunted decision makers sometimes simply don't know what they are doing-and plow ahead because they are programmed to act in a certain way. It is time that EDC opened up and presented all of the needed information to those whose lives will be effected by this massive redevelopment scheme. And, by the way, someone should let us all know how much it will cost and where the money will be coming from.